This article by Jason Santa Maria struck a chord with me. While I do believe services like LogoYes and LogoWorks do have their place, it’s one thing to create a system by which professional designers create logos faster and at a lower cost, but it’s another to create a program that allows anyone to design a logo and tell people the results will be just as good as what they would get by engaging a professional designer or a branding agency.
If it were true that designers who have gone to several years of design school and have worked for several years studying branding and working with clients in reality have no more knowledge about branding and design than the 50-year old CEO of a meat-packing plant, then this logic might fly.
To take this into the realm of web development, I’ve been hearing a lot of radio ads from Register.com lately that chap my hide. I love Register.com. Despite their prices being over three times that of GoDaddy, their interface is soooo easy to use and their customer service so good I can’t switch away from them.
Donated by a fellow crazed shooter up on the book tower is an mp3 file of the very radio commercial. Hear it in all it’s glory. It starts out with two fellows chatting about a promising business meeting with a potential client.
Download MP3 file of annoying Register.com commercial. Right click or something, or if you’re on a Mac go buy a PC (I only say that because I know how much it annoys Mac people).
Here is the actual text:
“It was like I saw my life flashing before me…”
“Yeah, I mean the meeting was going along great…then they asked us for our website address.”
“There was just this horrible silence.”
“We lost the client because we didn’t have a website.”
“The thought of having to invest thousands of dollars on a website was just daunting.”
“We’re a small business, we don’t have IT guys.”
At this point a woman’s voice enters as a type of narrator…I’m sure there’s some radio commercial jargon for when you have two people in a dialogue and then a third voice that’s not part of the conversation, but I don’t know what that person is called. The woman says this:
“Introducing the website solution from Register.com. In as little as 20 minutes you can have your professional website developed and online. No IT guys, no headaches, no more losing customers because you don’t have a website.”
Then back to the two guys.
“Register.com was like a Godsend.”
“Literally within minutes Register.com had our company name registered.”
“And within another 20 minutes we had a professional website.”
Back to the woman, but it’s immaterial at this point, the important part is what you read above.
First of all, don’t mistake what I’m saying as a declaration that this is a bad commercial. It may be a very successful commercial and get lots of business for Register.com, and I don’t think it goes to the point where I would say it’s unethical or dishonest because maybe Register.com really believes what they’re saying with this ad. But it is misinformation just the same, and that’s what I intend to clear up here.
Here are some of the points I take issue with:
1. It appears Register.com doesn’t understand how real sales meetings go. Although it’s a good idea for just about any company to have some sort of website, it’s unlikely, in my opinion, that anyone would lose a deal based solely on them not having one unless it were somehow directly related to the task at hand. I build website for a living and I’m still making this claim. I think a good website can help you land a deal, but generally won’t seal or break a deal (unless you’re a web development firm).
2. Second, the ad has the personalities in the ad explaining that they don’t have a website because “we don’t have IT guys.” To refer to people who build websites as “IT guys” is just a tad off-kilter. Technically it’s correct, but “IT guys” is just too broad a description since that group also includes network engineers, software programmers, server administrators, and all sorts of people who have nothing to do with building a website. And the people who typically build websites would probably never call themselves IT guys, especially since building a website begins and might end with a designer, who would definitely not be referred to as an IT guy.
3. But my biggest gripe with this ad is that they refer to their $20 website that you get in 20 minutes as “a professional website.” This is misleading in that it gives the impression that Register.com can, through their automated process, deliver the same results that it takes a web design firm two months to produce.
I went to Register.com and took a look at some samples of their “professional websites.” They’re laughable. Calling one of these websites “professional” is analagous to drawing a picture of a car on a piece of cardboard, cutting it out, and then telling someone “I’ll sell you this brand new car for $20. It’s as a good as a Lexus.” If you walked into a sales meeting, were asked for your website address, and then the potential client went and saw one of these babies I think you truly would lose the job, whereas without a website you’d still have a fighting chance.
Web development agencies charge anywhere from a few thousand to several hundred thousand dollars to build a website. You can’t expect to get the same quality of work from an automated system that only charges $20 bucks. If you doubt me, just look at some of the work done by professionals (see www.linkdup.com vs. that coming from Register.com (see www.ringsidepics.com).
Which brings up the question all our clients ask us “How much does a professional website cost?” We usually hem and haw about this for a while and say things like “it depends” and try to get more details. But let me make it clear that you don’t get professional websites designed for less than $10-20K at a minimum. Yeah, the price of a decent car.
Ok, you might get lucky, but if you’re paying less than that then the company that’s desiging those sites for you is either losing money, not paying their employees a competitive wage, or doing free work. Whatever they’re doing, it’s not sustainable due to simple laws of economics. Trust me, I’ve been on both sides for the past five years.Liked it? Share it!