Why the White House Didn't Use WordPress

By Brian | Thu, 11/14/2013 - 03:37

It’s your monkey Wednesday news! Today I am going to talk about an interesting topic…are you listening? Have you ever looked at HealthCare.gov for the Obama administration? If so, you are probably having the same thoughts we are: Why didn’t they use WordPress to design their website? There are 14 states who have designed their own health insurance web sites and five of them have used WordPress. Of course, they aren’t perfect, but these web sites have run better than HealthCare.gov.

Yep, listen to some strong words that have described HealthCare.gov in the past: “disaster,” “failure,” and “excruciatingly embarrassing.” Yikes! So the question you are surely asking is why did the White House design their own website when they could have used WordPress, Drupal or another web platform tool?

Peter Slutsky, the director of platform services (original creator of WordPress) asked the same question. He states, "We would have liked to see WordPress in the mix, or another open-source technology like Drupal or Joomla…If you look at decisions that were made at the state level, states had choices about who to work with and an overwhelming majority of them used WordPress."

Fred Wilson, the influential venture capitalist, has stated about this situation, "[I]nstead of hiring an army of contract developers who will cost us so much money, harness an army of volunteers, who are likely better engineers, who will do the work for free."

Do you know what the administration's response to HealthCare.gov's issues has been? as Ezra Klein put it Wednesday, "extraordinary secretive." The administration has promised a “tech surge” involving "some of the best IT talent in the entire country" to fix the problem, but discloses little information about who's involved and what's being done. Hmm…very interesting don’t you think monkeys?

And of course, I say: You should have gone with WordPress or Drupal to begin with!

Here is what Slutsky says about WordPress:

"WordPress is free, open source and flexible enough to power the majority of the state health care exchanges and upwards of 20% of the top 10 million websites on the planet," he said. "With the exception of some small glitches (normal for software), the state health care exchanges function properly."

And of course, I say: You should have gone with WordPress or Drupal to begin with!


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