Zone38 Presents...
Letters to the World

18-Nov-2004

The Internet is not US-centric!

Filed under: General — codeman38 @ 12:42 pm

I had considered sending a link to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s “Vent” column to some Canadian LiveJournal users, but as I looked at the AJC’s ridiculously intrusive mandatory registration, I realized that its intrusiveness (which I’ve discussed at length before) is not its only fault.

Let me present a screenshot of the section in question:

[Screenshot of AJC registration form]

Notice anything missing? Like, say, an option to select what country you live in? Well, that’s not a good start… just because your paper is published in the US doesn’t mean all your potential readers live there. Heck, when there’s a weekly section titled “Atlanta & the World”, it might be a good idea to, I don’t know, make your site accessible to the whole world.

So, on a hunch, I tried entering an address with a Canadian postal code, in the format A9A 9A9 (leaving several of the later fields blank, so that the registration still wouldn’t go through). Of course, the postal code was rejected, with the response that you had to enter a five-digit number in the field. Entering 00000, of course, caused the error to go away. There’s also the fact that you have to select a US state; I suppose you *could* theoretically pick Georgia, though “Toronto, Georgia” just doesn’t sound right. 🙂

And it’s even worse for Aussies and Brits; in addition to the postal code and state problem (yes, I know, Australia has states, but none of them are listed in the drop-down menu!), the form only accepts ten-digit phone numbers as well.

If the Interface Hall of Shame were still being updated, this would definitely be a worthy candidate for the “globalization” wing…

Edited 2004/11/29 to add: Finally got a response from AJC. Here it is:

Thank you for contacting The Atlanta Journal Constitution. We appreciate your interest in our paper and embrace the opportunity to better serve our valued customers.

We understand that you have been unable to complete the registration process due to a foreign zip code error. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please complete your registration by entering the state of GA and using “44444” in the zip code field and submit. You may also use 444-444-4444 as the phone number. Once you have confirmed your registration, you will have full access to ajc.com online. Again, we apologize for this inconvenience.

So there you have it.

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