I can’t tell you how many websites I’ve bailed out of because I got impatient with the password process. Each organization has a different rule: 6 characters, 8 characters, use numerals or don’t, use a special #%&$*ing character or don’t. Inventing complicated passwords for my financial, health, and employment information is fine. Securing my accounts with Amazon, Zappos, and other online retailers also makes sense. But creating and remembering passwords for online resources that I use infrequently is such a hassle that the process undermines the whole concept of instant access anywhere, anytime.
Because I take care of a lot of stuff online (who doesn’t?) I have 43 actual passwords. I use about a dozen regularly. The rest are for loyalty programs, organizations I belong to, and services that I might require every few months.
There’s no way I’m going to remember all of those passwords, so I have to store them (no, I’m not telling you where). Yes, I am aware that I can save the passwords for each account and skip the login process, but if my laptop, tablet or cellphone were stolen, someone has easy access all the information I am trying to protect. Unless I back up all those passwords to the Cloud, I won’t even be able to access those accounts to shut them down.
I write marketing communications for a living, so I understand that organizations want to track the people who visit their websites. Why isn’t my email address enough? Why the password?
Why does Goodreads need to be secured? Because someone will find out I have good taste in books?
If OpenTable didn’t require a password, would uninvited guests suddenly barge in on my dinner reservation?
Most of my friends and neighbors are healthy, but perhaps once a year someone I know has a serious health issue. Why is CaringBridge making it harder for me to check on a neighbor’s health? Even if I were a disturbed troll who was intent on harassing the family, a password wouldn’t stop me.
The latest frustrating example was the password I had to create so the Vietnam Vets of America could pick up my donation. Why would I need to secure that transaction with a password? Because if someone found out I’m giving away a sack of old clothes, they might steal what I’m giving away?
Dear Marketers and Programmers: Please stop the password insanity or explain why all these passwords are necessary.