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Web sites should stop using email for signups

Posted 09-27-2012 at 11:31 AM by Skaperen

Email is so last century. Sure, many people still use it. I do to communicate with family and friends. But this is really out of place for so much other stuff. It just gets polluted with all the signups people have to do. People are now creating alternate email addresses, usually anonymous, for all these signup sites. This is so the real email, if they even have one, does not get polluted.

What good is it to do signups by email?

1. To make sure people only sign up once? Well, there are all these anonymous emails so that doesn't work anymore.

2. To send ads? People make these anonymous emails so they don't have to read it. Ads should be on the web site (and served locally, not by a remote ad provider that can be easily blocked), not in email.

3. To send important notifications? Some people don't read their email anymore. Some do the anonymous thing. Sure, the notifications may be important, but email isn't working for it. And don't expect Twitter to work any better. IRC? Hah! Just notify people next time they login (if they ever do).

Let people just sign up with Captcha or similar tools to manage the pace and volume. Then manage their reputation. For example early posts by new users must get a certain level of approval by users with high reputation (who can go look at the new post queue) before the general public can see them. As these users gain reputation with decent posting activity, this requirement gradually eases. A few web sites are doing this kind of thing, now (but they still need to stop using email for signups).
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