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janrain loginCompanies like Facebook and LinkedIn have been extending their reach with website login and sharing tools. But social login startup Janrain said it’s holding its own and has just announced a deal to handle logins across MTV’s network of sites.

That’s a particularly big win, because MTV is actually replacing a direct implementation of Facebook Connect with Janrain Engage, the company’s social sign-on product.

Why go from a big name like Facebook to a relative unknown? Janrain chief executive Larry Drebes said that one big reason is to reduce the technical headache. When a publisher signs up, they don’t have to worry about maintaining their social network integration anymore, because Janrain takes over. Users can login and share content not just with Facebook, but also with sites like Twitter, Yahoo, and MySpace.

“We see this as a natural trend where publishers realize that this is not core to their competence,” Drebes said.

He added that Janrain is now used across 300,000 websites. It will be rolled out gradually across MTV’s network, but it’s already live on TheDailyShow.com, ColbertNation.com, VH1.com and others.

With Drebes’ emphasis on being a one-stop show for publishers’ social login needs, I asked whether he’s interested in adding some kind of website check in feature like the one offered by Meebo.

“Probably not as much as people who are focusing just on that,” Drebes said. “We’re more focused on user management infrastructure. That’s the heavy lifting that we bring, though there are additional social niches we could expand into.”

The Portland, Ore. company is backed by DFJ Frontier, RPM Ventures, and Anthem Venture Partners.

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