Newspaper Registration, Useless Stats And Dirty Data

from the so-what? dept

Just as various newspapers like the Houston Chronicle and the Toronto Star are realizing that having more traffic is generally a good thing — and having registration required is a bad thing, the New York Times owned is proudly talking up how it now has one million registered users and giving some stats about those users. Of course, by itself, that number is useless. They may have one million registered names, but you have no clue how much of it is dirty data. If they’re selling that data to advertisers, they risk liability for providing false info. At the same time, there’s no thought towards the opportunity costs. How many more pageviews would they have shown if they didn’t have a registration gate blocking the entrance. Plenty of people probably get in with BugMeNot (showing five registrations as we post this), but lots of others probably just don’t bother at all. Stating one million registered users is a meaningless milestone that makes you wonder what they’re really measuring over there.

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