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America Online Launches GovernmentGuide
Access America Sites Are Among the Top-rated Government Sites

America Online recently launched GovermentGuide, a new site that organizes hundreds of government agencies and more than 4,000 government web sites in a clear, easily-searchable and intuitive directory for consumers.

By combining a comprehensive guide to government web sites with new consumer-friendly features such as a one-stop complaint center, GovernmentGuide makes it simple for consumers to find and take advantage of the government resources, programs and services that can improve their daily lives.

The new site provides government agencies with important consumer feedback on how their services and communications could be improved. From reporting problems with children's cribs to figuring out how to pay for college, GovernmentGuide will direct consumers to the most useful Web-based resources within the government. Ann Brown, Chairman of U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, one of the agencies featured on the site, asked: "Is government confusing to you? Thanks to AOL, you can find out quickly if the toys and other things you buy are safe-and anything else you need to know from your federal government. I commend AOL for using the power of the Internet to benefit American families in this way." Key features of GovernmentGuide include:

  • Directory of Government Resources-GovernmentGuide offers consumers a comprehensive and easily-searchable directory of hundreds of government agencies and more than 4,000 government web sites.
  • One-Stop Complaint Center-GovernmentGuide users can immediately register their complaints with the appropriate federal agency about problems they've encountered with products or services.

Rate this Government Site-For the first time, users are able to rate each government site on a scale of one to five, telling other people how useful the sites are and offering government agencies valuable feedback to make their Web sites better. Site visitors are invited to rate each site on such criteria as whether the "content was helpful" and "worth my tax dollars." AOL's new GovernmentGuide site features Access America Online Magazine as a "top pick" on the "Officials and Agencies" page. Site visitors have also given 5-star ratings to Access America for Students, the General Service Administration's Consumer Information Center,and the Social Security Administration's Top 10 Services.

Ask the White House-This special feature gives visitors a virtual seat in the White House Press room. Users can submit questions directly to the White House press office, with the five "most asked" questions answered by the White House and posted online each week. Republican leaders will have the opportunity to respond as well.

Government Checklist-After answering a few questions, users get a personalized list of federal sites to help with important tasks such as paying for college, caring for an older parent, or getting a passport or visa.

Total Recall Center-Users can quickly scan the latest product recalls, helping them become more-informed consumers. Future services available on GovernmentGuide will include information on how to find government jobs or become a government vendor and a "Red Tape-O-Meter" that will enable business owners to quickly find out which federal regulations apply to their industry and to easily access those requirements.

GovernmentGuide also organizes state web sites and key offices at the state level, such as Departments of Motor Vehicles. As more state and local governments offer services online, America Online will expand GovernmentGuide so that citizens eventually will be able to use this new tool to interact with every institution of government from the smallest city hall to the biggest federal agency. GovernmentGuide is accessible through AOL Keyword: GovernmentGuide. CompuServe and Netscape will also carry GovernmentGuide.


Source: AOL press release, 12/6/99