A shining example of how to launch a web site - and how not to - have surfaced this week.
Yesterday the National Archives and findmypast.com launched an online version of the 1911 census. The site contains the records of 27 million people, including famous figures such as Virginia Woolf and future Prime Minister David Lloyd George, with a further nine million due to be added in the coming months.
The web site attracted millions of visitors in its first hours of going online, but the launch was a success. Sneak visited the site a few times throughout the day to see if it stayed up and running and was able to access the census records and carry out searches on each occasion.
The launch of the 1911 census was in stark contrast to the online launch of the 1901 version. Sneak remembers trying to access the 1901 census site on the day it went live back in 2002, and for days after, with no success at all. In fact, the site was taken down soon after its launch because it could not cope with the unexpected high demand. The National Archives clearly learned a lesson from past mistakes and put in safeguards this time around to ensure that the 1911 site coped with the demand.
The Queensland tourism agency could have benefited from some tips from the National Archives web site team ahead of launching its latest initiative.
Dubbed the "Best Job in the World", Tourism Queensland is offering one lucky applicant an AUD $150,000 (£68,000) contract to live on Hamilton Island for six months and report back on their experiences via blogs and video links, in a bid to entice other visitors to Queensland and its surrounding islands.
The web site set up to support the recruitment process received 200,000 visitors in the first 24 hours of going live, but it could not cope with the huge demand and the site was still down when Sneak last tried to access it this afternoon.
Queensland tourism minister Desley Boyle was keen to point out that this was a genuine recruitment process for an important job:
"He or she will be required to live in an oceanfront villa, undertake a range of activities such as swimming, snorkelling, bushwalking and exploring the islands of the Great Barrier Reef," she said. "They'll need to make friends with the locals and really get to know the destination and then report back on their experiences via blogs, video diaries and media interviews."
Yeah, sounds like a really tough life.
For any vnunet.com readers keen on a career change from IT professional to beach bum, the application process is open until 22 February and full details are available on the Island Reef web site.
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