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Backslash

It’s happened to you before, probably more times than you’d like to recall. You’re merrily zipping along the information highway, only to click on a link and hit a roadblock: “You must first register before you can access this Web site” or some such crap like that. Then, you must contend with the dilemma; should you take the time to register, and risk having your e-mail attacked by armies of spam? Or, fuck it, you didn’t really want to read that article anyway?

Fortunately, a savior has arrived: bugmenot.com was created to “Bypass Compulsory Web Registration.” Next time you’re accosted by a register roadblock, simply go to Bug Me Not, type in the URL of the offending site, and voila–Bug Me Not provides you with a login and password to gain access to the site.

The culprits behind registration roadblocks are often news sites, and the registration is a way for them to collect information about their demographics. But as Bug Me Not astutely points out, people usually just make up fake information, so the stats collected probably won’t be anywhere near accurate. How many times have you pretended to be Joe Schmoe, 35, from St. Louis, who makes $50,000 a year?

There’s an ongoing discussion about the issue at poynter.org, the nonprofit organization devoted to ethics in journalism — search “bugmenot” for a wealth of material (and if you’re asked to sign in, just go to Bug Me Not and type in poynter.org — there will be a password and login waiting for you.

Know of an intriguing, bizarre or educational Web site you’d like to see featured here? Send it to backslash@metrotimes.com.

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