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Go.USA.gov: Create short .gov URLs

Michelle Chronister (U.S. General Services Administration)
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Internet users recognize .gov websites as trusted sources of official U.S. government information. The USA.gov team wanted to capitalize on this when using online services with character restrictions, but were unable to with existing URL shorteners like bit.ly and TinyURL. This prompted a collaboration across government and with the open source community to create Go.USA.gov, a government-only URL shortener.

This rapid fire presentation will explain what Go.USA.gov is, how it was developed using open source software, the benefits of the data it gathers across government, and how it saves taxpayer dollars by allowing agencies to benefit from the USA.gov cloud.

What is Go.USA.gov?

Go.USA.gov is a URL shortener that lets anyone with a government email address create short, trustworthy .gov URLs. This service only shortens .mil, .gov, .fed.us, and .si.edu URLs. Go.USA.gov also tracks the number of clicks each shortened URL receives.

How was it developed?

Go.USA.gov was developed by the U.S. General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and members of the Drupal community in only nine weeks. The decision to use open source software underscores the General Services Administration’s commitment to save taxpayer dollars by leveraging the talent and commitment of citizens and public servants across government.

How does it benefit government?

Go.USA.gov creates a better, more transparent user experience for people who interact with the government online. It also allows government to gauge users’ interests by gathering real-time data. As more agencies across all levels of government use Go.USA.gov, the more valuable that data will become. Go.USA.gov also takes advantage of USA.gov’s technological infrastructure to provide a scalable service that other agencies can adopt without having to develop a redundant service.

Photo of Michelle Chronister

Michelle Chronister

U.S. General Services Administration

Michelle Chronister is a Presidential Management Fellow in the Federal Citizen Information Center at the U.S. General Services Administration. She works as a web content manager for USA.gov.

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