back to article DoH splurges £2.72m on Adwords

The Department of Health has been promoting its online services through the use of the Google Adwords bidding systems. Health minister Phil Hope said that the department spent £2,720,457.11 between 1 February 2009 and 31 January 2010, running 21,939 active search terms on Google's Adwords service, through which users bid for …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This expense is nonsense

    13000 surgeries and out-patients at £200/place would, I suspect, give a much "better" contact result. But I'm no adman, health admin or doctor so what would I know??

  2. Tom 7 Silver badge



  3. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    As publicly funded service.

    It shouldn't be spending a penny on advertising.

    No doubt, those responsible thought they were being "cool" by doign this.

  4. Al fazed

    Well spent

    not an ounce of common sense left in da House.

    SEO = £2,720,457.11 per annum for just one UK Go Vermin department !

    And just how many departments are there ?

    Talk about a spending spree in the middle of a recession.

    We at least, can take a good guess at which IT specialists were not employed on this project. Good old cut backs.

    F*ck me, if they had a Google account they could have got just as good a service (if not better) for nuffin'. But then, they aren't in the business of knowing stuff, are they ?

    All they needed was to stick Google Checkout on their pages and they could earn free AddWords everytime some numchaka uses the Google cart !


  5. Gulfie

    They'd only meant to spend 20k

    but Adwords stepped in and found all sorts of ways to advertise.

    I've just ripped all the Google code out of my one site that ran adverts. It's spent the last few days advertising pillows and diet pills, FFS. On a motorsports web site.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      @ Gulfie

      Pillows and diet pills on a motorsports web site?

      It must think your visitors are fat lazy people that collapse in a heap in front of the telly to watch the cars go around and around and around...

  6. Sceptical Bastard


    Quote: "The Department for Work and Pensions said such information could only be provided at disproportionate cost."

    I wonder if the cost of supplying information is as 'disproportionate ' as the £2.72m their sister* department spent with Google? And I wonder how effectively that 'combination of robust techniques' establishes the actual real life benefits of that spend?

    I'm not sure if rank-chasing and SEO is what I want the Dept of Health to spend my tax on. I think, on balance, I'd prefer it to go to doctors and nurses. Well, nurses anyway ...

    * 'Sister' because the two departments used to be united in the former Dept of Health and Social Security (DHSS).

  7. MJI Silver badge


    Why are they wasting OUR tax money on advertising on the internet?

    I think the people responsible should have to pay this out of their own pocket!

  8. some vaguely opinionated bloke

    Timely action?

    "The department... estimates that 10,000 more people have got early access to care as a result of its Act FAST campaign"

    "Oh noes, face has fallen on one side... Must get on Google and search for "stroke" to see what to do next... oops, safe search is off..."

  9. Isendel Steel

    WTF ?

    and to echo the prevailing sentiment - wouldn't this have been better spent actually on the Health Service provision (do the Daily Mail know ?)

  10. H2Nick

    Nurse !

    What's £2.7 million in these affluent times.

    They must be, as barely a day goes by without another politician "making a commitment" on how He/She will spend billions.

    Actually I spose we should count ourselves lucky they didn't commision some IT.

    If they'd done that it would be £2.7 billion instead of million

  11. Dr Richard

    And the ad trigger words were ...

    clinical WASTE

    department OF health

    not worth the MONEY

  12. Anonymous Coward


    It is about time this government who must take responsibility, stopped accepting lobbying 'bribes' and started employing honest IT Specialists who make IT choices which are decided on fact and not fantasy or back of the pocket banquets on yachts.

    Two words to describe a lot of this governments ministers.

    Corrupt Incompetents.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Adwords v SEO

    I have just searched google on 'stop smoking help' - without the quotes.

    Top ad spot goes to

    NHS Go Smokefree Vist NHS Smokefree & order your free NHS Smokefree Quit Kit today.

    Top SERPs positions go to

    Stop Smoking - Advice to help you quit smoking - SmokeFree

    Free stop smoking support and advice from the NHS as well as videos from real quitters about their experiences and what helped them quit smoking. - Cached - Similar

    NHS Stop Smoking Help and Support - Options - SmokeFree

    Learn about local NHS stop smoking services, how to get support at home, ...

    Stop smoking start living - Online materials

    Help Somebody Else You Care About To Stop Smoking ...

    More results from »

    The more results then provides 944 additional pages all ranking on the phrase 'stop smoking help'

    Now, here are the questions?

    Who (other than an idiot) pays for ads when they have the top 3 positions in the SERPs - plus another 900 pages waiting in the wings in case one of those pages stops ranking?

    Anyone fancy putting in a FoI request for how much is has cost to produce those 900 pages all about 'stop smoking'?

    If it was £2m on the adverts then it must have been £20m on the pages - and that is only one search term.

    Just checked the SERPs for with no country data (other than the corruption which Google thinks I need because of IP address) and the NHS site comes out on top of at #4.

    It would not be too difficult to spend a lot of money on fonts. The question has to be, Why? There is no point whatsoever in producing a website with specific fonts if I don't have those fonts available to my browser. And, if I have set Tahoma as by default font it does not matter what font the NHS want me to see, I am still going to get everything in the font I want to see. Interesting style sheet, standard fonts for most PCs:

    h1 { font-family: Trebuchet MS, Helvetica, sans-serif;

    Other things in the style sheet are much more interesting:

    iframe { position: absolute; left: -9999px; }

    Makes me wonder what they are hiding in addition to the google profiling scripts that they host on every page. No way I would ever interact with that website, not even if they have spent my taxes for the benefit of the shareholders of a data mining company.

    A quick look at the browser logs reveal that the only reason the NHS is spending money with Google is so that my visit can be passed over to other data mining companies: doubleclick, adviva, readingroom, cetrk - more (sub)domains to add to my hosts file.

    That website is enough to make me SICK.

    With behaviour like this from the overlords it makes me wonder why our doctors and nursing staff are not leaving the country to find jobs where money is spent on healthcare and their wages rather than gifting the profiles of citizens to greedy data miners.

    Has the NHS received one penny for even one of the profiles it has so ignorantly given away?

  14. Sceptical Bastard

    @ Adwords v SEO

    Nice one, AC. says it all really.

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