Newspaper Drops Online Registration

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The Houston Chronicle had required users trying to visit its pages to provide demographic information before proceeding, but has tossed that process in an effort to build traffic.

Building traffic is all well and good, but the real desire for traffic isn’t a sudden desire to see one’s bandwidth and server bills increase. Removing registration does away with a barrier to visitors seeing and clicking on advertisements.

MediaPost reported on how the Houston Chronicle dispensed with the registration requirement:

“Our goal is to be an open site,” said Stephen Weis, vice president, general manager of Chron.com. “We feel that our growth will be from people using our site as often as they might use a search engine.”

Chron.com also hopes to draw visitors with an upcoming local search engine and directory, and an online classified service that will be free for lower-cost items, Weis said Tuesday.

Advertisers like online ads because of their lower cost and greater potential reach than conventional print advertising. Newspapers face a simple economic reality: embrace the online ad dollar or sit back and watch as circulation and print ad money dwindle away.

For the Chronicle, the move to drop the registration request happened in May, but they hadn’t publicized it until recently. Since the change, they have seen an increase in traffic.

“Sites like Houston Chronicle are finding an exploding demand for advertising on their pages, and so strategies that would restrict the size of their audience and the number of page views don’t make sense any more,” David Morgan, CEO of behavorial marketing firm Tacoda, said in the report.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Newspaper Drops Online Registration
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