At 6:44 p.m. tonight our 300,000th registered user signed up! This post is just a quick victory lap.
GovTrack launched in September 2004, almost ten years ago, and is now used by millions of people — 7,255,163 in the last year (most don’t register, of course) — to figure out what is going on in the U.S. Congress. And though our first goal is to help the public keep Congress accountable, we see significant usage from within Congress’s office buildings, as well as by lobbyists, journalists, and other professionals.
In the last 10 years we’ve also petitioned Congress for more and better information about what they’re doing, and we sometimes got it. The Senate modernized how they publish votes in 2009, the House modernized how they publish upcoming votes last year, and we now even talk regularly with congressional staff about how to make Congress more transparent. We use any new information we can get to make it easier for Americans to engage with their government.
We were the first to bring open data to the legislative process, and many dozens of applications have been built on top of the legislative data that we share with others. We developed new statistical analyses to dissect how Congress works, such as our prognosis that gives every bill a numerical likelihood of being enacted into law. GovTrack perhaps serves as a model for legislative accountability throughout the world to boot.
And on top of it, GovTrack is completely self-sustaining. 100% of our funding comes from advertising and it covers all of our costs.
Thanks go out to GovTrack’s past staff, our users (especially those who wrote in with ideas), and my colleagues in the Open Government community.