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Profiles in Pain

On a typical day a VP of marketing receives approximately 1,736 voicemails from companies offering to help with web development services. How do you separate the good from the bad, the decent from the despicably evil, the upstanding from the inherently corrupt and incompetent?

Here's a quick overview of some folks to avoid before you place your call to Mansfield + Associates:

Front Room Frank
From deep within a deductible den Frank will get you a site real cheap. Of course, it'll be a hideous monstrosity, but those nice design engineers and network managers that you are targeting are much too polite to say a thing. They just won't take you seriously. Or come back. Or buy your perfectly decent product that has cost millions to develop. 'Hey, but the site only cost us $2,500!'
Big Integrator Bob
Here comes that space-use ballistic saddle bag replete with tastefully embroidered logo and frequent flier tags. It's loaded with expensive project plans, system overviews, technology audits, invoices, account statements and more invoices. It's being carried by your friendly, condescending, big integrator account manager. Sponsored by Microsoft, Oracle, Broadvision and whoever's hot in wireless this week, you'll learn to love the angst, the extended periods of inner searching while you ponder as a team how you can scrape together a site for less than a million three. Oh, and chances are Big Integrator Bob will be out of a job next week when Schmient/Vapidient/MarchLAST goes under.
Ad Man Angus
It's Darren from Bewitched and he's sure he can design you a good looking site. Hey, the Internet's just another marketing venue right? Give this black-clad doyen of design a chance and you can have your site designed, tested and hosted on one of those cool looking Macs you've seen in the corner at CompUSA. You've got some really elegant type on that Welcome Screen. Shame it takes ten minutes to load. And a pity that the site conspicuously avoids even the most basic tenets of interface design and web usability. Navigation,'ll get us into Communication Arts Magazine.

Do any of these characters sounds horrifyingly familiar? If you've met one we want to hear your horror story so that we can share it with the world. We'll even keep your name out of it if you'd prefer. After all, our intent here is to expose our 'competition' not embarrass you!


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