Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Marketing by State Governments.
Such a Shame!

Wouldn't you assume that a State Government website is there to serve the public?

Wouldn't you assume that if any entity understood its role of serving customers, it should be our elected officials who use our money to run their programs?

My colleague, Lou Washington, recently took the opportunity to visit the various Secretaries of State web pages in search of data related the companies we do business with. Here you have an office and function which is essentially the same in all 50 states. However, what you find is a great example of how people can misunderstand and hence, mis-use the internet for the conduct of business.

The information Lou looks for is typically under a heading titled CORPORATIONS. The very best sites display this on the opening page along with several other commonly requested subject areas. The worst sites open with an extensive biography of whatever political hack is occupying the office of Secretary of State for that particular State. They will have page after page of this person's personal history, family photos and perhaps some information about their athletic career at Northwest by Southeast State College of Interior Design and Horticulture.

The other major sin Lou identified with is the lengthy registration and especially the fee required database access. It is disheartening to plow through the pages of moosepoop discussed above, only find the this State requires that you set up and account a pay US$10.00 for every query you run against their businesses database.

Our governments have the opportunity to serve us and return to us some value for the taxes we pay ... and then they abuse the relationship.

As customers now control companies who sell them stuff, taxpayers surely should be in control of our public websites and make sure they are relevant to our needs. Time for a wakeup call.

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