Friday, September 02, 2005

COMBRIDGE POLICE

I’m still bemused every time I see the latest addition to our police cruisers: the Web site address CambridgePolice.com.

Dot-com?

Shouldn't that be dot-gov?

It’s a bit of a stretch, I suppose, but it makes the police sound like a business, which raises the specter of quotas on parking tickets and moving violations ... which means I’m not sure why it’s not WhiteHouse.com instead of WhiteHouse.gov, because this White House is sure as hell open for business.

4 comments:

wrecking_ball said...

It IS unintentionally (I hope) a comment on their commercial operations, but I think the more likely reason they've chosen that address is because inexpert Internet users tend to assume that ".com" is at the end of any web address. The city is assuming that their audience, seeing a .gov or .org address, would mis-remember it, type in .com, and not get to the right website. (Incidentally, www.cambridgepolice.org takes you to the same site.) Even for those of us who are top-notch web wranglers, our fingers get into the habit of automatically typing .com.

It's good marketing of the website, but not-so-good marketing of the police department to more Internet-savvy users who will comprehend more fully the irony of having a .com address. And I would imagine in Cambridge, of all places, the expert may outnumber the inexpert when it comes to web users. So, they've also perhaps failed to accurately understand their target audience.

I think this comment may actually be longer than the post.

Anonymous said...

Everybody stuck there is thinking they are the hub of the universe. Waht wouldn't make them a .com?

Scape7 said...

Thanks, Wrecking Ball. You make good sense.

I'm not sure what Anonymous means here, but — as Wrecking Ball explains — dot-coms denote COMmercialism, meaning intentions to separate you from your money or at least a business rather than a service or institution, things denoted by dot-orgs or dot-infos or what have you.

But, yes, the lines have certainly been blurred.

Brian Wanamaker said...

I tried accessing cambridgepolice.xxx, and it came up with some weird Village People stuff. What's that about? Their shop was pretty robust though.