Website Development Ethics

Posted by hlakile
hlakile
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on Sunday, 14 June 2009
in Digital Blogs
With reference to The Source's article about the R6500000 website I want to add my view on the subject of website pricing. 

Website development, as far as I know, is not a regulated industry at all.  What you need to do to make money is make a website and then market that ability.  Fair enough.  The question is how much do you charge?

Let us consider the components of a website price.  Firstly you need to register the domain name.  That should not cost you more than R100.  Along with the domain name goes the hosting space and this should not be more than R200 a month, at the most, leaving us with a total cost of R4900 for two years.  Next you have the actual design of the website.  This can be broken down into graphic design, website design and then the optional website development. A graphic designer can do both the graphic elements of the website along with the website design.  This can be very cheap or very costly, but let us put a price of R20000 for the once of design of the website.  Your website now sits there and may not do what you want it to do, so you put in web development.  For a complex website, it should not take a full-time developer more than a month or two to implement all the client's wishes. Let us say a developer charges R300 per hour for 20 working days boils down to R48000 This off course differs with each website, but for the website mentioned in The Source's article, no web development was need.   So at the most, our website tall now stands on R68000.  In relation to that website, 100 times less.

A company that charges over six million for one website should raise a lot of warning bells concerning ethics.  As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the components of the price should not exceed R68000.  This may be the cost price of the website.  Is it then ethical to have a ten thousand percent margin on the website?  I would not mind creating one website for that amount.  To be honest, I would retire comfortably after the contract concludes.

Websites forms part of intellectual property and this makes it a bit more difficult to price effectively.  Other professions that also charge on this count may include lawyers, advocates and other consultants.  One can argue experience, quality and a whole range of other criteria in the price, but at the end of the day it is not good for the image of the industry.  The perception is now created that websites are expensive and less expensive websites would maybe be considered inferior.

Professional in Information Technology should start thinking about the impact of their products in the market.  We live in a democratic captilistic society, but should that mean ridiculous pricing?  I think not.

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Comments

Guest
mikezilla Sunday, 14 June 2009

unfortunately ppl are a lot less prudent when handling other peoples money. I find it very hard to believe that a site of that nature would get sold in the private sector for that price tag. As for ethics it's not an IT thing I know from my time working as a manager my female staff would regularly get higher quotes from contractors than my male staff and when confronted would generally be happy to lower there prices. The point is there will be no artificial floating of the market. People will pay what things are worth to them ultimately. And south africa does not value the web highly at all.

Guest
Dissol Sunday, 14 June 2009

Nothing to do with ethics. All to do with business. Rarely, in real terms, is the end price worked out based on input costs. Usually, it is based upon what the market will pay.

Personally, I would suspect that we have not got the full story here. Usually, for an item like this a tender would have gone out, and suppliers would have bid against one another. Often (but not always) the cheapest offer is taken.

I would hope that the rate payers of Durban (who paid for this) will investigate this situation, and should there have been either corruption, or just poor decision making, then they will sack the people responsible (or at least not vote them in again).

Guest
The Source Sunday, 14 June 2009

I actually proposed a kind of \"authority body\" on Linkedin regarding this a while ago.

Yes, we need a governing body to take care of crooks.

Guest
Dissol Sunday, 14 June 2009

How do you have an authority body for these sort of internet related issues? It is possible to design, host, support from anywhere in the world. Would the governing body control costs? How would they do this? Would they limit entry to people with certain qualifications? How would they do this? Crooks are everywhere. The responsible people within the industry need to make people aware of the pitfalls, but ultimately it is impossible to police. I think that a governing body would add unnecessary costs, and remove much initiative that is apparent in the market. My experience has been that the IT industry has more than its fair share of crooks, and many people are getting ripped off in different ways. All one can do is be aware of that, and to empower oneself as far as possible to avoid falling foul of the crooks...

Guest
AbortRetryFail Sunday, 14 June 2009

Anyone should question costs/prices of excessive size, or at least compare prices withing the industry. There\'s a set amount over and above which something should go out to tender at my slavepit/work. I\'m sure that R6.5mil would qualify... and ifn they got prices from more than one source the contracting body should ask \"what extra bells and whistles do I get for my megabucks when company B charges a tenth and they promised the same stuff you did?\"

Whoever approved this website contract definitely got a masssive kickback or should be shot for being an Uber-idiot not suitable for any position of authiority or decision-making, especially not on money.

Guest
Eisch Monday, 15 June 2009

It would be interesting to know whether the R6,5 million is rooted in reality and what was included in the total. Certainly, the amount would have required a tender process and be subject to MFMA rules.

As far as policing professional behaviour is concerned, the only solution is to have chartered practitioners (as in doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers) who can only practice if they are registered with the charter body and have a clean record. In the UK, this is done through the British Computer Society but the South African Society does not have that status (yet...).

Guest
Dissol Monday, 15 June 2009

Eisch, usually I am all for registered practitioners... However, in a market which is moving forward at such a pace as the IT industry, it becomes counter-productive. What qualification would be required to join the professional body? Any qualification over a certain period of time in this industry is worthless.

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