Talking Tech Friday – Bugmenot

I’m experimenting with WordPress’ delayed publishing feature – I’m actually writing this on Tuesday. However, as you’re reading this on Friday, I’m in California about to go to Disneyland! Haha!

This week, I thought I’d do something a little different, so my review is on Bugmenot!

What is it?

Bugmenot is a collaborative service that allows you to bypass registration for free websites, NYtimes.com being a prime example. Bugmenot also offers disposable email addresses, and a PDFmenot service to avoid opening up PDF files from websites. Bugmenot’s purpose is to ” quickly bypass the login of web sites that require compulsory registration and/or the collection of personal/demographic information,” believing that these restrictions are an invasion of privacy, and inconvenient to the user. Bugmenot does not try to bypass registration for pay-per-view sites, for community sites where a log in is required for editing but not viewing (such as Wikipedia), or for sites where there is a fraud risk, such as banking or commerce websites. Sites can be blocked from Bugmenot if they meet one or more of these conditions.

How does it work?

Not surprisingly, and refreshingly from my point of view, Bugmenot does not require you to register or create a profile of any sort to use. If you are browsing the web and come upon a website that requires you to register in order to view content, you can copy the url, paste it in the window at Bugmenot, and you will receive a pre-made, generic login and password that you can use to gain access to the website.

The registration information is submitted to Bugmenot by users – if, for example, you come across a website that is not already included in their database, Bugmenot encourages you to create a generic registration on the website and add it to the collection.

In order to avoid having to pop back and forth between the Bugmenot site and whatever you’re trying to access, Bugmenot also has a bookmarklet (for your web brower) or Firefox Extension.

Possible Library Uses

While I have no objection to registering for websites that I use regularly, or services that I pay for (naturally), it really is annoying to have to register just to read some free article.  While I don’t work at a reference desk, I can envision this as being useful when working with patrons – you wouldn’t have to use your own login, or wait for a patron to create one.

As for myself – I may start using a combination of Bugmenot and the email service when trying out sites for Talking Tech Friday.  If I discover I site that I’ll start using regularly (like maybe Animoto), I’ll create a real login.  Otherwise, I wind up with bunches of logins for websites that I never plan to visit again.

Any other suggestions?

Reviews

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~ by Anali on April 18, 2008.

2 Responses to “Talking Tech Friday – Bugmenot”

  1. I don’t think libraries anywhere can really use BugMeNot “legally” or “ethically” since often by creating an account you agree to a certain terms of use. However, BugMeNot IS one of my favorites for the exact reason why you are using it — trying out new sites and Internet services. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Well, I think you’re right in that we certainly wouldn’t want to bypass account creation for patrons on a regular basis. However, I still think it’s useful, and ethical to use it for one-time quick access to articles for patrons. If they then go and choose to use Bugmenot on their own, that’s their business.

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