Why Online Newspapers Require Registration: Spam

TechDirt reports on a piece by John C. Dvorak claiming that the reason why newspapers force registration is so that they can spam you…

I can only speak from my experience at Knight Ridder Digital, so perhaps the practices are different at the other big two chains (Gannett and Tribune) or at 2nd and 3rd tier publishers… but John’s clearly off a bit.

Yes, certainly, the online divisions of the major newspaper chains have been charged with becoming profitable businesses. And yes, many of them require registration so that, like everyone else who requires registration, they can profile you (for better ad targeting) and email marketing. The latter generates significantly better CPMs (vs. what they can charge for IAB placed ads), but, at least at KRD, is only done:

– In compliance with CAN-SPAM

– Purely opt-in, and only to categories you specify

– With the email coming from KRD; your address is never given to the actual advertiser

Folks, the alternatives (for now) are online newspaper subscriptions, micropayments, or your willingness to pay them rediculous prices for classified ads (vs. free services like Craigslist).

Personally, I’d rather delete the ads (or create an Outlook rule to do it for me) than pay for the content.

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