Pet Peeve: Web Pages with "Free" Signups

I don't read the New York Times online. This is inconvenient, but I do it as a matter of principle.

There is, in my humble opinion, absolutely no reason to sign up a "free" account for such services. What's the point if it's free? What benefit do you, the reader, gain from having this superfluous hoop to jump through?

You might say, "Well, this allows them to customize the default page to my interests". News Flash: That's a nice feature, but why does this require that they block me from reading articles?

You might say, "Well, what's the harm in setting up the free account?"
This just in: Giving out your personal information unnecessarily is bad. That and I don't particularly like the oblique attempts at making me a part of their mailing list/random offers.

You might say, "Just make up someone and get a bogus free account!"

What we are suggesting here is that in order to circumvent a silly and superfluous concept, readers should fill in the free account with gobbledygook. This is an activity that generally doesn't require much time and effort.

This does not change the fact that the existence of this arbitrary barrier is unnecessary. This does not change the fact that it only serves as a tool by which they take your personal information, your browsing habits, and your email and use them for personal gain. All this does is allow me, one person, to circumvent the system and confuse their numbers.

Will I? No way.

I'm too deeply offended by their assumption that I, like the gibbering masses of uninformed internet browsers, am so ingratiated to them for publicizing their articles on the internet that I will gladly join their Big Brother Club and subject myself to their scrutiny. It's a needless hassle, a pointless hurdle, an inconvenient shenanigan and I won't even validate with a bogus account.

There is absolutely no benefit conferred to me by playing their games. I don't gain anything from having a free account between me and their articles. It's ridiculous and I will have none of it.

So you say, "Hey, it costs money to make that paper, they need to make cash somehow!"
Bulletin: The Washington Post and the Boston Globe don't cost money to view online, and they also don't require free accounts to do so. The whole account this is a voluntary perk, a benefit to those that truly want it.

If money was really a problem, they'd charge people to view it. As it stands they more than make up their operating costs on ads, and by suckering people into "free" accounts.

I treat all such institutions the same way. Any site that requires me to sign up to download something, to view something, or basically to do whatever it is I wanted to do with no noticeable benefit, I just turn the other way and go home.

I miss out on some nice things this way, but I think it's worth it.

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