Qigo: Keys for Web sites

A new system puts Web sites under lock and (USB) key.

I've got a Web site in my hand. Sort of. CNET Networks

Can you sell physical tokens to access Web sites? At the D5 conference, Qigo is launching its "keys" for Internet content. Qigo keys are nothing more than USB sticks with small executables that fire up Web content, and there's a unique identifier in each. So when you put a Qigo key in your PC or Mac, it launches a Web site, perhaps with exclusive or personalized content. When you remove the key, the site closes.

It's a marketing ploy, and it has some potential. Qigo keys can be made into collectible items, thanks to the addition of fancy plastics and graphics, and they can be sold or given away as promotional items. (If you think this can't work, I have one word for you: Pez.)

Content can be locked to keys, so it can only be displayed when the key is in a computer. I don't know how robust the security on this system is. Or, frankly, if it matters terribly much. I think Qigo will be a convenience play. It can be used to automate log-ins to multiplayer games, for example. It could also be used for kids' sites--to launch restricted online services that keep kids from exploring the wild Web.

Qigo's plan is to sell its key manufacturing and data management services to big brands that want to give their online products some presence in the real world.

If, because of Qigo, I end up with a keychain of USB sticks that I need in order to access online content and services, I will be very upset, since one thing I really love about Webware is that I don't have to carry anything with me to access it. But as a marketing scheme, this is a clever idea.

 

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