June 24, 2002

REBECCA BLOOD joins the crowd savaging the Los Angeles Times’ web registration process.

I don’t get it. They irritate a lot of people, ensure that their site is read and linked to less often, and get a lot of forms on which people lie about all the information they ask about anyway. How many of these registrants are named “Elmer Fudd” and list “[email protected]” or something similar as their email address? A lot, I’ll bet. Then there are the more sophisticated folks, who just report that they’re 97 year-old Eskimo women with household incomes in excess of $250,000 per annum. . . .

UPDATE: Reader Lee Kane writes:

Regarding the LA Times required registration, I always make sure to put in the most wildly incorrect and mismatched data that I can when confronted with such “surveys”. (For example, I might say that I work as a clerk and make over 150K per year and live in Alaska. I was born in 1999, etc.)

What better way to force sites to stop the surveys than to make their data useless? The more people who engage in this fake data practice the more useless the data will become.

Yes, I expect that a lot of people do this, and I imagine their numbers are steadily growing.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Several readers wrote that “cypherpunk” works as both ID and password at the LA Times. I wonder how many other sites that’s true for. . . .

STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Emily Jones writes:

I think a lot of the online papers have realized this and set up their registration so that you cannot log in until you check your e-mail and follow the link that they leave you. I’ve set up an account on Yahoo! specifically because of this. I only ever check it when I’m forced to register for a news site.

Inbox: 1

Bulkmail: 357

Every time.

Cheers,

Emily

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