Stupid registration forms

This morning, I was trying to download a white paper that I have been told about in an email. The web site required me to enter all kinds of personal information, inclusing address and company data. Being a US site, it also required me to select my state. Does it ever occur to US web designers that there are countries that can’t be categorized under one of the US states?

Being annoyed by their insistence (they pointed me to wrongly formatted phone numbers and area codes until I set the country to “Angola”), I entered all kind of random data.

So in the end, all they got was false data (though the email address was correct) that they’ll have to manually sort out, should they ever chose to act upon it. Yes, I know that as a kind of “payment” for the white paper, I “owe” them that information.

I’m even prepared to give it to them. I’m just not willing to struggle with complex web forms with lots of JavaScript that want to make me use their special kind of formatting. I guess that falls into Doc Searls’s TheirDentity category. There should be a simple way to provide that, ideally a browser plugin that just fills the respective fields.

Oh yes, and a suggestion to web designers: provide a download link for people that don’t want to give out that kind of personal information. If you force them and they provide false data, it’s gonna be more expensive to filter that out later than it’s worth.