o.k, since i’m feeling ill and cranky i’m going to have a bit of a rant. my target today is dodgy rip off web ‘designers’ who fleece well intentioned customers with crappy template based sites for way more than they are worth.
let me explain…
as you may know i do a bit of the old web design and whilst i know that i am no competition against a huge design agency or a hand-coded whizz kid my prices reflect this. i work damned hard for the money i make doing it and allways want to do the best job i can.
which is why it pisses me off no end when people use the title of ‘web designer’ as an easy way to con money out of those who don’t know any better. twice in the last six months i have encountered designers passing off pre-packaged template or creation solutions like this (a true example) as their own original design work and i can’t count how many even sadder stories i’ve heard of people paying money for work that has simply never materialised. and every time it is the same group of clients that suffer: small businesses, charities and local organisations. it makes me so mad.
to rip people off as directly as just taking the money and running is clearly criminal but the approach of the former is just as dishonerable in my book.
take this unsolicated email that my father recieved (and yes, shock horror, i am going to name names)
I am writing to see if you require a website. I have built websites for small organisations and charities in Edinburgh and may be able to help you too. I can usually get a website up and running in a few days from only �225. Full details at www.simpleedesigns.com I hope the above is of interest to you. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Yours sincerely Lee Simpson SimpleeDesigns firstname.lastname@example.org www.simpleedesigns.com
well, my first thought on looking at his site was ‘dodgy’. quickly followed by ‘template’ so i had a wee peek at the source code. here was the interesting bit. everyone of his sites contained this line:
<meta name="generator" content="ZyWeb - www.zyweb.com">
what’s that noise? oh, that’s great big alarm bells ringing. according to their blurb:
“ZyWeb was created to enable non-technical users to create and publish quality, professional looking web sites, with award winning graphics, photos and functionality, without the need for any design, authoring or technical skills”
well, i don’t know about “quality, professional looking web sites, with award winning graphics, photos and functionality” but the rest pretty much sums it up. it is a tool aimed at NON designers to easily and cheaply home publish. now clearly i have no moral issue with this in itself since i am typing this on wordpress! what i take issue with is these services then being falsely sold back to the public as the web designers own work. i often set up blogs for clients along with their sites – but never give the impression that they are my own from the ground up. i will explain to them what they are and how they will function as an addition to their website. i understand that once you get more involved in the blogging community and visit the more impressive and innovative blogs and plugin writers this line becomes greyer – but for clients i feel it is important that the distinction is made. neither am i a coding purist. yes, i use dreamweaver, yes i use flash – but this is industry standard. again with templates, i also have a template service but it is very clear what i am selling and, once again the price reflects this.
it may be possible to argue that what you are paying for is purely the ‘designer’s time but i do not think that the prices usually reflect the minimal time taken nor do i think the clients understand that this is all they are paying for. clients who are usually sourced from the areas least likely to be able to afford the site in the first place.
plus, and most importantly, they are almost allways awful.
and by the way, the gif is ironic.