Washingtonpost.com Now Requires Registration

Posted on August 21, 2002

Washingtonpost.com now requires users to provide information about themselves in order to have full access to the site. A short survey gathers year of birth, gender, and zip code from the site's 5 million monthly visitors. washingtonpost.com is not alone and is among several online newspapers that require registration, but do not charge access fees. NYTimes.com (The New York Times), Dallasnews.com (Dallas Morning News) and latimes.com (L.A. Times) also require registration information from its users.

"washingtonpost.com is committed to better understanding our audience so we can create a more powerful user and advertiser experience," said washingtonpost.com CEO Christopher M. Schroeder. "This fast and simple user survey will allow us to take an important step forward in our ability to interact with our audience and target advertising. Knowing more about our audience will also allow us to continually improve the user experience, both by developing more products that meet their needs and delivering more relevant advertising. And without question, a good user experience is an essential part of creating the best advertiser experience."

The three-question survey asks for the user's gender, year of birth, zip code and country. Most users will only receive the survey one time, unless they do not have cookies enabled or they switch computers. washingtonpost.com said the survey will allow it to gain a greater understanding of its audience and deliver advertisements to segments of the site's audience based on age, gender or location.

"We believe strongly in the future of online advertising, and this survey will take us closer to meeting its full potential," Schroeder commented. "Being able to reach our whole audience, or just a valuable segment, is an exciting and potentially enormous proposition for Web advertisers. Interactive capabilities such at this are not only unique to the medium, they are the keys to the success of quality content sites."

Beginning on Wednesday, August 7, washingtonpost.com users were asked to voluntarily provide the information. On August 14, washingtonpost.com began rolling out the mandatory survey section by section across the site. When the roll-out is complete the vast majority of washingtonpost.com pages will be accessible only if a user has provided the requested information. Users will be able to access the home page without interruption, but will receive the survey page when they visit articles or sections.

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