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How Not To Build A Website

Posted by: Stacy Perman on August 26, 2008

There are few successful outfits that don’t have a website. Today having one is considered an almost indispensible tool for conducting, doing, and marketing one’s business. That is apparently except for the country of Italy. ItalyMap.gifAccording to today’s WSJ, the nation’s tourist board has spent some $66 million and five years building a web portal to attract tourists and boost the country’s global image. When it went live last February, the site was full of embarrassing gaffes such as proclaiming a typical seafood dish from the Marche coastal region as “pork with prunes,” a menu actually known to be popular farther east, much farther east, as in Poland (not to mention that pork has never been considered a variety of seafood).
Apparently one of the reasons floating about as to why the site has been such a disaster is the combination of too many people involved (and too many governments) in producing it as well as the staggering amount of money thrown at the project. There must be a lesson in here somehere…

Several government ministries — in two administrations — and each of Italy’s 20 regions were involved in creating the portal. Associations of travel agencies and hotel owners had their say as well, while the design and creation of the site was assigned to a consortium of three different companies. There was “no single guide telling us where to go with this,” says Luca Palamara, former managing editor of

Reader Comments


August 26, 2008 4:15 PM

The seafood dish, "pork with prunes", was just the start. The icing on the cake, so to speak, was the catchy slogan on the site's masthead, "Visit Italy this Spring or we'll break both your legs!"
I'll bet that got the phones ringing off the hook over at Alitalia.

wanda steele

August 26, 2008 5:03 PM

If a website is going to be created,it
should catch the people attention and
fullfil its purpose. Not to insult or lose intrest in ones business or advertisment.


August 26, 2008 5:48 PM

The costs of portal are wrongs.

You can read scandaloitaliano and MPB to find and know some official documents.


August 28, 2008 12:26 PM

you would be surprised to know how much money was wasted for this website. the translation to english was done with an automatic web software but on the costs it was declared that it was done by human translation at a much higher cost. this is Italy..don't come here for tourism , maybe in 50 years our dummies of the government will get it right.

Nodir Ruzmatov

August 28, 2008 4:57 PM

It's Marketing.... and Marketing costs money! But i wounder, how come they spent this much money... and still web site sucks...!?


September 3, 2008 2:42 AM

Nodir got the point :)

FYK, here you can find a (not updated) english version of the blog that started the scandal:

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