Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Another Negative of Online Site Registration

I'm not a fan of having to register and jump through a dozen hoops just to read an online newspaper. The Atlanta Journal Constitution started a mandatory-registration policy in April and from what I hear, has seen a CONSIDERBLE reduction in site traffic. Waaah. Their "questionnaire" went so far to ask for phone number, salary info and a couple things that I thought were purely ridiculous, especially for a marginal-quality newspaper like the AJC. The New York Times didn't even ask for that private information!

Last month, ran a story about Web newspaper registration that explained that I was not alone in my frusturation. The story mentioned Web sites like that allow users to use "generic" UserIDs and Passwords to get around registration, a great idea.

But this story from Wired points to another problem for publications with required registration. Their articles aren't showing up in search engine rankings. Registration firewalls means no search spider access. No spider access means no listings, which in turn results in fewer readers.

It also makes it tough for bloggers to link to online articles. Thankfully, The New York Times has created a Link Generator Tool to help bloggers create links to NY Times articles that don't need registration and don't go stale (another issue). Cool tool.

Enough ranting for today. Did I mention how much the AJC sucks? Yes? Good.


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