Ohio takes a commercial break

Ohio is one of the states that is considering allowing advertisements on its Web sites. But judgment is being reserved until these and other concerns are addressed:

* Possible privacy abuses when a user clicks on a Web advertisement.

* Lack of accepted public-sector standards and guidelines regarding "best practices" in Web advertising.

* Possible impairment of the state's Web site performance or creation of confusing Web sites.

* Erosion of customer confidence — people may believe that state services or information are controlled by or associated with the advertiser directly or indirectly.

* Apparent endorsement of a business or product by the state or an agency.

* Inability to redirect visitors back to the state Web site from an advertiser's site, and the possibility of visitors being directed to problematic sites.

* Impact on revenue allocation, including implications for agencies receiving federal funds.

* Cost, including the potentially high risk for litigation over Web advertisements.

For a copy of Ohio's policy, go to www.state.oh.us/das/dcs/opp/pdfs_policy/opp-035.pdf to download a file in Portable Document Format.

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