The lede from this piece (which I think was taken from an AP story run on CNN.com, although it’s not clear) sums it up perfectly:
Imagine if a trip to the corner newsstand required handing over your name, address, age, and income to the cashier before you could pick up the daily newspaper.
That’s close to the experience of many online readers, who must complete registration forms with various kinds of personal data before seeing their virtual newspaper…
I currently have a page of college-lined paper crammed with combinations of user names and passwords. Some of these are for accounts with companies who handle my money or credit card information. I can understand that.
But it’s to the point where I absolutely refuse to add more combos to this list. It’s insane.
If that means I don’t read some article online, so be it.
I’m not alone in my sentiments, of course. Here’s an argument by Adrian Holovaty that online newspaper registration is not only irritating, but self-defeating.
Everyone I’ve talked to (techies and non-techies alike) sees this type of registration as an extremely annoying barrier with no redeeming value. There’s no personal tie to a typical news-site registration account, no incentive to give accurate information or even care about who has access to your account . . .
(No, saying “Registered users get more highly-targeted ads!” isn’t enough. Neither is saying “The benefit of registration is that you get the content.” That’s nothing short of arrogant — and readers can and will get their regurgitated AP stories elsewhere.)
Well, okay, that way you don’t have to go through the rigamorole of filling out the form. But you still can’t just read the article.
The worst offender by far, btw, is a certain online paper that doesn’t ask you to register when you first click on their article.
They wait until you’ve read 2/3 of it.
What are they thinking?
“Hey, let’s not just inconvenience our online audience — let’s try to infuriate them! Maybe we can make a killing selling ads for tranquilizers!”
You will never see a link to that site on this blog, I’ll tell you that.
[tags] newspaper registration [/tags]