User registration is everywhere, required, even for the smallest of tasks. Why?
I see only two uses for website registration:
- For online shopping accounts, shopping carts, and sensitive personal or financial information
- For web applications such as personal dashboards, user-specific settings that need to be remembered and can’t be remembered with simple cookies
Outside of these two uses, there’s really no need for websites to require registration.
It’s sneaky and it feels dirty and suspicious. It’s common knowledge that the more information companies have about you, the more their company is worth. That’s why Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are worth so much – they obtain and collect insane amounts of personal information about their users which is a treasure trove for marketers and advertisers.
Something as simple as an email address is worth a lot. There are companies out there that make their money on collecting, buying, and selling huge lists of email addresses (as well as physical addresses) to marketing agencies who then use those purchased lists (which contain our email addresses) to send advertisements and other junk that we don’t generally care to see.
For businesses who don’t care to purchase lists, they can easily sell theirs for money. Have you ever wondered how when you subscribed to a specific outdoors catalog, you suddenly started receiving magazines for Eddie Bauer and L L Bean? It’s quite likely that Company A sold your information to other companies and now you’re receiving – possibly unwanted – marketing materials. Most of the time when I get some marketing information it goes directly into the recycling bin. If I didn’t request it then I’m obviously not interested. To me, it’s a form of harassment. Not to mention it’s just wasteful.
To give an example, WinMagic (makers of SecureDoc) required me to create an account just to browse their knowledgebase. Why do I need an account to browse help documents? I’ve got no intention of contributing. I’m simply looking for something. Since I was required to register I’ve got to be on the lookout for unwanted spam from WinMagic, or worse, one of their advertising partners. Furthermore, my use of their knowledgebase will likely be a one-time thing. I’ll find what I’m looking for and probably never touch the site again, but since I’m required to create an account, now I’m that much more susceptible to find junk mail in my email inbox.
Does everything have to become monetized?