Corporate websites often make available white-papers, articles, or other content-related materials pertaining to the company's area of expertise.
While this pattern is consistent, the methods of access to such materials appears to differ. One site will force you to register before you can access the content, while another will allow you to simply download the .pdf or access the web page article.
By forcing a user to register, the company can ask for and obtain information such as phone #'s or other items valuable to a marketing dept.
By registering, the user gains access to the otherwise inaccessible content.
But...is this really a win for both parties?
Whenever I come across this scenario as the "user", my immediate reaction is: sorry, I don't like how you're requiring me to give you all this information just so I can download a whitepaper; unless it's mission critical, I'll just skip this registration form and content, thank you very much.
I can understand how a person would fill out a registration form if the person is signing up to join an online forum or to make an online purchase, but to just download an article, whitepaper, or quasi-marketing content?
Perhaps this is too narrow of a field, but do you know of any best practice or usability studies within this specific context of user registration?