UK Government Advertising on Google

The UK Government has bought Adwords on Google in order to encourage more traffic to its web portal. The site was launched in March this year, but rather like the Millennium Dome, visitor numbers have been disappointing. 589,000 visitors came to the site in July, up from 471,500 in June.

The government is currently focussing on families, the disabled and motorists and has bought up key words in those categories. Ads only need to be paid for it they are clicked on.

Naturally, since I like to pick holes in everything, I thought I’d visit Google and find out what focussed and informative my income tax had purchased. Searches for NHS, Blair, “UK government services” and even WMD did not prompt Google to fling up an advert for Directgov. Sure enough though, when I searched for “directgov”, I got an ad.

The Directgov site offers a wide range of services, from applying for a pension credit to reporting a crime, if visitor numbers are low, then it’s because people don’t know the site is there and what it can do.


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Fraser Lovatt

Fraser Lovatt has spent the last fifteen years working in publishing, TV and the Internet in various capacities, and believes that they will be seperate platforms for at least a while yet. His main interests at the moment are exploring where Linux is taking home entertainment and how technology is conferring technical skills on more and more people. Fraser Lovatt was born in the same year that 2001: A Space Odyssey was delighting and confusing people in the cinemas, and developed a lifelong love of technology as soon as he realised that things could be taken apart, sometimes put back together again, but mostly left in bits or made into something the original designer hadn't quite planned upon. At school he was definitely in the ZX Spectrum/Magpie/BMX camp, rather than the BBC Micro/Blue Peter/well-behaved group. This is all deeply ironic as he later went on to spend nine years working at the BBC. After a few years of working as a bookseller in Scotland, ("Back when it was actually a skilled profession" he'll tell anyone still listening), he moved to England for reasons he can't quite explain adequately to himself. After a couple of publishing jobs punctuated by sporadic bursts of travelling and photography came the aforementioned nine years at the BBC where he specialised in internet technologies and video. These days his primary interests are Java, Linux, videogames and pies - and if they're not candidates for convergence, then what is?