Why Stop BugMeNot?

from the please-explain-the-logic dept

With newspapers increasingly seeing how the web helps them make money, you’d think they’d want more visitors, not fewer. That’s why I’ve never quite understood registration only websites that consistently go through and weed out any BugMeNot logins. However, it looks like the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the site that just realized charging for content doesn’t make sense, has come up with another way to stop BugMeNot logins. Instead of just requiring your email and password, they require your name as a third field. I’ve definitely seen other sites swap these two, so that all the BugMeNot entries that are set with usernames, and not email addresses, no longer work. Either way, all this does is piss off potential readers who won’t bother going back and certainly won’t send any more readers to the site. And, of course, for those few who actually do go through the registration process, you can bet they’re going to give dirty data which is worse than useless in that it compromises the whole set of aggregate data the newspaper was trying to put together in the first place. Users don’t feel they’re getting anything of value in exchange for giving up their data and will often just go elsewhere.

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Comments on “Why Stop BugMeNot?”

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Bill Jones says:

Re: Regester only websites

Like the one above? I have a faux login I use regularly for adult and suspicious info gathering. Even if the site requires double opt-in my faux-email doesn’t have my name attached.

I still regularly bail out of sites because whatever they offer is not worth the hassle or spam. If sites have positive info that is worthwhile user will flock there.

malhombre says:

Re: Regester only websites

I guess anyone savvy enough to keep up with slashdot or techdirt are going to be smart enough to skirt around or avoid detection by something as laughable as a login page to free content…but I wonder how many nice middle class folks just blunder right into handing over real data, adding to the overall collection of statistics revealing their life patterns.

BTW, I did give real info to the NYT. Just did. But it’s from my own domain so I can kill the email acct if it gets spammed to excess. So far, it has appears to have added maybe 3-5 incoming spams a day at most, no big deal yet.

Finally, in defense of paper newspapers: I can just pull out the crossword page and stick it in my briefcase. That’s really convenient.

Ben M says:

No clue how powerful email marketing is

Being able to leverage registered readers with email is huge business. Much bigger than plastering ads on websites. Yes, ads in the papers themselves are expensive, but the online ads cost as much as 80-90% less than a full page ad in a paper.
So, when you don’t want to give away your articles on the web because you want subscribers to your paper, you have to do more than just put up banners. Capture emails (even if a large percentage ARE bogus) and start using those contacts to get buyers for other products.
If a small ecommerce site I run can make $140,000 a year selling a single book product to our double opt-in mailing list of around 2000, I’m sure one of the larger news aggregates can make a lot more money selling through their email lists of millions.

PD says:

Not really new news

The AJC has always required name, email, and passwords. It has been that way since they first implemented their registration requirements in 2004.
So this is nothing new at all.
Bugmenot has always been able to handle it just fine anyway. Always at least one valid login that worked.
That said, I got tired of outages where Bugmenot just would not work for any site or broke with every new Firefox update so I signed up for my own AJC account and attached it to a spam trap email address. I have yet to receive a single spam at that account.

Jay Small (user link) says:

Newspapers and registration

Though I don’t agree with the need for the AJC.com approach, as someone who’s been heavily involved with newspaper registration schemes for four years now, I can say (a) they do work, (b) we still see par or better growth vs. non-registration sites, and (c) the ratio of “dirty” profiles is amazingly low.

That said, the company I work for is one of several that is looking at creating “soft thresholds” for content-access registration, which would allow up to x number of unregistered content views per y period. That would allow the site grazers and drive-bys to come on in, and would spur a sign-in/sign-up prompt only for extended sessions — many of whose originators already are registered.

Soft thresholds should virtually eliminate the need for a BugMeNot, improve the quality of our consumer profile databases, and still allow us to gather the metrics we and our advertisers need.

Brian Bartlett says:

Why Stop BugMeNot

I’m with malhombre. I do use BugMeNot via Firefox here but for those sites that are blocking it, I don’t have a problem. One of my domains, not the one that I posted here, exists solely for the purpose of providing throw-away email addresses. My hosting provider has no upper limit on how many I can have, not that this will ever be a problem. I can count on one hand the number of sites I’ve had to use it for, so far. As for the rest of the data, well I’m a statistician among other things, and we all know what liars statisticians are. Happy dirty data!

gtabmx says:

Underminding http://www.ajc.com

Well, the best way to find a way around http://www.ajc.com system of first name is have bugmenot clear all their password/username memory for that url and then people should just use a 10 character email like on@one.com which should be their first name and password as well! No matter what is put in it always works. Another way would be to tell people the first name in the email, like nameismark@dodgeit.com, password: nameismark so that we bugmenot users can tell what the first name is. By the way, the nameismark one works from yours truly 🙂

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