Three Letters NASA Users Complain About

NASAWhy Do You Have to Type out 'www' to Get to our Website?, NASA

"It seems really simple - just three letters. But they seem to annoy some of our users, who have let us know: "Why do I have to type www.nasa.gov and not just nasa.gov? Don't you people even know the basics of running a web site?"

Marc's Note: I read this blog post and my jaw dropped. I've complained before that I didn't understand why I couldn't just type nasa.gov in any browser to get to NASA's web site. After all, technically it's a simple change to the domains Domain Name System (DNS) entry. Now I have the answer, NASA says it's an expensive move. Huh! Ok, sure NASA is a very popular web site. But changing the DNS entry so that queries typed in a browser as http://nasa.gov get redirected to http://www.nasa.gov shouldn't add prohibitive costs. No way.

The problem as I see it is that when NASA decided to start using Akamai to distribute it's traffic and when modifying NASA's DNS they only setup records with Akamai for www.nasa.gov. This then left the nasa.gov DNS records running on NASA's own DNS servers. Ok, so does NASA have only one itty bitty DNS server?? Can the equipment not handle the simple redirect query to Akamai's servers?

The fact that Brian, a good guy I might add, posted an update on NASA's blog indicates that enough people have complained.

He also stated "We are in the age of zero-sum budgets: when we spend money in one area, we don't spend it on another. In the last year we've been improving our on-demand video capability, optimizing our mobile site and expanding the reach of our live video via Ustream and smartphones. All of those things are increasing the reach of www.nasa.gov, probably more than the DNS fix would."

But I would say this, enough people complained to make you write a post on the topic. So what about the people who didn't complain and got an error message. How many of them didn't make it to the web site. How much lost traffic is there? Ok, for those who really wanted to find NASA they would then simply enter a search in their favourite search engine. Hopefully NASA will finish evaluating its plans soon and make this simple but effective change. After all if NASA Watch can do it, can't NASA?

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This page contains a single entry by Marc Boucher published on June 12, 2011 10:12 PM.

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