I’m gonna assume the answer is no. Giving info like full name, postal address, e-mail isn’t the kind of thing you expect to have to do purely to browse around.
So why do so many web sites insist on asking for exactly that?
I got a little irate earlier this week (maybe ’cause I’d been in a bad mood all day) at eMusic. I was doing a bit of research for my post about Spotify and just wanted to find out how much eMusic subscriptions were so I could compare the cost and support my argument that Spotify is too expensive when put up against the likes of eMusic.
Could I find out about the subcription plans let alone the prices though? No. I faced the same wall whatever I tried: a 13 field registration form which was just step 1 of a 3 step process.
It’s the same story with sites like Love Film which ask for your bank details just to get a free trial. They say stuff like “to make it easier for you to sign up after your trial, if you want to.” No it’s not, you just know some people are flakey and won’t be arsed to cancel. Or, like me, will cancel last minute but you’ll have already charged my account in advance for the first months subscription that I never actually said I wanted. (I got my own back, by the way.)
I had a brief conversation with eMusic on Twitter about this little phenomenon;
- eMusicNews: @philipjohn This link should point you in the right direction:http://bit.ly/mMGrR
- PhilipJohn: @eMusicNews That asks me to login. How is that useful if I’m not a subscriber and want to know what my choices for subscribing are?
- eMusicNews: @philipjohn I believe there should be an option there to set up an account. If you go through that process, you should see plan options.
- PhilipJohn: @eMusicNews Yeah but only if I give you my passport, birth certificate and god knows what else. It’s called a barrier to conversion.
- eMusicNews: @philipjohn Hi Philip -if you fill in the first reg page, the 2nd page shows you the available plans.
- PhilipJohn: @eMusicNews I get that but I don’t want to part with personal info just to see your prices. It’s like demanding ID to enter a high st shop!
- eMusicNews: @philipjohn Sorry….
Know the phrase, “sorry isn’t good enough”?
You might be thinking, “why do you care so much, they’re the ones loosing out?” They probably are missing out on customers because they’re putting up a barrier to conversion.
Thing is, I’m passionate about the web and how it can be used successfully for businesses. But putting up barriers to conversion in any business is surely a bad idea (unless they’re designed as a qualifier). I hate to see examples of the web done ‘wrong’ because I want to see a web that is easy to use, free of frustration and ultimately a good experience for the user.
Yes, I’m an idealist, bit of a dreamer but it’s not impossible. It’s certainly not hard. So why not JFDI?!
I’ll make this an open letter to all on line businesses… open up. Take down your barriers. Let people in. You’ll benefit in the long run.