[DNS] .gov.au query

[DNS] .gov.au query

From: Patrick Corliss <patrick§quad.net.au>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 23:14:59 +1000
Learn the art of self-promotion
By Tom Burton
Sydney Morning Herald
Wednesday 17 May 2000

Who is Australia's number one Web publisher? Ecorp, Microsoft, Yahoo, F2,
Telstra or News Interactive? Wrong on all counts.  Taking a corporatist
view - that is, who actually owns the sites, Australia's premier Web
publisher is the Commonwealth of Australia.

John Howard may not be your image of the trendy geek king.  But through
Canberra's majority ownership of Telstra, control of the ABC, and a series
of category leaders, the Federal Government easily outguns all the big
commercial Web publishers.

In Telstra's case, the White and Yellow pages generate the big traffic,
supported by its try-hard portal Telstra.com.  The ABC may have slipped in
the Web rankings, but still rates in the top 10 local Web publishers group.

And through its various agencies, the Commonwealth has a series of category
leaders in its own right.  These include the number one employment site,
jobsearch, its business support site, business.gov.au, and a series of
utility sites such as the Bureau of Meteorology site, the Australian Tax
Office site, the Bureau of Statistics site and the Australian Security and
Investment Commission site.

There may be some irony in the highly entrepreneurial Internet sector being
dominated by government, but if Canberra ever took the view to run its sites
as a network it would be a formidable competitor.

Indeed, if the entire dot.gov community - including State Governments and
agencies - got their act together they would give their much vaunted dot.com
brethren a run for their money.

Given they can't even agree on daylight saving that is unlikely, but the
point still remains valid: the government sector is a huge player in the
Internet space. It also suggests that governments need to better recognise
their sites as significant assets. Starting with how they manage their site
addresses, otherwise known as URLs.

The URL is the brand and needs to be treated accordingly. Building brand
loyalty means taking a consistent view about the URL. Yet many government
sites suffer from a multiplicity of sub domains and sub-directories.

The tax reform site for the introduction of the GST is a good example. The
site is housed at taxreform.ato.gov.au. However, tax reform will come and
go, so there is little point in branding a reform site separately from the
permanent brand, in this case the Australian Tax Office site. In the
commercial sector the practice would be to promote the mother URL,
ato.gov.au, rather than confuse people with a long-winded URL which few will
remember and which will have no legacy in terms of traffic afterwards.

The same mistake is evident with the swimming trials now at the Olympic
centre. The official site is being housed within Telstra.com. But the
signage which is being promoted is swimtrials.telstra.com. As part of a mass
marketing campaign it suffers from the obvious problem of being far too long
to be picked up in television and other mediums. And as a brand it also dies
when the event is over. Which means an awful lot of brand opportunity has
been lost once the event is over.

And even the Federal Government's media company, the ABC, falls into the
same trap.

One of the ABC's assets is its ability to use its broadcast outlets to
market its site. Yet constantly the URL being promoted is a sub-directory.
The Sydney metro radio outlet, 702 (aka 2BL) has been known to promote
abc.net.au/local/sydney as its URL.

Tom Burton is the online editor of smh.com.au. He holds Telstra and Fairfax

Source:    Sydney Morning Herald Wed 17 May 2000

Patrick Corliss
Received on Wed May 17 2000 - 21:12:50 UTC

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