Online Newspapers Are Requiring Users to Register

The Online Journalism Review discusses the recent increase in news sites requiring registration. The reason?

Media executives cited two recurring themes: the need to form a closer relationship with their readers, and the potential for added revenue. . . . . But when push comes to shove, online newspapers have largely been flying blind about who's coming to their own sites and why. Until now.

While there is no doubt that having users register will be a boon for newspapers interested in the demographics of their online readers, as well as useful for tracking reading patterns (see OJR's Belo: Active and Shifting Audiences), I can't imagine it'll be long before one of the news sites becomes greedy or gets into dire financial straits. You'll go login into your favorite site, expecting to read an article, and instead finding a friendly little message: "I'm sorry, but we have been forced to require a small subscription fee."