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The websites nobody wants (08 Dec 2005)
Government websites usually become famous for being too popular. Last month, for example, the Most Wanted website (www.crimestoppers-uk.org/wanted), assembled by police forces and hosted by the charity Crimestoppers, was overwhelmed by demand on its launch day. In January, a surge of people filing last-minute tax returns online crippled the Inland Revenue's site. And in 2002, the Public Records Office shut the 1901 Census website (www.census.pro.gov.uk) for 10 months after being swamped by more visitors in an hour than had been expected per day.
While such incidents receive a huge amount of attention - the census website failure is the subject of a 36-page report by the National Audit Office - they are not typical. Instead, there is a vast hinterland of taxpayer-funded public service sites sitting virtually unnoticed in cyberspace. A recent series of parliamentary questions reveals that one government site had just 77 unique visitors last year; several others only a few hundred. And to top it all, no one knows how much they cost to run.
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Article URL: http://technology.guardian.co.uk/weekly/story/0,16376,1660754,00.html

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