Washingtonpost.com Wants More Info Out Of Visitors

from the good-luck dept

The folks who run WashingtonPost.com have decided that it's time to become more invasive with the info they ask for from visitors. They're now going to require information about their job. This seems (like many other registration schemes) destined to backfire. The first-pass reasoning makes sense: with more detailed info they can better target their advertising, and (hopefully) get higher advertising fees. Look a little deeper, and you have to wonder how well that plan will work. People don't like the feeling that they're being watched or that their privacy is being invaded. Many people, when asked for this sort of demographic information will leave the site or give false info. Considering both of these things, you have to weigh the potential benefits of more targeted advertising, with the downsides of fewer visitors and a ton of bogus information. I really doubt that the Post can make up the difference in higher ad prices for all the visitors this will turn off. Besides, with so much false data, it's unlikely they'll really be able to get much more ad revenue - especially on a general news publication.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2004 @ 12:58pm


    Sometimes I wonder if people worry about that stuff as much as we think they do. Sure, when they ask you or me for that information, we're probably just gonna make stuff up or hit the back button, but it seems to me that we're a tiny minority. People trust official websites online to only ask for the information that they need to know, most people assume that if they're being asked, it's important to provide that information.

    I was at a ski resort this weekend and an employee asked me to answer some questions for a survey. One of them was household income. I immediately declined to answer that one and I later asked him if people actually ever answer it. Apparently, they always do. I was the only person that day to decline.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Feb 2004 @ 6:58pm

    Me, I'm just angry their code is busted

    Apparently if one has cookies enabled on a browser younger than Adam, one only sees their registration page once.

    Apparently mozilla's too old, because, no matter what I do when I get to washingtonpost.com, I continually have to re-enter the silly basic info they want.

    Now, if they were invasive but could hold true to their promises, I'd be good. Apparently, though, their webserver 'team' isn't too good at all that. maybe if I was using IE or something equally as pathetic.

    I guess the repeated need to re-enter info kept reminding me of the fact that they wanted it, and it's all info they don't need to have. I'm more than willing to find my news elsewhere instead of (repeatedly) giving up my personal info for one freakin' story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      thecaptain, 5 Feb 2004 @ 6:41am

      Re: Me, I'm just angry their code is busted

      Which version of Mozilla do you have?

      I don't have this problem.

      Although since I use many machines I do see the registration more often than I have to...and I too use 90210 as a zip code.

      *flash of insight*

      You know, that COULD explain the disconnect we see between marketting and reality! Maybe the marketters really believe their databases are accurate but we've filled them so full of crap that they actually THINK 90% of web surfers are 98 year old project managers from beverly hills CA!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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