The problem with Fairfax

A while back The Age (and other Fairfax Digital sites) introduced a free registration requirement to get to read pages with any meat on them. I can kinda understand their motivation in this, it probably makes their web advertising more valuable knowing who’s looking at what.

Three problems with it though. Firstly it discourages casual viewers. While it’s relatively invisible once you’re registered, it is a pain to have to remember yet another e-mail/password combination, especially if you move around a lot. Have pity on the expat Aussies roaming from Net cafe to Net cafe.

Secondly Google News is now counting some Fairfax sites as “subscription,” putting off more casual viewers. (Curiously the SMH is labelled as subscription, but The Age isn’t.)

Thirdly one day last week I tried to look at an article in The Age and the authentication system had broken down, barring entry. Surely they should realise that they’re in the content-delivery business, not the web subscription business, and if the authentication system fails, waive the requirement to check my logon, and just show me the damn page.

Oh yeah, and why is their up-to-the-minute fast-breaking Technology Daily e-mail bulletin filled with stories that are two days old?