BugMeNot is an Internet service that provides usernames and passwords to let Internet users bypass mandatory free registration on websites. Started in August 2003 by an anonymous person, later revealed to be Guy King, it aims to allow Internet users to access websites that have registration walls (for instance, that of The New York Times) without the requirement of compulsory registration. This came in response to the increasing number of websites that request such registration. Many Internet users find this to be an annoyance at best and a potential source of spam e-mail at worst. BugMeNot itself used to parody these sentiments in its own fake registration form.
BugMeNot allows users of their service to add new accounts for sites with free registration. It also encourages users to use such fake e-mail account services as Mailinator and Spamgourmet to create such accounts. However, it does not allow them to add accounts for pay websites, as this could potentially put BugMeNot in legal trouble. BugMeNot also claims to remove accounts for any web site that requests that they do not provide accounts for non-registered users.
To help make access to their service easier, BugMeNot hosts a bookmarklet that can be used with any browser to automatically find a usable account from their service. They also host extensions for the web browsers Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer (the extensions were created by Eric Hamiter with Dmytri Kleiner and Dean Wilson, respectively). There are also other good uses for BugMeNot, in the form of a BugMeNot widget for Opera, or UserJS scripts along with buttons, which makes it fully browser integrated.
BugMeNot provides an option for site owners to block their site from the bugmenot database, if they match one or more of the follow criteria:
Wikipedia is an example of a site blocked from being used with BugMeNot under the first criterion.
No option is provided for users to request removing a block if a site ceases to meet the blocking criteria or has never met them in the first place.
The BugMeNot domain was transferred briefly to another hosting company, dissidenthosting.com, but before the site was set up, it began to redirect visitors to web pages belonging to racist and/or fascist groups, without the knowledge or consent of the site's owner. BugMeNot moved again, to NearlyFreeSpeech.NET. BugMeNot's move to this provider, which also hosts a number of highly controversial sites, prompted BugMeNot's creator to say, "Personally, I don't care if I'm sharing a server with neo-Nazis. I might not agree with what they have to say, but the whole thing about freedom of speech is that people are free to speak.