The Null Device

Update your website or go to jail

I call bullshit on... the story about the New Zealand government fining a restaurant for not updating its website. Which all sounds like interventionism gone mad, except when you read the story and discover that the web site in question contained an outdated, inaccurate price list, and they got done for false advertising.

Since it happened, a big fuss has erupted on the internet, with mostly anti-interventionist libertarian types going on about the Big Brother socialist nanny-state poking its nose into what people do with their websites. Which sounds to me like the publicity that gets raised around ridiculous lawsuits (i.e., urban legends about toaster manufacturers being sued for millions of dollars for not having warning labels telling people not to use their toasters in the bath and such), much of which, I heard, is planted by lobby groups wanting corporate product-liability laws to be relaxed to make it harder for consumers to sue.

Similarly, here, I smell astroturf.

There are 2 comments on "Update your website or go to jail":

Posted by: gjw Wed Mar 9 00:18:41 2005

It does make sense, though, because this is frustrating, and very common with small businesses. When I worked at an ISP several years ago, when the internet was just starting to attract mainstream attention in Australia, we had countless businesses come in, pay for three years domain and hosting in advance, upload a catalogue, and never log in again. Many times I've viewed a local business's website and emailed them about a product to find (a) the listed email address no-longer exists (b) "Oh we haven't updated that website since 2001. That product isn't available anymore". When an ad is placed in a newspaper by a business, on the other hand, they're forced to issue corrections if there's any pricing errors.

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 9 08:50:22 2005

That may be so, but that doesn't make it good enough.