Warning story: "I Regret my $46k Website Redesign"

Originally published at: Warning story: "I Regret my $46k Website Redesign" | Boing Boing


In a past life I was a web developer. I used to work for an agency that used tactics like the ones described in this article. Overpromise, underbid. Then, when the project is underway, change the scope by small degrees, until the client is now paying for a full rebrand/redesign when they just wanted a few pages done up and maybe a little bit of logo work or a blog page or something. Often I’d be asked to do an estimate for some minor back-end work, and then get the project later and see the work has been ballooned out in scope and now involved front-end and art design.

It’s been over a decade since I left that industry, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see that sort of shady business still being rampant.


Uh… I could have made a site every bit as good for $300 and a free copy of the product. I see nothing there that can’t be managed by a Wordpress template.


I don’t think it looks totally awful, there are aspects of it that i do like over the original. But it also looks more plain and generic, and for the kind of money spent that’s unacceptable


46K for a shitty redesign. He got taken for the underbody coating and everything.


I agree, there are lots of very sketchy business practices in the industry. The good ones will be upfront that they only do full on redesign/rebuild projects and will either decline to bid or bid the price of the whole enchilada and let the client decide if that’s what they want. But there are more than a few who pretend to be open to doing more limited scope work but then proceed to ignore the scope.


I could have F’ed-up the site much faster, for far less.


The new one is so utterly generic that it makes the whole thing look scammy. Like a fly-by-night VPN reseller or so.


I’m entirely unbothered and unsurprised that an agency cost $46K. That’s disgusting that they pretended like it could be a $7K project, though.

The takeaways / what to do different section is spot on advice. Painfully learned.


If I didn’t authorize all the extra changes, they could keep their design work and whistle for any charges above and beyond what I agreed to.


Between approx. 1999-2003 I steered more than a few clients away from signing contracts like this. I’m pretty sure that one or two agencies I’d dealt with before on behalf of clients actively tried to back away from bidding when I showed up at the initial engagement meeting.

The worst offenders were the medium- to large-sized agencies that preyed on less sophisticated SMB and SME owners desperate to get a Web site going. In those days the agencies weren’t pushing dodgy retainers like the one in this story, but there was a lot of room for scope creep in the contracts that they were very willing to exploit.


The following is a website / store that I sincerely hope never does any major re-design work, as I think that its just perfect as it is right now.

When surfing for new or old cables (like a cable for Rio MP3 players) that re-assuring late 90s feel is a treat.


Depends on how their bullshit contract was worded and what kind of things they were able to force on the customer. Like being kept on retainer. Which just emphasizes the need to always read the contract, all of it.


Mmmmm-mmmmmm, that does what it says on the can.


That was an interesting read. It actually doesn’t sound like the agency was trying to scam him or pull a bait and switch. What it does sound like is that the agency’s business model wasn’t set up to handle a small client with a limited scope project, and rather than turn his business away like they should have, they tried to squeeze him in, and it turned into a disaster for him.

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Yeah. Easy to find what you’re looking for, no clutter, no music, no slide-ins, no bullshit.


To me it looks like a bait and switch to me or at a minimum a failure to deliver.


It’s a well worded blogpost. The final numbers speak for themselves.

That being said, I have a lot of understanding for agencies asking for a retainer. I reckon the BB community would be understanding here, done correctly it gives to the small and independent creative workers a fairer bargain when dealing with big corporations.


:thinking: :face_with_raised_eyebrow: :person_shrugging:


As a web developer, I’m going to say fuck these guys. It seems clear to me that WebAgency is used to working for large businesses where no-one gives a shit and they can charge whatever they like. Even $7K sounds way over the top for what was delivered (IN SEVEN MONTHS!)