Campaign against duplicative websites not polling well

You would think that no one would take issue with the idea of getting rid of duplicative government websites.

At present, the federal government manages approximately 2,000 top-level Internet domains and close to 24,000 individual websites. The administration’s goal is to shut down or consolidate 25 percent of the government's sites in the next few months and cut the number of domains by 1,000 in the next year.

The idea, part of the Obama administration’s new Campaign to Cut Waste, might look good on paper. But in the larger context of the current budget crisis, the initiative struck many readers as a bit odd, if not laughable. Here is what they had to say. Comments have been edited for length, clarity and style.

Makes sense to me

Long overdue, but I'll believe it when I see it. Why do [the General Services Administration] and [the Defense Department] need buying portals that basically duplicate each other? Why does the federal government need…10 (last time I counted) websites about how to buy surplus property? (And most of them barely mention each other.) Why are there multiple websites for multiple Computers for Learning programs? I'm sure there are similar examples for all the government housekeeping functions.
— Anonymous

One step forward…

At my agency, we are beginning to consolidate lots of "vanity" URL websites into one main website with each former "vanity" area as a subsection. The actual CPU utilization should be about the same, but the number of individual servers to maintain will decrease. But the bosses will think of some way to reuse those Windows servers. They cannot give up their Windows systems.
— SOTE Contractor

I'm amazed. The first three years we were told to make operations more transparent, now we have to vacate the Web. Logical? I'm sure there are duplicate sources for information, but to tout the Recovery Act experience with its labor-intensive, manual data pull and thousands of hours of government labor to produce phony numbers is a joke. Let's set up an elaborate tracking infrastructure to account for the thimbleful of money the feds spend on the Web and proclaim us all "efficiency warriors."
— WB

Oh, the bureaucracy

While it's admirable that the administration is going after…misspent dollars such as duplicative websites, in the current bloated federal government debate, I hear nothing about the real reason that federal expenditures are out of control. To a large extent, the underlying cause is all the bloated laws and regulations that require a huge workforce (both government and contractors) to manage them.
— Larry George

Looks like they spend more on boards [and] committees than they save.
— Horsecop

Let's hope that all the agencies with eliminated websites don’t turn around and start printing hundreds of thousands of paper pamphlets and other mailings that will cost millions more to print and mail than websites do.
— Joe in NYC

About the Author

John S. Monroe is the editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Mon, Jul 11, 2011

2000 top level domains? There aren't that many top level domains on the entire Internet. The only top level domains the government has are .gov, .mil and .us. A domain name such as ssa.gov is not a top level domain. Get your terminology right.

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