Using BugMeNot for Anonymous Registration

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Many websites, especially newspaper sites, require registration to read an article. Often they ask for your name, age, gender, and other personal information. They then send a confirmation email that is used to log on to the site. This means you must give them an email address that at least works for a short time.

To avoid this registration hassle, Firefox has an extension called BugMeNot, which consists of a large database saved at bugmenot.com (BugMeNot has moved from bugmenot.mozdev.org to http://www.bugmenot.com.)

After installing BugMeNot, go to a website that requires registration. In the box where you enter your username, right-click and select BugMeNot from the context menu. The BugMeNot extension queries the database at BugMeNot.com and enters a username and password. All that is left for you to do is press Enter or click Logon or whatever the site expects you to do.

Just How Much Information Is Okay?

Not everyone likes BugMeNot. Some sites feel it is their right to demand personal information, email addresses, and whatever else they want before allowing you access. Some of us don't agree, and virtually no one gives valid information to these sites. The whole concept of registering for a free site doesn't work. Remember: We are not talking about sites that want money to browse; all they want is your email address and some personal information.

However, some sites are firing back. If they find that a given username and password are in the BugMeNot database, they delete it.

BugMeNot can hold many usernames and passwords for any one site. Selecting one at random enables you to retry the database if the first supplied username and password don't work. (At one site I tried, it took me about six tries before I got one, but it was still much faster than registering!)


A typical website registration is shown in Figure 5.8. In this example, the website asks for the user's age, gender, address, phone number, and income. I don't know about you, but to me that is outrageous!

Figure 5.8. Just look what this website is asking for. Isn't this a bit personal? After all, we haven't even had our first date yet.


All in all, BugMeNot is an effective and useful tool. It is often faster than doing an "official" registration.

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    Firefox and Thunderbird. Beyond Browsing and Email
    Firefox and Thunderbird Garage
    ISBN: 0131870041
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2003
    Pages: 245

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