The Dirty Data Saga Continues: Newspapers Doing More Damage Than Good

from the without-readers,-there-aren't-many-advertisers dept

Adam Penenberg has already taken on the NY Times for becoming less relevant to people today, due to their “behind the registration wall” news concept. Now, he’s picking up on the dirty data concept and admitting that he usually lies when registering for any news site, in part because those sites never give users anything of value in return for all your personal information. Penenberg took a very unscientific sample poll among people he knew, and it appears that most of the provide bogus information or use the two best tools on the internet for actually being able to read news: BugMeNot and Mailinator. Of course, the response from the registration required sites is always the same. They “need” to do this to give their advertisers more targeted info, so they can sell higher priced ads. However, there are two very major problems (which almost everyone sees, except those working on registration required sites): (1) if the data is bad, the advertisers may get suckered a few times into paying higher fees, but not for long and (2) if readers keep getting pissed off and just decide to go elsewhere, there won’t be anyone’s eyeballs to sell to advertisers anyway. Requiring registration is a short term strategy. It shrinks inventory and gives advertisers a fake reason to spend more. The end result is that advertisers will learn. They’ll refuse to spend so much, and the sites will be stuck with lower traffic levels. How that makes sense long term is beyond me.

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Comments on “The Dirty Data Saga Continues: Newspapers Doing More Damage Than Good”

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Cameron Simpson says:

on lying to registered news sites

Was thinking about this this morning.
While the lying does indeed dirty the data
a little info may be gleaned just from who reads what articles. Probably not a lot though, and
of course there’s the whole dubious “selling readers’ habits to others” thing, about which
registering sites probably don’t give a damn.

Greg Linden (user link) says:

Registration should be unnecessary

What I find most frustrating about mandatory registration is that it should be unnecessary. Random sampling and geolocation can provide a survey of the demographic profile of the newspaper’s online audience. And, by analyzing page content or by tracking pages viewed by a specific user, targeted advertising will provide higher clickthroughs than advertising based on vague, incomplete, and often incorrect demographic data.
Newspapers need to focus on driving traffic and revenue on their websites, not driving people away with lengthy and invasive registration forms.

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