Tampa markets Web services

The Florida city of Tampa has launched a formal marketing campaign to increase awareness of the interactive applications available on its TampaGov Web site, and early figures show that the effort could double traffic by the end of the year.

Officials put the city's first transaction-based service onto the Web site in January 2001, and since then they have added about 20 interactive applications. About seven of them are e-business related and generated some $750,000 in fee-based revenue during 2001.

"At the end of the year we looked at the penetration rates on these applications and saw there was lots of viability for two or three of them," said Rick Smith, director of Tampa's planning and management department. "But we were doing nothing to get the word out to people about what they could do online."

In just the first few weeks since the mid-January announcement of the marketing campaign, the number of hits and page downloads on TampaGov (www.tampagov.net) has spiked significantly, Smith said. January saw almost 2.5 million hits, compared with an average of 1.5 million hits for previous months. Revenue generated by the site soared to $108,000.

If the January figures hold up, TampaGov could produce as much as $1.2 million in revenue for 2002, Smith said, and possibly as much as $1.5 million.

"We haven't found the 'killer app' yet, but people are clearly beginning to respond," he said.

In addition to the initial announcement and the publicity it has generated, the city will promote its TampaGov "brand" by printing the logo and Web address on official government stationery, running public service announcements on local cable channels, distributing informational brochures and putting "Surf the City" decals on new city vehicles.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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