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FirstGov.gov will soon become USA.gov

Update 1/18/2007 – Name change confirmed by GSA, new usa.gov site. See their reasons for the change.

Is there any truth to the rumor that FirstGov.gov will soon become USA.gov?

Tamara Thompson of PI Buzz posted Jan 5 2007 about a name change to FirstGov.gov.

In This Week in Public Records Tamara tells us that

The government Web portal for Georgia is announcing a name change for the federal government site Firstgov.gov, due January 11. The official Web portal of the U.S. government is changing its name — to USA.gov. FirstGov.gov will become USA.gov and FirstGov en español.gov will become GobiernoUSA.gov.

The State of Georgia’s e-government web site, georgia.gov confirms this story.

Why the name change? Even though FirstGov.gov gets more than 80 million visitors a year, its name recognition is very low. The name doesn’t intuitively tell you that this is the official U.S. Government site. It is cumbersome to say and difficult to remember. On the other hand, USA.gov clearly describes the site. USA is the term that most people around the world recognize for the United States – in fact, we already get about 600,000 visits a year from users who guess and type USA.gov into search engines. USA.gov is intuitive, simple and easy to remember.

Several years ago the ICGI Web Content Standards Working Group recommended renaming the web site, and it looks like this is about to become official.

While no announcements are posted on the FirstGov.gov web site, search results for USA.gov point directly to the FirstGov.gov web site, and it appears as if this rumor may be the real thing.