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White House Freezes Creation of New Federal Websites, Aims to Shutter Unnecessary .Govs

Photo: PinkShot

The White House is freezing the number of new federal websites — .gov domains — to cull the bloated roster of often unnecessary government websites as part of an effort to cut government waste.

There are nearly 2,000 top-level, federal .gov domains, a new White House blog post points out, with smaller sub-sites and microsites adding up to an estimated 24,000 websites “of varying purpose, design, navigation, usability and accessibility.”

And “[w]hile many government website … each deliver value to the taxpayer through easy-to-use services and information, an overall online landscape of literally thousands of websites — each focusing on a specific topic or organization — can create confusion and inefficiency,” the post adds.

Jeffrey Zients, a deputy director of in the Office of Management and Budget and the federal government’s chief performance officer, inked a memo yesterday that also takes on the proliferation of .govs  as part of efforts to improve the government’s customer service.

Zients’ memo directs the heads of federal agencies and departments to:

  • “Stop the bleeding,” by freezing all .gov URLs immediately. “This means no one can get a new one without a written waiver from the federal CIO, Vivek Kundra.”
  • “Map out the current landscape,” by requiring agencies to report on all URLs they maintain. In addition, over the next 30 days, a list of all registered .gov domains will be published to allow the public to evaluate so that you can pore over them yourself and offer feedback.
  • “Develop a governmentwide website policy” to determine a “practical solution” for government websites.

President Barack Obama first assailed the often loopy federal websites in a video announcing the administration’s new waste-cutting initiatives, known as the Campaign to Cut Government Waste.

Speaking of a federal website devoted to the musical ambitions of a group of forest rangers known as the Fiddlin’ Foresters, Obama said, “I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their website.”

That website appears to have have already been shuttered.

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