Even more baffling was that even after creating a new login and logging in, the LA Times still didn't show me the article I was looking for, instead they just gave me an error message saying that the article couldn't be found. This seems like the essence of sleazy web design: forcing a user to register before telling them that the content they're looking for doesn't exist.
Here's an example of what they're doing to some of their new users:
Let's say a user is looking for information on the recent California budget. The user googles for articles on the 2005 California budget in the LA Times, and finds a few articles of interest.
However, some of the articles, such as an interesting-looking article from Feb. 8 talking about the GOP and the state budget (the second purple link in the image above), bring the user to a page asking them to register:
Assuming the user doesn't have a login, they have to go through the LA Times's full registration process, which asks for the following information:
After the user has confirmed their e-mail (by following a link the LA Times sends them) and logged in, the LA Times boots the user to the Times's homepage, which is useless if the user is trying to get to the article they had googled for. Now that the user has logged in, following the Google search link gets them the following screen:
So, the LA Times forced the user to hand over lots of (very accurate, I'm sure) personal information, and never once bothered to tell the user that the page they were looking for wasn't available anymore.