Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Think? Again?

Watching TV in the hotel last night - ok, I was bored - there was an anti-drink driving ad. At the end, I could have sworn I saw the tag "www.think.dtlr.gov.uk" on the screen. I thought dtlr went the way of the dodo 3 or 4 years ago. But, if you use that URL, you do indeed get to the right place which is actually, www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk. If there's a redirect, why not put the right URL in place given that you're paying for brand time as much as the campaign? Why use an address that died a long time ago for a brand that no-one remembers or cares about? Why use a double parameter address rather than just the simpler "www.think.gov.uk" - which is a pure 404? Why not, dare I ask, use www.direct.gov.uk/think? Oddly, that last address provides the message:
We are currently experiencing technical difficulties on the Directgov website but expect normal service to be restored very shortly. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused and try again later.
The rest of directgov is fine, so this must be just a 404-type problem. I went to directgov and, out of interest, put "think" into the search box. It's a topical campaign, in the run up the Christmas period so you'd imagine it would get attention now. The top items are: 1) Rethink - for an organisation dealing with mental illness 2) RU thinking about IT - which is not about IT, but about safe sex (!) 3) Think u Know - about Internet safety for children 4) Viewing a property you are thinking about buying 5) Benefit cheats told to "think twice" No. 7 is a link to a newsroom story about the Think! campaign which carries a link to the main site.

3 comments:

  1. I agree. The URL madness is getting out of control. Someone should lay down some sensible guidelines.

    My favourite example is Brighton & Hove council who run...

    http://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk
    http://www.citylibraries.info
    http://www.citytransport.org.uk
    http://www.citystats.org

    It's completely random and the URLs are absurd.

    It should be direct.gov.uk/think for the TV campaign you mention and brighton-hove.gov.uk/libraries or /transport respectively and so on.

    As for the directgov search results, the problem is probably due to equal weighting being given to words appearing in the page title as the page content.

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  2. Anonymous10:30 pm

    Yes, indeed.

    But it's chicken and egg really - until there's wider public awareness of Directgov, departments (who hold the campaign budgets) won't trust it as their campaign response mechanism. But until departments start using it more in their campaigns (or there's a major advertising campaign for DG) then public awareness won't develop.

    Hey ho.

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  3. Directionlessgov.com gets it first time, of course.

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