Opinion: should I use same "username" DB on multiple sites?

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I'm just looking for opinions on which way I should do this.

I manage 38 sites, soon to be 100, each representing a different
county in one state. This is growing a little past the state
boundaries, though; one county in one state, another county in another
state, etc.

These sites all utilize the same MySQL database for usernames and
Private Messages. This is cool because it allows someone to "move" to
one of the other sites, but use the same username and keep all of
their PMs.

Based on demand, etc, there's the potential for this concept to grow
to thousands of sites within the next several years. That's not
currently in the plans, but based on our growth for the last 10 years,
I have to consider the possibility.

Now, I'm about to launch a new series of sites, with a totally
different theme, that will also incorporate usernames and Private
Messages (as well as message boards and chat rooms, like the current
sites). But, these aren't restricted to local areas at all, and will
be marketed nationwide.

Here's the question. Do you guys think that I should build the new
sites to utilize the same username / PM database as the existing
series of sites (assuming that someone might feel more at home with a
site focused on, for example, movies, versus one focused on their

Or, should I set up an entirely new database and PM system for the new
sites, which would essentially let someone have the same username as
someone on the other sites?

Re: Opinion: should I use same "username" DB on multiple sites?

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1. Is there a genuine need or desire for someone to be able to log into any
of those sites using the same username & password?

2. Which is easier for you?

3. Is it likely that any of those sites might be sold off separatly? If yes
then separating the accounts might become very tricky.

There might be other issues to consider, but if you answer the above then
I'd hope it will help you answer your own question.
 Brian Cryer

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