Washingtonpost.com: Get Ready, We’re About To Annoy You!

The Washington Post’s Web site already asks you to provide some basic demographic information — year of birth and ZIP code, pretty much — if you want to read its content. Now, though, they’ve decided that this system isn’t nearly annoying enough, so they’re about to switch to a far more onerous registration system:

Washingtonpost.com already asks online readers for their age, gender and Zip code. Over the next four or five weeks, users will be asked for a job title, a description of their primary responsibility, the size of their company and the industry in which they work. Users will also have to provide an e-mail address and password to enter the site. Users who provide Zip codes in the Washington area will also have to give their home address…
“We are confident that this new registration initiative will help to continue the remarkable growth we’ve seen in ad revenue,” Caroline Little, chief executive and publisher of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Washington Post Co., said in a statement.

Jeez louise! Does anybody actually fill these things out accurately anyway? I always wonder how much valid data sites with similar systems actually collect. And even the New York Times, which forces me to set up a username and password, doesn’t demand to know my home address!

What’s even more galling is that, since I subscribe to the print edition already, they already have most of this information for me. Why do I need to re-type my home address when they deliver the newspaper there every morning? Why not send me a postcard with a pre-generated login, so I don’t have to go to the trouble of setting one up? Or even better, let me opt out of the more intrusive ad-targeting types of questions, as a thank-you for buying the print edition? Do the people at the print edition and the Web edition know that they’re even working for the same company?

What a bunch of losers.