US government sites sell Amazon down the river

"Roll up, roll up, helicopters, lighthouses, jet planes - get them while they're hot!" Uncle Sam sets out his stall, but would you buy a used car from George Dubya?

"Roll up, roll up, helicopters, lighthouses, jet planes - get them while they're hot!" Uncle Sam sets out his stall, but would you buy a used car from George Dubya?

The US government sold more over the net last year than Amazon.com. In terms of internet sales, Jeff Bezos' company fell short of its governmental retail rivals by $800m, according to a figures for 2000. The study found transactions on government sites, for items as diverse as horses and lighthouses, totalled $3.6bn - compared to Amazon.com's $2.8bn. The US Mint, one of the most successful online sales operations in the government's 164-site portfolio, selling commemorative and collectable coins, amassed sales of $150m during 2000, while a World War II memorabilia site has raised $2.3m since it was launched a little more than two years ago. Other sites, serving the defence sector, provide items such as jet planes and helicopters. However, the Treasury Department's Treasury Direct site accounts for the vast majority of the government's online sales. Last year it sold $3.3bn worth of savings bonds and related financial products.