Author Avatar Web Disasters II – Electronic Fences

by Webnme2 on Mar 20th 2010


You’ve enticed to a website. Now you are primed to view web content. So what happens, you can’t get there because the site wants a password and personal data. This seems to be especially prevelant with news media websites. You may find a link to an enticing news story only to find that the newspaper won’t let you read the story without registering first. Similarly, you spend a great deal of time getting ready to buy a product. All you really want to do is buy the product. Instead you have to register to use the website before you can buy.


1. Go Ahead Frustrate Customers

Creating electronic barriers to the use of a website frustrates customers.

2. Registration Madness

If the content of your website is public, why are you using registration? Do you understand that this is going to turn people away? Do you expect every visitor to maintain a safe blackbook of 200 passwords with each one unique for each website? Do you really think your customers think this is a good experience? Or is this your way of saying I really don’t care about customers – they are there to be exploited and used.

3. Password Mania

Visitors to websites are constantly assailed with requests to create passworded accounts. People hate to remember usernames and passwords. Chances are they are going to use the same password over and over again. So if another website is cracked and the user’s password is compromised, chances are good the cracker will also be able to access your site with the cracked password. That really helps security across the web right?

4. None of Your Business – You Won’t Get My Business

Visitors who want to buy something, want to make a quick transaction. If you start asking visitors for all manner of registration information, chances are they will buy from another competitor instead of wasting time. Some vendors have it right. Macy’s, for example, gives you the option to register or to make a direct buy. Thumbs up for Macy’s.

Other sites out there need to follow that example. It is really a pain in the rear to start to register to make a buy and then find the site wants to know your birthdate, age, gender, and other information ad nauseum. There is no good reason why the seller site needs to have my life history or anyone else’s life history in order to make a purchase. If I go into a store and they try the same silliness, I’m already out the door and on my way to the next store. Guess what – the same happens on the web. Think about what it is your are doing to your customer base when you erect barriers to easy transactions.

5. Electronic Fences Kill Search Engine Visibility

If you are erecting one of these electronic fences, just remember that most search engines are not going to index your content. So let’s say I want to shop and your site has registration as a condition of seeing content, what is going to happen? If I search with Froogle, chances are I won’t see your product. If I do a search with any search engine, chances are I won’t see your stuff. I will find a website that does not require registration to browse and they will get the business you could have had.

About Webnme2

The author's first experience with computers was with Fortran IV. Wow that's ancient. After graduate school, he taught history for a number of years at a community college before becoming an attorney. In 1997 he changed careers to become a web developer/designer with an interest in all things web related. He currently maintains several dozen websites. This is his personal blog. The opinions expressed are his own.

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