Martin Probst's weblog

Registration process from hell

Thursday, December 8, 2005, 23:02 — 0 comments Edit

I just had to sign up for a new ICQ account, as my old account somehow got lost. I suspect someone took it over as the password was weak, but who knows. I have not used any ICQ product beyond the network service for over 8 years, using various other clients as ICQ itself is just too much of a torture. I just got reminded how awful ICQ can be on their website.

First of all, all of their websites contain at least 3 blinking, jumping and sometimes sounding flash ads. Apparently they don’t care if potential customers die of an epileptic shock before finishing registration. Then the website contains incredible amounts of garbage, but nowhere are the things people actually might want to do: get an ICQ number, login to an account on the webpage.

After finding the registration form, you’ll first be surprised that “only” a nick, an email address and security related stuff are needed. Of course they have a captcha. After filling out the page, it returns, stating the password must be 6-8 characters and may include some special chars. I re-filled out the page with password and captcha three times until I realised that they actually limit passwords to 8 characters. Everything else would be too secure or what?

The answers to the special questions also give pain - again, at least 6 characters. What if my answers are shorter? Plus, why do I actually need this, if I have an email address to come back to? It’s not as if I’d forget my email address but remember a 10 digit number … and everytime you type something wrong at that page, you have another chance at the captcha plus reentering your password twice.

If a company has been doing online-stuff since well over 10 years, how did they manage to learn nothing about how to do it right? Just a tiny bit better than the average PHP coding “my homepage” guy?

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