User davr over at a new web applications question-and-answer site is looking for BugMeNot alternatives that don’t suck. For those of you not familiar with BugMeNot.com, this is a site that collects username and password combinations that allow access to web material that is behind a free registration firewall. Here’s how someone would use the site:
- A search engine points to an interesting article at GiveMeUrEmailz.com but the entire article is only available to (free) registered users.
- No problem! Just go to BugMeNot.com and search GiveMeUrEmailz.com
- Take a combination of username and password that has a high success rate (say, email@example.com and TakeTh1sM0nk3y)
- Head over to the site with this combination. If you get in, congratulations! You’ve had a little taste of victory today.
Seems like a good deal, right? Well, davr still isn’t satisfied:
I used to love Bugmenot … but then they started blocking more and more sites. Now I’d say a good 75% of the time I try to find logins on bugmenot, the site is blocked. Is there a service like bugmenot that doesn’t block sites?
For example, all of these sites require registration to download files posted by users, and all of them are blocked from BugMeNot. dcemu.co.uk, ubuntuforums.org, club.cdfreaks.com
To be clear, this problem is because BugMeNot stops users from adding logins for them, not because of the individual sites themselves are blocking logins from bugmenot.
I know of things like mailinator, but the whole point of BugMeNot is so I don’t have to go through the hassle of registering and setting up an account with fake details just to download that one useful piece of information from a site I never plan to visit again.
Try a little exercise for me. Take your thumb and index finger (assuming, of course, you have them handy) and rub them together gently.
Listen carefully. Do you hear that? It’s the world’s smallest violin playing the world’s saddest song.
First off, the information he was seeking was (monetarily) free to begin with. For a while he was able to bypass the compulsory but free registration by taking advantage of the kindness of a stranger who donated his creds to BugMeNot. And now he’s complaining that he actually has to register himself because — you’d better sit down — the website needs real people to send e-mails to in order to pay the bills? And worse yet, BugMeNot sucks (or so he says) because it actually honors the wishes of the website if they ask to be blocked from this game? What the heck is this world coming to?! (end sarcasm)
There’s very little content that’s truly free. You either pay for it through a subscription or a one-time payment, or you pay with time, aggravation, and distraction in the form of embedded advertising, registration, “welcome screens” with little video commercials, etc. Either way, these direct or indirect payments are in place to pay the bills for the people providing the content. I don’t blame websites at all for stepping up and actively reducing means by which people can bypass the indirect payment methods they’ve put in place.
If the thesis of this article over at The Atlantic is to be believed, one might infer that the websites still on BugMeNot.com are the ones that haven’t figured out that a business model that’s based completely on giving away everything and sticking ads in it is a loser’s game. (Hmmmm … may need to rethink my website then! ) One might also suggest that sites like BugMeNot will be compelled to follow its lead and honor requests to remove online publishers from their databases because they’ll fear reprisal: “You’re helping people to steal our content.” In the long run, the things that made sites like BugMeNot so much fun for a while will be seen less and less. BugMeNot as it once was is gone because publishers have upped the ante.
One of my colleagues said the same thing about Kitco.com. Lots of great information, but he said something to the effect of “Oh my goodness, those ads are obnoxious!” Well, gee, sorry they bug you, but that’s how they pay the bills and bring you all of the free charts and free content.
Some people will never be satisfied. These are the kinds of customers that you want to send to your competitors. Bug me not.