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Vantage Point By Robert Hale, publisher of the Juneau Empire.
As of Thursday, visitors to our newspaper Web site, www.JuneauEmpire.com, will be required to register if they want to have full access to our daily online content and our archived stories and photos.
Online readers who don't register with us will still be able to view the JuneauEmpire.com home page and read the headlines contained on our section fronts, such as Local News, Sports and State News, and they'll still be able to access our online classified ads and other sites such as AlaskaLegislature.com, JuneauAlaska.com, JuneauBrides.com, SoutheastAlaskaHomes.com, Net Marketplace and JuneauWorks.com.
The Empire's Web site now gets more than 2.5 million page views per month, and because of that, online registration is a major step forward for us in terms of the what we stand to learn about who visits our site, what they read while there and some about the demographics of our market in Juneau and beyond.
The limited information we get from online registrants will be of great help to us in evaluating our Web site and, of even more importance, will provide us with a solid gauge for better meeting the needs of our readers and our advertisers.
To make the fast and free registration requirement all the more palatable to you, we're providing some rather nice rewards by way of our Get in the Game contest (see our Web site for details). Those include a grand prize of an Alaska Airlines vacation package (three nights, four days) for two to Las Vegas, a Samsung 4.0 megapixel digital camera from Art Such Photography in Juneau, and an Apple iPod Mini for Mac or PC computers courtesy of Juneau Electronics. We'll also be awarding many other prizes such as Juneau Empire rain jackets and logo caps.
After two weeks of pre-registration, with the contest as an incentive, we already have almost 1,000 readers signed on. Of those, 95 percent show Juneau zip codes, 65 percent are female and 52 percent are 25 to 54 years of age.
The information we're seeking from our online readers is essentially this: name, date of birth, gender, address and answers to a handful optional questions that will tell us a little bit about personal interests (hobbies, basically). And, we'll naturally want to know whether you subscribe to the print version of our newspaper.
Consider this a heads-up that it would be best if you register now. Know also that once you register, as long as your computer settings are correct and stay the same, you will not need to register or log in again. Simply look for your user name at the top of our home page where the login links are and it's as easy as that.
The information we're asking our readers for is no different from what the online versions of most newspapers and magazines are now requiring, and it's less than many other sites require in the way of registration.
Should you have any have any questions or concerns about our registration process, or you'd like more information about it, please visit our FAQ (frequently asked questions) page at http://juneauempire.com/registration/faq.shtml. Or contact our New Media department at email@example.com.
One other point: To those who think we have plans to sell any of the information we gather about our readers, or that we are about to send "spam" e-mails based on the information we're provided, neither is going to happen. We may eventually send some rather specific, targeted e-mails at the rate of, say, one per month, but it's going to be awhile before we'll be ready to even consider that.
Registration is free, painless, easy and may earn you a vacation to Vegas. If you've not already, sign on today.
Robert Hale is publisher of the Juneau Empire. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.