There Are Alternatives To User Registration

from the don't-be-evil dept

Just last week we wrote about how many more newspaper sites were making the mistake of forcing users to register, even though it wasn't helping them at all. First, it was drastically cutting their traffic by keeping out all the casual visitors (and links from blogs or other news aggregation sources) who don't want to register. That is, it's reducing their ad inventory. Second, even that additional info that they claim would help them sell more targeted ads is wrong, since many users just use bogus information. So, they get fewer users and useless info. This doesn't seem like a recipe for success. Earlier this week, I sent a note to that effect to the Sydney Morning Herald, which is trying to implement a registration scheme. They wrote me back, ignoring my points, and simply cutting and pasting the reason for adding registration. Steve Outing has written up a piece for Editor & Publisher explaining why online newspapers don't need to go to forced registration. First, he points out that one of the main problems with forced registration is that the users don't feel they're really getting anything of value -- and it clearly turns off casual readers. Instead, he suggests setting up offerings that add real value to get users to register, while still letting the casual reader in free. In that way, you also get rid of much of the dirty data, by giving users a reason to be honest. It seems like a smart solution: you don't lose any visitors, and for a core subset of loyal readers you get good data. It's so intelligent, in fact, that most online newspapers will ignore the idea.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Beck, Jun 24th, 2004 @ 9:38pm

    Need a Registered Email Address?

    http://www.bugmenot.com

    Bug Me Not will provide you with a user ID and password (or registered email address and password) for many news sites.

    It's an extra step to click over to them to get an ID, but at least you don't have to expose your own email address to spam or fake your way through a registration process.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Justin, Jun 25th, 2004 @ 7:05am

    No Subject Given

    Instead, he suggests setting up offerings that add real value to get users to register, while still letting the casual reader in free. In that way, you also get rid of much of the dirty data, by giving users a reason to be honest.

    How would this any more encourage people to be honest? I'm still gonna go bogus just to get through to the free stuff.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Jun 25th, 2004 @ 8:38am

    Re: No Subject Given

    You assume that they're just giving you free stuff. If the "registration" is for something that actually does require your info, then people are more willing to do it. Plus, if it's voluntary, people don't feel the same need to lie.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Gary Potter, Jun 25th, 2004 @ 9:30am

    Online Registration

    It's the reason that http://www.bugmenot.com was built. I'm going to forward Steve Outings piece to the Star Telegram (they require registration) and ask thier "Customer Advocate" for a response. I suspect the 'company line' but I might be surprised. Either way, I'll post it on my blog.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Tori Spelling, Jun 25th, 2004 @ 9:54am

    Dirty Data

    When asked for a zip code in stores or on websites I always reply " 90210 ". ( Beverly Hills , CA )

    The companies always say its for marketing purposes but frankly I don't want to help them target their spam to me in the first place.

    I also refuse to provide a phone # by stating I don't own a telephone. I pay to have it unlisted, why should I provide it to unethical companies to sell it ? Ex: Aohell & 92 million scree names this week.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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