Thursday, August 12, 2004

News site registration shuffle

Tom Biro has one solution, "Publishers absolutely need a way to figure out demographics and get their content paid for, but I do agree that it's unreasonable to think that people are going to register at every single site out there, and keep the logins straight. I'm of the general opinion that if the publishers who run multiple web properties could just aggregate logins so that signing in at one publication gets you in to all the publications, reading news would be a lot less painless."

Good idea, but that only addresses the convenience side of the equation. Privacy is also a major concern. Readers may understand why you want to know their zip code. They might even understand why you want their age and gender, but when registration asks for more information, readers feel they are being spied on. That is why services like Bug Me Not are popular. Boing Boing illustrates the privacy problem, Elizabeth Albrycht shows how the registration process can be rigged to sign us up for email we do not want.

Shorter version, advertisers and publishers need to give up this idea of control and adopt business models that cultivate customers, not spy on them.

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