The Mission-On website

Bernard Hickey (and his teenage daughter!) review the $11.4 million Mission-On website.

Now let’s look at the performance. Sparc kindly provided me with some statistics on traffic for Mission-On, which was built on contract by a private company called Click Suite. It generated 39,132 unique browser sessions in June and has registered 15,000 kids in the four months since it launched. Sparc is targeting 30,000 by June next year. Sparc pointed out that Click Suite had told them this compared quite well with,, and

At this point I will mention that the official Neilsen Net Ratings for this blog in a month (and Neilsen are very conservative with their stats) are around four times their 39,132. In fact I get more than that in a week. And alas no $11 million of taxpayer funding.

I registered for the website as myself and tried to play a few games to get a feel for it. It’s the worst kind of patronising tosh I have seen in a long time. “It’s choice,” the website says of itself. It has one game called a “Creative Hip Hop Challenge”. One thing I do know about successful websites is they have to be driven by the users and not appear out of touch or preachy or just plain dumb. This is all three.


It’s also all built in Adobe (formerly Macromedia’s) Flash. Anyone trying to build a website that is picked up by Google and the other bots so people can find it knows that Flash is the dumbest way to do that. Adobe is only now giving Flash the ability to attract search engines. Flash is fantastic for making good-looking websites that make their owners look good in the eyes of their bosses. But they are websites that aren’t either popular or profitable. Flash sites are typically built by advertising, marketing or design agencies (like Clicksuite), who make advertisement or brochure sites.

But that is okay – the taxpayer will then be asked to spend money promoting the site.

So I asked my 14-year-old daughter what she thought of it. She had seen an ad for it on the side of a bus, but hadn’t visited. I asked her to check it out. She did what everyone does now. She typed the words “Mission On” into Google to find it. It came up at number 8 in the natural search rankings. Any web professional knows this is a disaster. I suspect it ranks so poorly because it is made in Flash and its search optimisation is woeful. It is also poorly ranked because few other sites have to linked to it, which is an ominous sign. My daughter eventually found it.

We are in fact already paying for adverts for it.

“Oh My God,” she yelped. “It’s all in Flash. I just never use Flash sites. You can’t navigate them, they’re usually just so crap. My browser is set to block these yucky pop-ups. No. No. No,” she said before shooing me out the door. I’m a very lucky father to have a daughter who knows so much more about web usability than I do.


PS. One tip for Sparc. It needs to buy the Google ad word for MissionOn to create a sponsored link. It costs about 25 cents per click. Well worth the money. So good in fact that I’ve bought the MissionOn adword for Google and will link to this story once it’s published.

Now that is just evil. Very very evil. I love it.

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