And all the kids go OutWhat?
It’s just bizarre to think these were cutting edge when we played them.
How many do you recognise?
Next time a pol cites studio or label guff, they should have their noses pushed in this, like a mongrel that crapped in the garden.
TorrentFreak: In fact, the study also found that Internet users treat these services as a preview, a kind of “try before you buy.”
This, the survey claims, leads pirate site users to buy more DVDs, visit the cinema more often and on average spend more than their ‘honest’ counterparts at the box office.
“The users often buy a ticket to the expensive weekend-days,” the report notes.
In the past similar studies have revealed that the same is true for music. People who pirate a lot of music buy significantly more music than those who don’t.
Obviously it would be of great interest to see the report in full, but it appears that is not going to be possible. According to an anonymous GfK source quoted by Telepolis, the findings of the study proved so unpleasant to the company that commissioned the survey that it has now been locked away “in the poison cupboard.”
Could spell trouble for OpenDNS. I’m jealous of their netblocks.
Google Public DNS is a free, global Domain Name System (DNS) resolution service, that you can use as an alternative to your current DNS provider.
To try it out:
- Configure your network settings to use the IP addresses 188.8.131.52 and 184.108.40.206 as your DNS servers or
- Read our configuration instructions.
If you decide to try Google Public DNS, your client programs will perform all DNS lookups using Google Public DNS.
In case you missed it, Amazon.com has a wonderful new tool for adding items from any website to your Amazon wish list, so you can create a central repository of Stuff You Want. All you need to do is add a bookmarklet to your browser – instructions are provided – and click on it when you see Stuff You Want. Fill in a few details in a window that will pop up and you’re good to go, or rather your friends and family are when they feel you’ve Been Good.
Unfortunately it’s not available on the laggardly Amazon.co.uk yet, but that doesn’t really have an impact on functionality. Just make sure you send people to both when you’re scumming for Stuff. :)
“This configuration, NT4.0 / IIS and SQL Server Â is fast becoming an industry standard for mid range ecommerce applications – as the skills for development are ‘relatively’ available and affordable.”
*koff* Open Source *koff*.
Ok ok, I shouldn’t go on about it, but I have to – I’m a Linux user and PHP programmer, that’s my job. And I don’t particularly want to get into a “mine is better than yours” style flaming match either, but I do have to state the case for Open Source. For instance, I agree that ASP is being used for a hefty chunk of eCommerce applications, but I think that if anything is “fast becoming the industry standard”, it’s the Linux/Apache/PHP/MySQL combination.
According to Netcraft, Apache now runs on just over 60% of websites, with IIS the next in line at a measly 20% – just *one third* of the Apache coverage. I think those figures speak for themselves, but there’s more – Apache’s coverage consistently goes up, month by month, by at least 1% (last month it was just short of 2%), whereas nearly every other webserver goes down. And this is no Open Source biased survey (said he nodding in the direction of some of the figures on microsoft.com), it’s performed completely automatically on over 13 million sites by simply sending a HTTP request for the server name.
As to the financial aspect, which of course is of prime importance on a list like this – with Open Source solutions you’re already saving a fortune because you’re not paying for your operating system, webserver, programming language or database server. Yes, you can buy the “proper” CD of RedHat Linux, but you can also get a copy from any of the Linux User Groups (LUGs), for just the cost of the CD. In most cases, they’ll post it out to you for nothing as long as you send it back afterwards.
And of course, because of the Open Source licences, that’s completely legal. Matter of fact, if you want to burn it to CD yourself and start selling it on the lovely new website you developed on your Linux machine, you can. That’s the spirit of Open Source. And on that CD there will most likely be copies of Apache, PHP and MySQL, as well as hundreds of other tools. Think they’re a bit old? Go to their websites and download a newer copy — it’s free.
As to the skills for development. I have to give a few points away here, because I realise that some people prefer to learn “properly” – academically that is, in a course or certification program. But for those who don’t, there are plenty of options. Personally, I prefer to “learn by doing” – by creating applications, I learn how to improve them and how to create other apps. There are many, many books out there about Linux, PHP, SQL and even Apache. But most importantly there are thousands, even hundreds of thousands of developers out there willing to give you a hand, on mailing lists and web forums, who in some cases will go completely out of their way to help you. Again, that’s the spirit of Open Source.
And finally, ease-of-use is important. And here again I have to give a few points away – Linux is hard. There’s no doubting that – it’s hard to setup, hard to configure and hard to manage. But the reason for that is because it’s more configurable. Don’t like the way one of your system binaries works? Hack the source code and recompile. Think you can tweak a few more bytes out of that modem – ask around, someone will know. But even with that said, Linux becomes easier to use and configure as time goes on. Installation is easier now, and there’s more and more people every single day to help you if you get stuck.
The same goes for everything else – Open Source means that if you don’t like what something does, you can open up the source code and change it.
My apologies for going on about this, but it’s *important*. Businesses – and businessmen – have to start realising that there are alternatives to Microsoft and others, that there are easier and cheaper ways of doing it. Yes, in the short-term it’s easier to employ a programmer to do it for you, but you can do that with Open Source equivalents too, and you have the added advantage of having the option of learning the skills necessary yourself, and *doing* it yourself — thereby cutting an overpriced developer out of the loop. Maybe I’m cutting my own throat by saying that, but all to the greater good.
And finally, a practical example, and the one I know best – my own company. ieWebs is a small web agency, slowly building a reputation for ourselves. It consists of myself, our designer Gary Edmunds and a few other people who help out, my mammy included. When I started on the web, I was thrown in at the deep end – I knew nothing about Unix or webservers, and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to program a functional shopping application. But because the cost of bandwidth, and so hosting, was so high in Ireland, I was forced to serve my sites from a Unix variant server in the States. Which meant learning how to configure and administer a server from the command line, which could be equated with working on your local machine in DOS all the time.
But I persisted and taught myself Perl, one of the first, and probably still one of the best web programming languages available. And then I moved to PHP, a newer language that can be embedded directly into webpages. And all the while I was tinkering away with the machine I was on, learning how to configure it for better performance, how to secure it from crackers better, etc.
[This is more philosophy than an answer, but I feel people should know why web development pricing is so variable.]
“Is it £35 or £35,000,000?”
I think the best way to answer that question, in true web development style, is “Yes.” My usual answer, when people come to me is, “It depends.” :)
It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult, it’s just that there’s no set price for website design, and there shouldn’t be. Every single site is different, and that’s the way it should be – if all sites were the same, the web would be a very boring place, and eCommerce wouldn’t exist. Of course, there are development companies out there that offer “packages”, but I don’t subscribe to that way of doing things, because when you do business that way, someone *has* to lose out, and it’s usually the client – you get a “site in a box”, just like another hundred the company produced that week or month. In my view, that’s not very innovative, and it’s innovation that stands out on the web. Let’s be honest – if you’re not going to do it right, you might as well not do it at all.
The problem is that you have lots of people jumping on the bandwagon at the moment – people whose knowledge of computers and the Internet could be written in marker on the back of a stamp. (Note to self – what’s a stamp? :) One person I met described them as “Copier Salesmen” – they’re the same guys who saw the boom in copiers back when they first came out, and followed the money. The same is happening with the web – you’ve got people following the money, and these guys shouldn’t be allowed *near* a computer, because all they want is your money. And they’ll do that by selling you a “site in a box”.
Another problem is that web design is quite like traditional design – it’s a service industry that relies heavily on talent, not training. So, in essence, *proper” web development companies don’t have to subscribe to pricing guidelines – we can pretty much charge people what *we think we’re worth*. That may seem harsh, but it’s simply supply and demand – if you want good, you gotta pay for it. If you want average, you pay an average price. If you want cheap, you’ll get tack.
The only exception to that rule are the few companies out there who do damn good work and charge a fair price for it. And they’re few and far between, and the prices are still very variable. I mean, my own company’s pricing has gone up a thousand-fold in the past three years (I kid you not), and I still feel that I’m cutting myself short half the time. I’ve quoted people Â£20,000 for a website, and found out afterwards that they had been quoted Â£1m for it. And I wouldn’t be kicking myself for that – I’d be laughing at the gall of the people quoting a million. I couldn’t quote that much money for a site, the guilt would bring me down! :)
Ok, now to answer your question slighly more directly:
How much would I be expected to pay for a site that will contain:
- Introduction page.
- Contact page.
- Host my catalogue of products.approx 120 products.
- Including all set up costs, search engine registration,Â domain name reg, etc.
- Also annual costs involved.
If you came to me with that spec, the first thing I would do is tell you to go away and come back with a better spec. The problem I have is mainly with point 3 – lots of questions immediately pop into my head when I see that:
I could go on and on. And that’s the reason no-one will quote you directly for website development right off the bat. If they do, or they’re not asking you those questions, you shouldn’t go anywhere *near* them. Why? Because there’s huge variations involved in the questions above. For example, if you want to track orders, or integrate the system, that means more programming on our part. If you want real-time transaction processing, you need to set up with a provider. If you want to store credit card data, you’re jumping into serious money. It means setting up proper security procedures, and shortly that will mean a dedicated machine on your own premises, connected via a (very expensive) leased line. (Why? Because Visa are currently introducing new measures for online trading, and that’s the only way around it.)
My advice? To be honest it’s hard to know what to advise people. The best I can do is to tell you to set aside a good chunk of time to set out *exactly* what you want out of the site, bearing in mind some of the question above, and the way your business currently operates. Don’t be afraid to put every piddling little detail in there – the things that may seem unimportant may be hugely important on the site. Then have a good look around the web and directories for the developers that appeal to you. See if they’ve done sites like what you’re looking for. Look at their style, and their own sites, and their attitude, and use that to judge if they’re up to the job.
Now, don’t phone them and relay all that information to them, email them the spec you spent all that time on. Web developers spend most of their time on the net, and they work best sitting in front of a computer, not on the phone. Plus, when they have the spec in front of them, they’ll be able to go through it in their own time, at their own pace. When they reply, they’ll be able to comment on everything, and explain why this costs that, and any difficulties that might be involved. You also get a price that’s much closer to reality.
If they’re interested – and they should be interested, because creating a website for someone is a lot like going into a partnership – you should try and arrange a meeting, to sit down a sort out any niggles between ye. This is good because the closer the developer can get to an exacting spec of the site beforehand, the less chance there will be of problems halfway through the development, because, for example, you wanted to add something new, when the drafts have been finalised (grrr). After that meeting, then, and only then, will you get an *exact* quote.
And you should understand another thing too – this drawn out process can be bad for us too. I get calls every day from people looking for sites, and I have to go through this process with each and every one of them, because it’s the *only* way you can do it *properly*. And a lot of them call off at the end, because the price is too high, or the project is a lot more complicated than it seemed. That comes down to the fact that an awful lot of people think that setting up a site is a walk in the park. But unless you’re talking about a straight brochure site, it’s not, it’s *hard*. And when they call off, that’s my time and money wasted. It’s a tricky business!
And finally, a direct answer. How much would I quote you for a website like that? Between five and twenty-five thousand pounds. Sorry, best I can do… :)