Link: “I don’t want to log in to your website

Original post found at: https://www.theverge.com/2023/2/28/23618804/google-facebook-login-ads-web-design-hell

There is a new trend among websites where they want my email address before I’m allowed to read their free content. While I sympathize with the struggles of the media business, I am just going to point out something obvious: not reading is easier than reading — and way easier than logging in.

I think I came at this article from a slightly different place from some people, because I was having a conversation yesterday about how can writers keep our work from getting scraped and republished elsewhere or used to “train” an AI model. And the answer, as far as I can see it, is to make sure our work is not on the “open web”. Either put up a login wall (not necessarily a paywall), or put it in some kind of all-Javascript dynamic web app where viewing the source code (that which computers can parse) gives you a whole bunch of obfuscated gibberish.

I’m thinking about fiction here, not the writers who produce the neverending stream of articles that get linked to and passed around on social media. Honestly, articles on most topics are a dime a dozen, so it’s very easy to go “nah I’ll just go elsewhere” when presented with an obstacle like a login wall. They are really annoying in that context. For fiction, though, I’m not so sure. If I’m willing to buy ebooks from Amazon, a login wall or having to read in a Javascript web app is not so great a hardship, comparatively.