Washingtonpost.com Requires User Registration

By: Wayne Robins

Are you a man, or are you a woman?

The Washington Post Web site, http://www.washingtonpost.com, wants to know.

If you want to know what’s inside the award-winning Web site, you’ll also be asked your year of birth and ZIP code: The better for advertisers to target you from among the site’s five million monthly visitors. The survey can be seen at http://www.washingtonpost.com/survey.

The three questions, which ask for no confirmation of identification, take about 30 seconds to complete. “This fast and simple user survey will allow us to take an important step forward in our ability to interact with our audience and target advertising,” Christopher Schroder, CEO of Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, said in a news release. “Knowing more about our audience will also allow us to continually improve the user experience, both by developing more products that meet their needs and delivering more relevant advertising.”

About 80% of washingtonpost.com users are from outside the D.C. area, according to The Wall Street Journal Online, which broke the news. That means about four million people looking at the site each month could care less about some of the local ads. By targeting “psychographics” based on gender, age, and ZIP code, Schroder told the Journal, they will be able to increase rates for certain specific, focused advertisers.

The registration policy went into effect today, but is voluntary until Aug. 14, when you’ll have to register to access the site. The Post has no plan to begin charging for access or content.

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