Sunday, July 09, 2006

The Balkanization of the web

Each and every little ridiculous, replaceable website today, from the typical mega-news-corp website to the little my-dog-and-I-micro-blog seems to want you to "register" before you are able to access it. This is a hindrance to the most important characteristic of the Web which is the ability to easily create links between information stored in different places. Registration mania is the reason I never went through the trouble of getting myself a deviantart account, for instance. I find it pathetic that visitors have to register just to leave a comment and I don't want to legitimize that practice by building a page for its "community" (i.e., money making scheme built by users and ruled by owners with fake-community-sense-building brainwashing). Another peeve is the exclusive portals of some ISPs (that thankfully only provide crap that I wouldn't want), available only to their users. Instead of a global network of knowledge we get a global network of barbed wire barriers with guarded portals. A ridiculous analogue of the outside world, not built upon the needs that are justified in the real world, but upon the ingrained habit that somehow, even when you can be free, you somehow shouldn't. This is slave mentality at it's best.

The most ridiculous aspect of this, is that not only it is evil(tm) but it is also stupid. Some websites that should be attracting more viewers are instead taking trouble to ensure that direct linking to their stories is impossible. The Web, of course, treats them as damage, and routes around them, thereby redirecting lucrative traffic to the competition.

Here is a nice discussion of this issue at, which is a real life test case of how dropping compulsive registration can improve things dramatically for both users and providers.

No comments: