Advertising on state websites

Dec 23, 2010

When you visit the Washington State Ferries website in 2011, you'll find something new:  banner advertising.   It's a one year pilot project.  The state is looking for new ways to increase revenue, and that could include advertising on its websites.

Paula Hammond, secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, says her agency is joining a handful of other government agencies around the country in testing the notion of selling ad space.

 “This could potentially generate new revenue at a time when it’s badly needed, as well as offer businesses a new way to reach potential customers.”

The project is funded with $75,000 from the Legislature.  Jeff Doyle, WSDOT's Public-Private Partnership Director, says the project includes these goals:

·         Test the revenue and cost assumptions on a small number of Web pages with high page views.

·         Confirm the level of demand from advertisers for display advertisement and sponsorships.

·         Evaluate the public’s perception and online experience navigating sites with advertising.

·         Work through technical and legal issues, including development of advertising guidelines and a rigorous review process.

·         Establish a sustainable business model if the decision is to move beyond a pilot project at ferries or expand it to other WSDOT pages.

Federal guidelines prohibit advertising on dot-gov websites, so the pages with banner ads will be converted to dot-com addresses.  Website visitors will automatically be redirected to the dot-com page.

During the pilot project, ads will be sold on the ferry schedule and ferry vessel watch web pages.  The advertising begins January 3rd.