More on mandatory registration systems – BugMeNot

In my earlier life I used to run an eBusiness consulting practice. One
of our areas of specialization was personalization. We used to work
with partners like Broadvision
implementing personalziation solutions. The deal with personalization
was simple – give us some information about yourself and we will keep
sending you information (and some ads of course) that will suit your

I posted earlier about sitepass
approach employing a win-win-win (, advertiser and reader) for
circumventing the mandatory registration issue. I had a few emails
related to that post. The most interesting one came from Manisha (thanks Manisha for the link) pointing me to a site called BugMeNot
which has an interesting way of solving this problem. For sites with
non-premium content, registered users can share their username/password
with other users so that everyone does not have to register to access
some information on the site.

It is a game changing move and while I don’t want to comment on the
business model etc., I am just thinking about what this means to folks
that are implementing mandatory registration systems to access their
site information. John from Atlanta may be using the username/password
for Jeanne from Nebraska. Since Jeanne is sharing her username/password
from the site, I am confident that all information about Jeanne is fake
(which is not a surprise) and if this trend continues what good is junk
registration data anyway.

This is what happens – when you make it hard for people to do simple
things (like reading an article) people will come up with solutions
that will find loopholes in the system. I am not going to speculate
what happens to BugMeNot (that’s
food for thought later) but for now, sites that have registration
systems, please take notice and re-evaluate your own approach.