Friday, April 23, 2010

The LA Times uses Facebook and others for registration

I received an email from the LA Times saying they were cancelling my online registration in nine days. But, not to worry, I could register on their new, improved site, which was also free.

I wondered why they did not just transfer my old registration and carry on without bothering me, but clicked on the link to register for the new site. That took me to a page that asked me to register using my Gmail, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, AOL or Myspace account for authentication.

It said that if I did not have an account with one of those services, I could still register. But, when I tried to do that, it took me to Facebook so I could open an account there. I had to join Facebook if I wanted to access to LA Times articles and newsletters.

What's up with that? Does the LA Times get a kickback from Facebook and the others? What does it cost Facebook to be the preferred subscription agent? Does the LA Times get access to things I tell Facebook and vice versa? This all feels a bit creepy.

Newspapers are hurting financially, but this seems like a bad idea even if does generate some revenue. What does an association with Facebook (Spambook) do for the LA Times brand? What happens if I never log onto the Facebook account they forced me get? What if I want to get LA Times feeds through my email or RSS?

Will Facebook or Google or Twitter or one of the others end up being your primary Internet identity point? Do you mind having the choice made for you?