Consumers Speak Out Against Website Registration
With the increase in websites that require registration to fill their databases with valuable demographic information which is used to properly target advertising, privacy advocates have increasingly spoken out against the practice and fake registration credentials web service, BugMeNot, continues to grow. Now, a site called Internet Advertiser Wakeup Day has launched a petition which vows to, on November 13th, have all signers register fakes details on sites the have deemed the top ten offending sites: nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, latimes.com, ajc.com, chicagotribune.com, dallasnews.com, nypost.com, philly.com and mercurynews.com.
While no one likes to be interrupted with registration when all one is trying to do is read a simple article arrived at through another link, there is value to the registration process. In it's current state, though, it's a mess. Much work needs to be done and much explanation of the value of registration to the consumer needs to be done as well along with making the entire process far simpler. Shedding insight on the issues and suggesting a speedier, aggregated process, Underscore Marketing President Tom Hespos offers his opinion on MediaPost.
Funny bit of irony - The media post link required registration...
The nypost is a perfect example of what is wrong with the whole process. It took me 9 or so attempts to register. When I needed to retrieve my password, I kept getting error pages that said I wasn't registered. When I finally remembered my password, the email address I had used was in fact registered. Oh, and then there is their cunty staff...
Doubly ironic when you register with MediaPost as Mr. Steve Hall :)
Everyone complains about having to register but it's not going away. I would much rather see some discussion on standardizing and simplifying the registration process. I can't keep track of my username password combinations anymore. If there was some sort of Universal Cookie or Site Pass that allowed me to bypass registration, I for one would be much happier.
uh, so what exactly is the "value to the consumer" that you assert so vaguely and without support or explanation? having ads targeted to you based on the stories you read? gee, how valuable! customizing your news page? why can't this be done anonymously, either using cookies, or a simple anonymous registration?
i, for one, have never supplied honest answers when i register. i resent the rather intrusive questions when all i want to do is read a news article that another site has linked. giving the LA times, say, demographic data so it can better target ads the 10 times a year i read one of their articles is a waste of time for both me and the LAT.
I'd much rather give my registration information to sites that give me services in exchange for that information that I would have to pay for if I used the bricks-and-mortar version. If I want to read the New York Times, I can do that by going to a news stand and slapping down a dollar. But I can read it for no money online in exchange for giving the site some information that I don't think it finds the least bit useful, given that they've never sent me anything I haven't asked for.
Yeah, OK, so I'm in a database somewhere. If someone wants to find me, there are quite a few ways to do that without said database. Alternately, maybe this is kind of like the scene in The Jerk in which Steve Martin's character gets the new phone book, sees that he's in it, and declares, "I'm somebody now!" I'm in a database -- does that make me somebody now?
"uh, so what exactly is the "value to the consumer" that you assert so vaguely and without support or explanation"
It's called getting something for free... for one. Is that a "value to the consumer"? Would you consider something for nothing a good value? I think it goes without saying that building a more full picture of a publisher's audience goes to serve all - consumer, advertiser, publisher.
The Washington Post merely needs the most basic demo info, and doesnt' require Email. The "value to the consumer" there is that the Post can leverage its massive reach across a geographically focused audience to provide value to advertisers and in turn consumers. So what you only read 10 articles a year? What difference does that make to anyone? If those 10 times you see a coupon for the dry cleaners just down the street, or a sale at the pet store on the street behind you.. and so forth... voila! the system works perfectly - you save money and learn about goods and services germane to you, the advertisers find a new customer and nobody's anonymity is comprimised. The alternative is registering anyway and then paying to read.
Someone's idea for a "One pass" registration solution is a great idea.
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