Over the years, we've pointed out many, many times why requiring registration to view online news sites is a bad idea. It limits (by a long shot) how much traffic you actually get in an age where traffic is everything. Some newspapers claim that the registration data lets them sell higher ad rates, but the amount of fake or "dirty data" these registration systems gets makes that data basically useless. While it may trick some advertisers into paying more in the short term, that's hardly a sustainable business model. Then, of course, there's one other problem with newspaper registration systems. If your registration system goes down completely, you're in trouble. The NY Times seems to have experienced this earlier today. No matter what article you tried to read on their site, the NY Times kicked you right out, because their registration system was apparently all screwed up. It popped up a message to everyone (and we had a bunch of folks test this out from various locations): "We're sorry, but we are temporarily experiencing an authorization server error. Our systems administrators have been notified and are working to fix the problem. Please click here to continue logging in. We regret the inconvenience." Well, sure, it's inconvenient for us, but that seems like an awful lot of completely lost traffic for the NY Times from people who just wanted to read some of their articles (and see some of their ads). They eventually did fix this bug, but it's difficult to see what exactly is the benefit for the NY Times to have a system that might do this every once in a while.
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