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How ‘Master Key’ could aid online registration across industries

Axel Springer, one of the largest digital publishing houses in Europe, is set to become part of ‘Master Key’, a joint pan-European online registration platform – a strategic move to make its online registration model more user-friendly and improve monetising digital content.

Europe’s first unified online registration platform is set to go live in the second half of next year. If approved by competition authorities, ‘Master Key’, will do what it says on the tin: act as a single master key for registration and identification when accessing online services across a range of sectors including government, aviation, automotive, retail and digital media.

Axel Springer has been part of the initiative from the outset and aims to lead the way across Europe. As CEO Matthias Döpfner explains, “experience has shown that user-friendly online registration models are a key factor for the success of any digital publisher’s products”.

Other launch partners are Allianz, Daimler and Deutsche Bank and Postbank, as well as the technology think-tank CORE, and HERE Technologies, the location services provider.

The benefits of such a platform for digital publishers cannot be stressed enough, says Jamie Stevenson of HERE Technologies. “User-friendly online registration models are absolutely vital to the success of digital products. Likewise, security is a defining factor in the platform’s development.”

While Axel Springer is the only digital publisher who signed a declaration of intent to develop an online registration model which is “simpler and more secure”, a spokesperson for Deutsche Bank says the platform will not exclude specific players or industries. “We believe this pan-industry platform will ensure the competitiveness of German and European market participants. We are confident that this venture will act as a major catalyst, encouraging more companies to join in the short term. We have made a conscious decision to communicate the planned venture at a very early stage. At the same time, we intend this information to be an invitation to market participants who want to roll out the platform together with us.”

Speaking on behalf of all the partners, Deutsche Bank said it is too early to predict just how effective the new platform will be to improve the frequency of click-throughs when - as only one example - a user hits a pay-wall. “The platform is still in the founding and technical details are being discussed”.

One early advantage that can be identified is the benefit of digitally storing and managing personal data within a portal. This enables the bundling of a variety of customer services; from single-sign-on solutions for digital portals, financial services and payment services right through to digital mailboxes.

Companies outside of the EU currently dominate this market, offering similar solutions either in the form of payment or social log-ins, but these do not provide users with an integrated authentication solution for transactions with increased identification requirements.

Once fully developed Master Key should provide participants with the following advantages:

  •    High levels of convenience due to “master key” functions for a providers;
  •    Data replication: once entered, can be used again across provider;
  •    Rapid and simple transfer of trusted data from online banking service without the need for the client to present their identification document at a post office, for example;
  •    The use of digital services where previously only analogue services (identification) were possible;
  •    Data management with explicit control function for the user;
  •    The application of relevant (discount) offers; and
  •    Maximum data security and legal certainty in line with EU standards.


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