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Google hands Britain’s eTown award to Scunthorpe

Well there’s nowt else to do in Scunny

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Google has awarded Scunthorpe the title of Britain’s eTown, the UK locale that saw the strongest growth in AdWords use over the last year.

The town, known for its dwindling iron and steel works, dodgy MP and unfortunately misspelt name, was at the top of 20 towns named in the UK for seeing growth in small businesses using Google’s advertising platform. The largest city on the list was Manchester, and none of the 20 areas named were in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – although Douglas in the Isle of Man did get a mention.

Scunny might seem like an odd choice, since it has legendary problems with internet filters given its name. Nevertheless, with the steel industry in decline, there’s hope that web-driven growth might stem the decline. Certainly, it might distract from the apparently less-than-pulchritudinous population.

“It’s often assumed that big cities benefit the most from the internet, but we believe the net offers giant opportunities to everyone from urbanites to small town residents, farmers and nature lovers in the far-flung countryside,” said Ben Novick, Google's European communications manager, on the company blog. “We recently tested this thesis in our first-ever European Google eTown awards, which recognize those areas that had most embraced the web’s potential over the last year.”

To be fair, it’s hardly a proper European survey. Only four countries were involved: The UK, France, Italy and Poland. Anything claiming to be European these days should really include Germany, since it’s bankrolling the entire system.

Nevertheless there were some surprising results. Caen, home to the stunning Centre for History and Peace, took France’s top spot, while the small northern coastal city of Elbląg in Poland proved the most AdWords’ most lucrative buyer. ®

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