Should Obituaries Be Registration Free?

from the getting-around-the-reg-wall dept

While there are any number of good reasons why news websites should ditch their registration gates — from the problems of dirty data, to the lost opportunities in ad sales, to the potential legal liabilities of providing advertisers with dirty data — one person believes that putting registration requirements on obituaries is particularly obnoxious, saying that “the last thing anyone wants to encounter when reading about newly deceased friends or family is impersonal demands for personal information, all in the name of the almighty dollar.” Of course, the newspapers (being insensitive clods that they are) might respond by noting that the obituary sections in printed papers aren’t free either — but it’s still a good point. Honestly, what benefit is there to newspapers in getting people to register just to read an obit?

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Comments on “Should Obituaries Be Registration Free?”

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Beck says:


Mike, you often argue that newspaper Web sites should not require registration because the same news is freely available elsewhere, and they will just drive their readers away. Well, obituaries are the contrapositive of that case. Usually an obituary is only available from a single source, so this is a case where registration does not cause harm to the newspaper. They will not drive the readers away, because the readers have no alternative to obtain the information they seek.

Beck says:

BugMeNot Mystery

Speaking of newspapers requiring registration, has anyone ever had a BugMeNot login not work?

They always work for me. I would think that every newspaper in the country would have an intern whose job is to check BugMeNot for logins, and then disable those logins for the newspaper’s Web site.


Donald Jessop says:

Is an Obituary the property of the newspaper

Yes, obituaries are usually from only one or two sources. The problem I have with registration is that the person that wrote the obituary does not work for the newspaper and the person that placed the obituary probably had to pay to get it printed. So, the paper is asking for registration (sometimes payment if the obituary is more than 24 hours old) to view something written by someone else and that has already been paid for distribution? If I wrote an obituary and had it printed in a newspaper, could I claim part of the proceeds that they may make online? Could I ask for the registration information for anyone that viewed the page?

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