Argyle's Guide to Circumventing "Free Registration" Links June 13, 2003 4:14 PM   Subscribe

I'm fed up with the "Free Registration" links. There's a way to avoid all that. Read more if you want to know how.
posted by Argyle to Etiquette/Policy at 4:14 PM (50 comments total)

Too many people are lazy when it comes to sharing links on Metafilter. They post links to places like the New York Times that require registration to view the article. People seem to accept this, but it's fargin' wrong.

There is a simple way to distribute links to stories at places like the without registering all your friends. Follow along, it's simple.

If you are reading the article, you already are registered and can view the site. Take a look at the stuff around the article.

Notice the link that says "Email the article"? Every news page has this link. They all want to grab the email addresses of you and your friends.

So follow this link and email to yourself at some free webmail host that you have an account with for no real use. Mail yourself the article.

Check your webmail, and OMG, there's an email from the newspaper. Open the email and lookie there, a link directly to the story that bypasses the login/registration stuff.

Paste this link into your HTML and you get the story without logging in. Your audience will thank you for take 2 extra minutes to get a good link rather than a bad link.

Don't be a lazy contributor. Make a little effort and people will appreciate it.
posted by Argyle at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2003

Or here is an easy idea:

Most places like the New York Times, are already registered with the username: metafilter, and the password: metafilter
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 4:26 PM on June 13, 2003

I am kind of dumb, but that never works for me.

Also, try google news versions of a page. They are registration-free and be easilly found by pasting the whole fucking article into your google search terms.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2003

easilly found by pasting the whole fucking article into your google search terms

posted by quonsar at 4:43 PM on June 13, 2003

cpunks/cpunks seems to work pretty much everywhere, too.


It's just a thought.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2003


You may want to register with all the MAJOR FUCKING NEWS SERVICES like a good little consumer, but I don't.

If people are going to take the time to post a link on MeFi, they should do it in a way that makes it as easy as possible for others to engage in the conversation.

cpunks/cpunks and metafilter/metafilter don't even work at

Anyways, thanks for the thread crapping.
posted by Argyle at 5:36 PM on June 13, 2003

or about just a quick check off the free sites that carry wire feeds or a quick check of google's new news search engine to see if the same story is being carried somewhere that doesn't require a reg... sounds a lot less convoluted then having email sent around the world or dare i say just coping the content to your geocities site (which, no, i haven't noticed anyone doing yet)

...just a comment from someone who is happy to reg for any news service that is carrying something he feels would be a decent read.
posted by 10sball at 5:43 PM on June 13, 2003

I'm fed up with people whining about the links to free registration sites. It ins't like you're having to disclose anything of value [you can always make up your demographic information].

Links to Salon or Wall Street Journal paid sites isn't cool.
posted by birdherder at 6:10 PM on June 13, 2003

To: Argyle
From: Your Boss

You may want to BE PAID YOUR FUCKING SALARY but we don't think it's necessary since you clearly have no interest in eating. Or shelter, clothing, etc... Come to work anyway.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:31 PM on June 13, 2003

Argyle, it has nothing to do with being a "good little consumer". Just put in dummy information. No need to be all cool and rebellious about it.

P.S. Screw the man!
posted by jonson at 6:37 PM on June 13, 2003

posted by eddydamascene at 7:10 PM on June 13, 2003

There are some interesting zip codes out there that I like to use for the Washington Post or Radio Shack or what have you.

99788 is tiny Chalkyitsik, Alaska (photos). You can only get there by airplane.

48222 shows up on directories as Detroit, but it's actually the zip code for mail to freighters that sail the Great Lakes. Addresses that use this zip code presumably name the ship and the firm that owns it.

Unfortunately, the salesdroids never ask me why someone from Chalkyitsik is visiting Pittsburgh. I've got a real whopper cooked up for them if they do. In the meantime, if I buy enough stuff, Radio Shack might decide to take advantage of this large untapped market in the frozen north.
posted by tss at 7:12 PM on June 13, 2003

If people are going to take the time to post a link on MeFi, they should do it in a way that makes it as easy as possible for others to engage in the conversation.

Sure, you've got a point but I think it's very minor. I can also hold your hand when you cross the street, wipe your butt for you when you shit and hit the space bar to move the page down. MeFi is built on links and as a member of MeFi, you have to be accountable for them; by the same token, as a member, you shouldn't need anybody to hold your hand to view those links, specially if they are free, and the information that you provide when you register can be falsified as much or as little as you like. You want it easy? I could cut and paste the content of the link to MeFi . . .
posted by ashbury at 7:29 PM on June 13, 2003

Its been my experience that anything interesting at NYT is also carried, sometimes in a more palatable (or less if you like shit stirring) at another source, like the IHT. If you post it, they will come ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 7:48 PM on June 13, 2003


You've made me enjoy falsifying my nytimes registration again!
posted by ursus_comiter at 8:00 PM on June 13, 2003

Metafilter stopped being fun at about 14K users.

That, or 14K is the limit for having a sense of humor.

Either way, Argyle can kiss my ass.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:35 PM on June 13, 2003

I find it difficult to believe that there are still people left who regularly use the internet, yet don't have dummy e-mail set up to handle spam and use for registering for the news services. I mean, unless you're too cool and anarchist for that shit, in which case, what the fuck are you doing hanging out with dorks like us?

Metafilter is for links; pasting text into a post is possibly violating copyright, and could arguably fall into the realm of pancake posts.

I appreciate that you don't want to take the time to sign into a news site--I do not appreciate you acting like you're just too punk rock for it.
posted by padraigin at 10:08 PM on June 13, 2003

I set up a little javascripty form thing to generate random registration stuff for the New York Times pages. (shameless self-link) They got wise to it sometime last year, after getting flooded with a slashdot-sized serving of fake registrations, and cut it off at the referer level. However, if anyone finds this useful, they can either save the page to their local machine and use it from there (which works, but is sort of a pain in the ass), or save the bookmarklet on that page, and use that to auto-fill the form with random junk (which is what I do now).
posted by majcher at 10:30 PM on June 13, 2003

You may want to register with all the MAJOR FUCKING NEWS SERVICES like a good little consumer, but I don't.

What, the Times isn't worth the half-second it'll cost you to click the Autofill button? Hell, when I signed up seven years ago, I had to type all that crap myself! Kids today, you don't even know how good you have it.
posted by kindall at 11:58 PM on June 13, 2003

tss: 99788 is tiny Chalkyitsik, Alaska

There are plenty of tiny villages in Alaska, that's for sure. Some of my favorites:

99579: Egegik, Alaska
99685: Unalaska, Alaska
99705: North Pole, Alaska
posted by rhapsodie at 12:06 AM on June 14, 2003

Wow, I kicked the hornets nest and they seem angry.

How dare I act cool and punk rock? I thought I was being helpful.

Of course, rocking the boat is verboten at MeFi. Perhaps I should post more comments with pancake references and links to flash sites.

Better yet, let start comparing user IDs. Do my low /. and ICQ numbers outweigh my dreadfully high MeFi ID?
posted by Argyle at 12:49 AM on June 14, 2003

No, but my 3 digit Fark ID does.
posted by NortonDC at 1:06 AM on June 14, 2003

I agree with Argyle 100% If the news service offers a non-reg version, it is a fine idea to utilize that which they offer. Use the web the way it CAN be used, not the way someone else wants you to use it.
posted by chaz at 1:17 AM on June 14, 2003

oh thats good , i have no idea about zip codes at all , so these numbers are v.handy
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:13 AM on June 14, 2003

major fucking news services. cool.
posted by kv at 5:03 AM on June 14, 2003

You're rocking the boat in half a foot of water.
posted by ashbury at 6:05 AM on June 14, 2003

Faking reg's is a god habit, thanks tss for sharing some great zip codes - us europeans have little clue about US zip codes, and it's tedious to make them up, so I agree with argyle and chaz - I usually use 10011.

If I were to link to a british site which required uk zip codes to register 'free', I'm pretty sure half the Mefiosos would get teed off. SE11 5EE anyone?

Time is money. Save us some and we'll appreciate it.
posted by dabitch at 6:32 AM on June 14, 2003

Argyle: It seems that I owe you and the rest of the community and apology for my penultimate offering which was full of registeration required links.

What you sugget sounds an elegant solution but for those of us who aren't quite as techno / HTML savvy as many here, would you consider writing a step-by-step guide and posting it somewhere? Sorry to be such a Luddite.
posted by dmt at 6:35 AM on June 14, 2003

How dare I act cool and punk rock?

Know what'd be really cool and punk rock? Dying young. This issue's been discussed a number of times before. If you think giving the NYT a bunch of fake info increases the chance a black helicopter will spew ex-NSA ad men onto your bomb shelter, don't do it. And give up the NYT links.

Feel free to comment in the threads without reading though.
posted by yerfatma at 7:22 AM on June 14, 2003

Metafilter stopped being fun at about 14K users.

Crash! And here I thought we were friends. *Cries*
posted by jonson at 7:34 AM on June 14, 2003

Argyle, your original intent was clearly benign, but then you got all snotty with the "well maybe YOU want to be a little consumer do-bee" whatever. That ticked me off.

You're welcome to rock the boat, I encourage it. I'm not a boatrocker myself, I'm more of a sit-back-and-make-the-odd-non-sequitur type. So please rock all you like. But jeez, don't get bratty when someone offers the obvious solution to your problem, or when nobody considers it to be a problem at all.
posted by padraigin at 8:06 AM on June 14, 2003

I have had a Yahoo email address since I got on the internet. It's only purpose for existing is to use to fill in the blanks when I have to register somewhere. It comes complete with it's own fake name, home location, and quite possibly it's own fake persona. I think at this point it might even have it's own fake cat, dog and 2.5 children, but I can't be certain ... it's sort of taken on a life of it's own. I do know that, at least according to the type of spam it usually gets, it must enjoy porn more than I do.

I knew from the get go that I didn't want to hand out my real email address and information to anyone unless absolutely necessary or unless I trusted them (which doesn't happen often). At this point, I am pretty much signed up at all the large news and information sites, and I stay logged in (or rather my fake persona does), so it really doesn't make an iota of difference to me whether a link requires a free registration or not. If I run across one I haven't signed up for yet, I simply pull out the fake persona and fill in the blanks. I even use this fake address to sign up for mailing lists, community blogs and whatnot until I am certain that giving them my real address isn't going to create a spam overload. I am fairly certain I used it when I first signed up at Mefi.

This is just one of the many reasons on that I never make a front page post. I live in fear of the ridicule if my link requires someone to fill in a zip code, or my grammar, spelling, punctuation or the use of language won't be up to par, or that the info I want to share might be too newsfilter, Iraqfilter, warfilter, adfilter, fatfilter, Bushfilter, what-have-you-filter resulting in me being flamed into my next lifetime. Truly, Mefi is a friggin' den of lions.

Sorry for the rant. I haven't had my morning dose of calming Dr Pepper yet.
posted by Orb at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2003

Dr.Pepper, that shit is sick. You better start drinking coffee brewed by some eco-freindly small store like the rest of us or I'll get matt to ban you.
posted by Mick at 9:28 AM on June 14, 2003

Argyle misses the boat with his little punkboy anti-corporate screed. if he was so damn anti-corporate, he'd understand instinctively that filling in phony registration information, preferably EVERYTIME he visits the site (warning: requires deletion of cookie. Argyle, you may need to hire an MSCE to do this for you) is the TRUE anti-corporate stance. i suspect he's a ringer, sent in by cheney to get the lay of the land and report back to his corporate overlords.
posted by quonsar at 11:23 AM on June 14, 2003

I move around without my cookies.
posted by eddydamascene at 3:57 PM on June 14, 2003

you've been reported. now shut up or get wellstoned.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 4:37 PM on June 14, 2003

Argyle misses the boat with his little punkboy anti-corporate screed.


In Real Life I run a technology department at Disney. I'm about as corporate as they come. :)
posted by Argyle at 4:38 PM on June 14, 2003

Speaking of having some creative liscence with reg. forms: did you know that if you're over 103 you cannot legitimately fill out the washington post's reg. form?
posted by dazed_one at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2003

However; if you're under a year old, you can.
posted by dazed_one at 5:22 PM on June 14, 2003

Wow, I kicked the hornets nest and they seem angry.

Looked the other way around to me. Hornets looked up at you and said: eh, whatever and then you got all pissy.

Plus, this has been brought up at least 14,135 times in MetaTalk. I'd search for the posts, but, just to mirror your apparent laziness, I'm not going to bother.
posted by eyeballkid at 6:48 PM on June 14, 2003

Here's a smarter idea, without the snottiness (if it actually works, that is ('I'm an ideas man, damn it!')) - just whack &partner=GOOGLE on the end of the NYTimes URL, a la Google News, and presto chango cheese sandwich, no registration!

Er, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:43 PM on June 14, 2003

I'm too lazy to find all fourteen thousand previous times this topic has been brought up too, but I found threads about leaving name&pass in posts, first thread positive response, and this thread asking or them in the sidebar, more negative. It strikes me as many members think a no-reg link is a good idea. Am I wrong?
All I'd like to add is that metafilter/metafilter/ mefi/mefi cpunks/cpunks haven't worked for me since 2000, so I'd appreciate a no-reg link very much. Such as the "email your buddy" link or "print this article" link instead. That's all.
posted by dabitch at 3:39 AM on June 15, 2003

This has come up before but definitely check out spamgourmet. It's super cool.
posted by Wood at 12:26 PM on June 15, 2003

Mark me down as another who would appreciate links that actually work.

I decided back around 1997 or so, after signing up for probably the 20th or 30th web site that wanted my name, address, phone number, social security number, place of employment, rental history, and two credit references, that I just wasn't going to put up with it anymore. I'm still sticking to it. No more registrations.

I have made about, hmm, three or four exceptions since then, one being Metafilter, but the Washington Post simply isn't worth it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:13 PM on June 15, 2003

stavros: I've tried that; doesn't work. Google has some code they use for each NYT article to let them in for free--you have to have each variable attached to the URL for it to work. Has anyone tried to crack it? Or would that be a violation of the DMCA?
posted by gramcracker at 3:44 PM on June 15, 2003

this profanity-laden thread makes me think
of a Mamet play
not necessarily in a
good way
posted by matteo at 4:35 AM on June 16, 2003

Hey if you hit the space bar the page moves down...
posted by johnny7 at 8:27 AM on June 16, 2003

Whoa! Hold on here folks... We're calling someone names and I wasn't invited!?
posted by Dark Messiah at 2:14 PM on June 16, 2003

How dare I act cool and punk rock?


resume lurking, puh-lease, before you burst our little paradigms

oh my!
posted by scarabic at 4:41 PM on June 16, 2003

As far as the Washing Post is concerned, I'm a 50-year-old Albanian woman. (You don't need a Zip code if you claim to be outside the USA.)
posted by salmacis at 8:07 AM on June 17, 2003

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