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How Website Registration is Like A First Date

By Cory Huff | Posted on March 18, 2013

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My good friend Michael is always telling me stories about his dating life. A consistent theme in his stories is the delicate dance between getting to know someone, and asking questions that might be perceived as creepy. He needs to know what he can talk about with these women, but he can’t ask for too much information up front, or women will be scared off.

Signing up for a new website is a little bit like dating. As a brand, you need to get enough information from the website visitor to make their experience pleasant and useful. If you ask for too much information, however, they click away, never to return.

Social login is a great way to make it easy for visitors to give you their information. You just need to make sure they know what information they are giving you, and what’s in it for them to give you that info.

You can start your relationship off right by following just a few easy, clear steps.

Be Clear About What You Want

Facebook has made it very easy to clearly delineate what permissions you are asking for, and why you want these permissions. In addition to lining up each permission in a bullet point, Facebook gives you the ability to show a custom message for the registrant.

This little-used feature of Facebook registration apps can make a difference in your relationship with your customers. Learn how to customize these fields here.

fb permission

Don’t Ask for Too Much Too Fast

Facebook supports the notion of progressive profiling. This means you can ask for a limited set of data up front to get the relationship started at registration and then later, when the relationship is ready, you can ask for additional information.

The key is to progressively ask for only the profile data you need, when it’s relevant to the action they want to take. This means you can ask for permission to share on their behalf when the user clicks a Share button, ask for movie interests when they join a ticket sweepstakes, or their friends’ info when its time to invite them to a party. Check out our detailed post on how to tackle progressive profiling, Don’t Be A Data Creeper.

What’s In It for Me?

Just because you know why people should register on your website, that doesn’t mean site visitors know. Lacking a clear call to action with associated benefits is one of the most common mistakes with online registration. Just like in dating, if you want something, you need to be clear about it.

Yamaha does a great job of this on their site, and offer both social login and registration with a Yamaha account identity to get the relationship started.


When the sign-in button is clicked, Yamaha clearly outlines the benefits of an information exchange.

As the web hurtles ever closer to dynamic, relationship based interactions, it is important for brands to become more engaging. Being clear about registration expectations and data exchanges is a small step in that direction.

What are some great permission screens that you have seen?

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About the author

Cory Huff

Cory Huff

Strategic Business Analyst

Cory Huff is a Strategic Business Analyst at Janrain. For the last five years, Cory has been helping clients build connections with their customers and create personalized marketing experiences with the social web. Working with customers like Universal Music, National Public Radio and MTV, Cory has led teams of marketers and sales people in a variety of initiatives.

View all posts by Cory Huff