Election 2001: Labour trails Web site poll

While the smaller election contenders' Web sites are up to speed, the Labour site takes nearly a minute to download

Labour may be ahead in the polls but when it comes to Web sites the Natural Law and Green parties are streets ahead.

According to performance testing from software testers SIM Group, the Natural Law and Green Party Web sites only took between two to nine seconds to download compared to 58 seconds for Labour. The Conservatives took up to 15 seconds and the Liberal Democrats 29.

SIM managing director Bob Bartlett believes Labour would not be able to keep up in the competitive e-commerce market with such a performance. "For a party who is dedicated to promoting online business, Labour's download tardiness would not help them succeed in the e-marketplace," he said. For those who have yet to make up their minds about who to vote for the performance of a Web site could be crucial Bartlett thinks. Research suggests that users abandon a site if a page takes longer than ten seconds to download.

All the parties have been keen to use the Web for their election campaigns. Labour set up a special site for teenagers which included interviews with celebrities. It is also offering live webcasts, tailor-made information for each constituency and free mobile phone text messages for supporters to download and pass on to friends, colleagues and family.

The Conservatives are also employing new technology and have launched an email blitz in key marginal seats in the last week of the election.

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