Washingtonpost.com Boosts Site Registration Requirements

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In an effort to offer advertisers more targeting options, washingtonpost.com said yesterday that it would add new required fields to its user registration process.

Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive said it now would require washingtonpost.com users to enter four pieces of information relating to their job, in addition to the site's standard gender, date of birth and ZIP code fields. Registrants also will submit an e-mail address and password.

The registration requirement began on parts of the site Monday and will roll out across the site over the next several weeks. Eventually, most parts of the site will be available only to registered users. At registration, users are offered subscriptions to a dozen washingtonpost.com e-mail newsletters.

With the added information, washingtonpost.com plans to offer advertisers more targeting options. Already, an advertiser could ensure its ads reach only those outside the Washington area, for example. Now, it can ensure that they reach only those outside the Washington area working in executive positions in the technology industry.

Washingtonpost.com joined fellow online publisher New York Times Digital with a registration requirement in April 2002. However, unlike NYTD, which has users answer nine questions, washingtonpost.com required just basic information. Now, users wanting complete access to the site must give their job title, job industry, job responsibility and company size.

"As our targeting abilities have grown and as we've been talking to advertisers," WPNI spokesman Don Marshall said, "we've found this business-related information would be very helpful to advertisers."

Web sites have gotten increasingly sophisticated in offering targeting opportunities to advertisers. NYTD, for example, offers advertisers surround sessions, in which a single advertiser can follow a user throughout a site visit. Other publishers have turned to third-party targeting providers like Tacoda Systems and Revenue Science for ad targeting tied to user behavior. USAToday.com uses a combination of registration data and Tacoda's audience behavior information to offer advertisers specific audience segments.

"It's something we're looking at," Marshall said. "We've focused on the demographics for now, and we'll continue to look at behavioral."

The bolstered registration comes less than a month after publishing veteran Caroline Little replaced WPNI chief Chris Schroeder. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, washingtonpost.com draws a little more than 5 million unique visitors monthly. Though not yet profitable, The Washington Post Co.'s online unit's sales grew 34 percent to $14.2 million in the fourth quarter compared with a year earlier. WPNI said local and national advertising sales grew 54 percent.

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