Website Development Ethics
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.