This week the White House blog posted a message from Macon Phillips, the White House Director of New Media, titled “TooManyWebsites.gov”. This initiate is part of the Campaign to Cut Waste that the White House launched this week, quoting the President: “As President Obama has said, we can’t win the future with a government of the past.” Phillips estimates that as part of the over 2,000 top level domain sites, more than 24,000 subsites were developed over the last years to display government content.
In order to stop the “confusion and inefficiency” and make access easier for citizens, government received the mandate to avoid duplicates: “So the federal government will do more with less, improving how it delivers information and services to the public by reducing the number of websites it maintains. To help drive this change we’ve set a specific goal that over the next year, we’ll get rid of at least half of them.”
As part of this effort, all new .gov names are stopped and need to be directly approved by the federal CIO, who will first map out the existing landscape to see if a new site is necessary. Within a year the plan is to cut half of the federal websites.
This mandate has also sparked other concerns for me: What about agencies starting blogs or adding social media accounts to their online presence? Many of the third party social networking services providers are creating new URLs for a social media account. Do these URLs count toward the cut? Do the SNS need to find a way to allow for folding account URLs into the existing .gov domain names? Does this mean that the agencies and departments are no longer allowed to create new accounts and with that new URLs? Or are external URLs excluded from this effort?
Watch the update on the Accountability Government Initiative here: