Earlier this week I tried to register with both Multiply.com and Skype, but my traditional username ‘priyadi’ has already been taken :(. Having a name that is not usual almost anywhere in the world, I’m very used to the privilege to use my first name if any web site asks me for a username, no need to resort to witty nick names or special numbers after names thing.
This begs me a question, why don’t web sites just use email address as login username? We all already have an email address that is unique on the whole Internet, as opposed to our names that no matter how hard your parents tried to make it unique, there will always be someone else who has the same name as you. And of course, no sane database designer will ever use names as primary key, while email address is an excellent primary key. This has worked well for Microsoft Passport or web sites like Friendster. Why not the others? Unless you provide email service, no need to force your users to invent new usernames.
Ps. note to self: never under any circumstances name my kid ‘Roy’, or this one particular ‘Roy’ will be really offended when my kid finally has an email address with ‘Roy’ in it. Don’t worry if you don’t understand this. :)