The following BBC sub-sites and directories are due to close as part of Erik Huggers review:
While this may seem rather silly and come across as fairly scathing of the BBC, I think the broadcaster does a remarkable job and wish it a long and healthy life.
But the list of BBC websites to be closed makes it clear that there’s a bizarre lack of direction to a lot of the BBC’s online resources and overall strategy.
Why else would there be top-level directories for /thesummerofbritishfilm, whatever that is, or /abolition?
What are /tvmoments? Was a season on what it’s like to be white in Britain worth the url bbc.co.uk/white?
And there are some peculiar wide-ranging sub-directories like /chinesefoodmadeeasy and /zombies and /britain that smack of the land-grab instincts of the BBC’s digital empire.
In fairness, any self-respecting web ed would have been packing a traffic-heavy site like bbc.co.uk – that can wield enormous Page Rank – with top-level directories to hoover up traffic everywhere.
But that’s exactly what the BBC cannot afford to do – with hungry, worried commercial rivals looking jealously at the Beeb’s enormous online clout and crying foul.
While it’s sensible to rationalise these sprawling empires into a more straightforward navigational – and organisational – structure, the plans for BBC Online do not seem to recognise the value of some areas, and how they help fulfil the BBC remit, rather than detract from it.
Why, for example, should 6Music or Radio7 not have their own websites? And what’s wrong with the BBC having pages and sections for programmes it makes? Certainly they need to be correctly classified, but why give up web traffic for queries on BBC programmes to commercial rivals?
Why shouldn’t local sites use non-news content? Who else does (apart from SevenStreets in Liverpool, obv) beyond the piecemeal press-release based local newspapers? Why should the BBC generate 22 million external referrals a year? The BBC doesn’t advertise what’s on on ITV or Sky1 on its schedules.
Beyond the that, disposing of the Douglas Adams memorial h2g2 is sad. Certainly, it’s hard to see why the BBC should own it. But the BBC is a fairly bonkers organisation, why shouldn’t it? Little details like that are what makes the BBC the BBC – a (de facto) state organisation that engenders enormous trust and fondness among Brits.
The BBC certainly seems to have its problems, and it needs to be very careful of expanding into areas where it will clash directly with commercial rivals (that’s you, Lonely Planet). Then again, austerity and cuts for their own sake seem to be de rigeur these days.
Maybe the Beeb needs to look up bbc.co.uk/hairshirt.