Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Web Boost? Not likely.

In the city section of the Globe today, there's an article headlined Web boost for Bay State firms unveiled, with the subhead "Romney sets link to create new jobs". The first thing I thought of, being someone who is both cynical and web-savvy was an image of Governor Romney hard at work on a computer, trying to figure out how to add a hyperlink on a web page, and then issuing a press release when he finally did. Reading the article, though, it turns out that this is pretty much what happened, except, probably for Romney's personal involvement. The administration unveiled the Massachusetts Business Connect, which is billed as an effort to "link leading companies around the globe with Massachusetts technology firms, colleges and universities, and other institutions willing and able to carry out lucrative and sophisticated research and development contracts."

If you go to the website, though, all that you'll find is a logo, a link to a press release and a link to a comment form. How exactly is that a "web boost"? At least we have these assurances:

Romney acknowledged yesterday that the Massachusetts Business Connect website at alone will not significantly boost job production.
No kidding. Look, I've worked on business-to-business web projects, and if all we did was put up a press release and a contact form, our company would have gone bust long before the Internet bubble burst. A effort for the state to connect businesses is a good idea, but don't pretend it's a web-based initiative if it's mostly happening offline. Either the Globe got it wrong, or the Romney administration is trying to hype up something that they don't plan to follow through on. These days it's hard to know which is more likely.