Iowa Releases RFP for Limited Advertising on State Web Sites

Iowa Releases RFP for Limited Advertising on State Web Sites

The state of Iowa has released a long-awaited request for proposals that would allow Web sponsorship, a limited form of advertising, on government sites.

The RFP calls for a single contractor to solicit and manage Web-page sponsorships that would generate revenue for the state, according to the RFP released Jan. 30.

The state is asking that the contractor provide all necessary equipment and support at no cost to the state. The contractor's compensation would be tied to the performance of the Web-sponsorship program.

Among the key requirements of the RFP are that the contractor protect the state from First Amendment challenges, protect user privacy and allow only the sponsorship of products and services that are legally available to citizens of all ages.

The state would retain the right to designate which of its Web pages are eligible for sponsorship placement and could withdraw them from eligibility at any time.

If the award is made, Iowa would be the second state or local government to allow some form of Internet advertising or sponsorship. Last year, Honolulu became the first local government to allow private companies to advertise on its Web portal.

Unlike Internet advertising, which permits users to click through to the advertiser's Web site, Web sponsors are restricted to displaying only their name, according to state officials. Most state governments are wary of the practice because they fear First Amendment challenges and citizen backlash over privacy matters.

Proposals for the Iowa Web Sponsorship Initiative are due to the state Department of General Services by March 9.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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