How To Completely Piss Off The Public


First, be a public agency. One funded by public money and responsible for public information, services and monies. Ensure your organization is in a position of power and authority over the lives of said public, making the public therefore dependent upon you and your information to accomplish required tasks or duties.

Then, and this is vital, make sure your extensive labyrinth of a website is navel-gazing at its bureaucratic best. DO NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to organize information based on how the users, the pitiful plebs who are the public, might actually search for it. Don’t employ breadcrumbs or other visual navigational cues. Don’t seek to put the user, the customer, the public, the reason you exist at all, first in your decision-making process.

You should end up with something like this:

Try to make the navigation choice that the public actually wants, “Where To File,” ambiguous. Do they mean physically where to go to file? Do they mean where to mail my return once it’s done? Do they mean where to go to find someone to help me file or prepare my return? Keeping them guessing keeps them on your site longer.

Don’t bother, ever, to do anything as mundane as looking at common search terms or phrases and checking to see if your site’s content matches them or delivers the information the public is seeking. After all, mystery is the heart of any good romance between a governmental agency and the public it “serves” (air bunnies on purpose there).

Your goal? End up with top Google searches serving results like this:


Note the first organic result is from 2009. And the only result from the IRS, our agency in question here, is not applicable. With quotes, “Where do I mail my tax return” and without the year in the search still nets a first page without a single IRS result.

So if you, too, want to completely piss off the public (or your public in particular), it’s simple. Be like the IRS. After all, Honeybadger don’t care about the public.



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One Response to “How To Completely Piss Off The Public”

  1. Dean June 12, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Hi Mandy,

    Was just reading on Mack’s site and thought I’d pop over and say “hi!”

    I think the most hilarious facet of the whole bureaucratic navel-gazing paradigm is that we are sending THEM money…not asking for it. Ironically, it makes no difference. Give or take, you get the same non-plused, vacant stare 🙂


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