Minister Eamonn Ryan’s Web Strategy

This really says it all. From the Minister with responsibility for IT:

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

broadband.gov.ie screenshot

MinisterRyanPhoto

Minister Eamonn Ryan TD

That is the official website of the Irish government for disseminating information about broadband to members of the public. As Minister Eamonn Ryan proudly states (in his welcome message on the old site courtesy of archive.org):

Broadband is an important tool for everybody in the 21st century

Couldn’t agree more Eamonn – glad you’re on the case!

According to figures released to Fine Gael Senator Paschal Donohoe in response to a parliamentary question, the broadband.gov.ie website received 67,694 unique visitors last year. It is a shame negligent incompetent to allow that amount of traffic to just die – as any web dude or even SEO snake-oil vendor knows you do not allow links to disappear, let alone a complete site!

So how much does this crock of shite cost you? Well Paschal Donohoe has it all (bear in mind that these are only running and maintenance costs):

Department of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
Websites Unique Visits 2009 Maintenance (not development) Cost (EUR) Notes (03/02/2010)
www.dcenr.gov.ie

116,286

79,914

Main website for Eamonn Ryans department
www.egovernance.ie

1,022

Mostly links back to the main department web site. The site itself is broken (try doing a search, see what happens when you click for help) or it has no content.
www.minex.ie

4,558

Dead – web site not found (DNS error)
www.broadband.gov.ie

67,694

“Web site under construction”. No content at all.
www.digitaltelevision.ie

23,082

Abandoned? Last press release was 24 July 2008 – 18 months ago!
www.explorationandmining.com

91

a “website (is) designed to provide an overview of the regulatory regimes governing the exploration and extraction of minerals in Ireland and Northern Ireland”.
According to their site map there are 6 (six!) pages of content plus a further 5 (“All Rights Reserved”, “Contact Us”, “Disclaimer”, “Privacy & Security” and “Sitemap”).
www.makeitsecure.ie

27,889

According to Eamonn Ryans welcome note and archive.org the last update was June 28, 2008. It also seems that much (all?) of this website was funded by commercial sponsorship too.
www.gsi.ie

44,538

The Geological Survey of Ireland. The copyright notice at the bottom says 2007, but archive.org says there was an update in February 2008.
www.gsishop.ie

5,530

A storefront for GSI publications. Links to the main site at http://www.gsi.ie/gsishop/, therefore was last updated in February 2008.
www.gsiseabed.ie

4,415

There’s a web site there, but no content (apart from the helpful word ‘index’). According to the latest archive.org snapshot I was able to get the site was last updated in August 2006.
www.planetearth.ie

7,817

Geological Survey of Ireland: “2008 was the International Year of Planet Earth. This website remains live in 2009 … to promote the role of earth science in society”. Given that statement I didn’t bother checking for the last update.
www.jetstream.gsi.ie

409

15,600

There’s a site there, but no content. According to Google, there were up to 180 pages there at one time or another – all of which seem to be still available. There are lots of pretty pictures and PDF maps there for your enjoyment. In the past year (the subject of the table) Google found just 26 pages.

So who is visiting these broken sites? And how should it cost so much to maintain sites that nobody visits? And why are so many of them unmaintained or broken?

Maybe you should go back and ask, Paschal – the only question I have is:

How do I get on this IT gravy train?

Update 12/02/2010:

Damian Mulley has a story of a €4 million government website on his blog – I’m too stunned to comment.

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