Online registration systems under fire
User information is unreliable because it is is unverifiable, claims Bugmenot founder
Responding to a lively Poynter.org email debate on compulsory news registrations, Bugmenot's founder - identified only as a male Australian web professional - insists that registration information is unreliable because details cannot be verified.
"It seem to me that advertisers aren't very discriminating about the data they're being fed, so in that respect, bugmenot probably is a problem for news sites," he told dotJournalism.
"But I think news sites - like the RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) - should learn to respect their audience a little more."
Bugmenot.com is a large, free-to-access database of login details for more than 15,500 sites allowing users to bypass compulsory registration systems.
The top five sites requested by Bugmenot users are all news sites, although software organisations such as Macromedia were initially a bigger target. They require a significant amount of personal information before users can download free software.
The site now records around 20,000 users each day and insists that it does not allow users to post login details to paid-for sites. In one way, Bugmenot could be seen as a help to the news industry by highlighting an ineffective practice.
Bugmenot believes that unless news sites offer more valuable customisation as an incentive for giving personal details, the practice of compulsory registration is unsustainable.
"If every site practised it then the net would become an unusable scrapheap," he said.
"It's high time that these site owners act like responsible members of a community - and it's high time their advertisers realise unverifiable data is inherently flawed."
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