[thelist] Arguments against registration forms

Frank framar at interlog.com
Wed Oct 23 22:33:00 CDT 2002

At 07:46 PM 10/23/2002 -0700, you wrote:
>Someone in my company wants to require people register in order to
>download an on-line brochure. I know in my bones that this is
>foolish. It will annoy customers and many will abandon the site
>rather than fill in a form. But I need data.
>Does anyone know of a study or paper or even an expert opinion I can
>use to win this argument?

I would be surprised if you found such a document (but would be interested
in reading one , if it were found.) Not all registrations are bad, and not
all will drive clients away. I suspect that your argument might carry more
strength if it made a specific case, rather than a general one.

Whether a user will fill in a registration form will be based on what they
think they'll get out of it. I would certainly fill out a long and complex
registration for a lifetime  of free licences to all Adobe products past
and future. Some will do it for as little as a picture of a naked woman.
And they'll even send the company money, to boot!

I would suggest that instead of using (only) data to support your argument,
that you use their self-interest. Right now, they seem to think that it's
in their best interest to do it. Your tactic might be:

    a) to show that it's NOT in their best interests (neutral), or

    b) that it is AGAINST their best interests (antagonistic) , or

    c)  that ANOTHER WAY (cooperative, solution-oriented)  will
        better serve their self-interest.

Here are some loose ideas that might serve as a little juice to fuel your
creative fire.

1) To a user, personal information is a form of currency. You must agree
because you are offering something in return for it (regardless of how

2) Have you no better marketing ideas than to try to coerce a user out of
the currency of personal information than to deny them your shot at a
pitch? (It you don't give me 10 dollars, I won't tell you what I have to
sell! Nah!)

3)  What makes you think that the user finds <your item> so valuable that
they will part with personal information? (Who doesn't already get enough

4) Would you give your personal information away so that some stranger Joe
Shmoe can advertise his products to you? (Who isn't already bombarded by

5) Have you considered making it optional? This might generate good-will.
Forcing them to  pay to listen to you sell might generate ill-will.

6) Have you considered actually offering something of value in exchange?
(This is where true marketing comes into play. Marketing is best used like
a sharp sword, not a blunt club).

7) Are you willing to lose potential clients over this?

8) What are things that someone could do, or offer *you* that would make
*you* happily part with *your* personal information?

9) Are you looking at things as they *are* or as you wish that they would
be? (I'd *love* clients to pay me to listen to my pitch!)

This is certainly far from a white paper, but perhaps it might help
generate some ideas. Good luck.

Frank Marion <frank at frankmarion.com>      Tel: 416 825 7488

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