05/28 12:56
U.S. Made $3.6 Billion on Line in 2000, More Than
By Chris Dolmetsch
Washington, May 28 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. government sold more than $3.6 billion of products on the Internet in 2000, more than the $2.8 billion in sales that No. 1 online retailer Inc. reported for the same period, a study  found. Consumers bought items like wild mustangs and former Coast Guard-owned homes in Los Angeles from the Bureau of Land Management, 1940s Southern blues recordings from the Library of Congress and World War II ships from the General Services Administration, according to a report by Federal Computer Week and the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The government operates or supports at least 164 sites that sell something to the public, though the online efforts seem to be done ``in a haphazard fashion,''
the report says. The money raised by ``dot-gov'' Web sites isn't carefully tracked, and revenue is either deposited in the general fund or given back to the agency  involved to improve its Web site.

``We see some pretty elemental mistakes that would bankrupt a business if it were doing e-commerce the same way,'' Lee Rainie, director of the Pew Internet & American Life Project, said in a statement.

One of the problems encountered is that only a few sites offered consumers the choice to place an order on line, the study found. On many site, customers have
to either call in their order via telephone or download an order sheet and mail it in traditionally.

Another difficulty, the report said, is that the government doesn't hang ``for sale'' signs out to attract customers. Additionally, there is no single place of entry that
consolidates all the government's sales on line, the report said.

The Treasury Department's site sold the most goods, selling $3.3 billion in savings bonds, T-bills and notes. The Defense Department operates at least
eight sites selling items from toothpaste to Army trucks.

Seattle-based sells books, music, videotapes and other products.

PO Box 172
New Ipswich NH 03071
1 800 878 1965