Newspapers large and small must no doubt have seen their circulation numbers dwindle with so many people getting a lot of their daily news fix on the Internet. I cannot remember the last time I even looked at a newspaper much less bought one. You have to give them credit for effort as a lot of newspapers have developed pretty nice web sites to attract the big group of readers that are like me and only read news online. So why am I saying they just don’t get the Internet?
Like many people I get a lot of news bites through RSS and I make extensive use of "news scrapers" like PubSub, Yahoo and Google to scan the web for particular topics of interest. At least once a day I get a blurb from an article that appears on a smaller newspaper’s web site that looks like one I might want to read. So I click the link and then the fun begins. Since I’ve never heard of your newspaper it’s a safe bet I’ve never visited your web site and the first thing I’m confronted with is the dreaded registration page. Newspapers seem to think we readers love to give not only a full page of registration information but in some cases two or three pages! You couldn’t be more wrong about that so what happens? I leave and never read your article or visit your site again. Is that what you want?
So Mr. Midwest Plains Register Sentinel Chronicle guess what you really lose? I will not only never read your article but I will not be able to inform other readers they might like it. You not only lose the interest of one reader but possibly many more because if I like an article I’m pretty sure my readers will like the article and I will tell them about it on my web site. You get a link to your newspaper that might generate hundreds of visitors. But you don’t because you make it so blasted onerous to get IN your web site in the first place. It proves you do not GET the way the Internet works when it comes to news.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with simple registration with an email address. That’s what we all have those throw-down Hotmail accounts for. You know, the ones we never ever check because sites like yours spam us forever once you get the email address. No, the only registration methods that heat me up are the ones that pretend I am possibly going to become a local subscriber to your print newspaper. This is the Internet, I don’t live anywhere near your city, and I am never going to buy your newspaper so just give up.