Sites that Require You to Give Up Personal Information to Read Online Content and Don’t Confirm Get What They Deserve

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There are plenty of reasons for a site – such as a newspaper site – to demand your personal information (and most particularly your email address) before they let you access their goodies (such as online content in the case of a newspaper). This is known as an email squeeze (they squeeze your email address out of you before letting you have access to the stuff you want). Some see this as a reasonable way to do business, others see it as an unreasonable cost in order to read content on the Internet. Obviously, your email address is one of the most valuable commodities there is to an online marketer. And of course that’s why many end users see it as an unreasonable demand.

It especially annoys people when somebody emails them the link to an article, they click on the link, and are met with “Stop! You can’t go any further unless you give us your email address.”

But however you see it, it becomes particularly problematic when they demand your email address, and then don’t confirm it. That means that anybody can enter any email address – whether someone else’s or a made up one – in order to gain access to the online content without having to give up their actual email address.

And people do this, all the time.

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Some people will enter the address of a known anti-spammer, so that when the site adds the address to a mailing list without first confirming it, and starts spamming the anti-spammer, the site will get in trouble.

Others will enter a made up address.

It doesn’t really matter – the point is the same – if you are going to build an email list, make sure to confirm an email address before adding it to your list!. (This means before you accept it as a legitimate email address, send an email to it, and have the recipient respond, saying “yes this is my real address, and yes I want to be on your mailing list.”)

Here’s a case in point. This is from an actual site belonging to a very large, very well known newspaper based in New York. The person wanted to read a story that had been sent to them by a friend, so they clicked on the link, and when they got to the newspaper’s site, were told that they had to register with their email address.

Now, to prove our point, here is the actual screen capture from when they entered their made up email address – be sure to read the email address – and the message from the newspaper site that resulted when they tried to register their made up address!

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4 thoughts on “Sites that Require You to Give Up Personal Information to Read Online Content and Don’t Confirm Get What They Deserve

  1. I just use http://www.bugmenot.com/ With Firefox you can install it as a plugin, right click on a site login, then select “login with bugmenot.” Bugmenot provides a user name and password that has already been registered with that site. If one is not available, you can create one.

  2. I usually try to use a disposable address. I use www.spamgourmet.com for mine. You can specify how many messages you wish to receive before any more attempts at mailing just vanish into cyberspace and never, ever darken your inbox again. The name of the company/person that you are giving the address to can be incorporated into the disposable address, so if any unwanted mail (I believe it`s called…..er…..SPAM. Yes, that`s it!) arrives with the tell-tale in it from elsewhere, you know immediately who has passed it on. Unfortunately, it seems that some sites have got wise to this and throw out the address I create as invalid. There are other services available.

  3. … and, of course the active link to the “screen capture” in the article leads tro a shill for somew screen capture software– what is THAT all about???

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