“I Need a Web Site” Ads

By , July 29, 2009

I’ve been finding some very bizarre Craigslist ads in the “gigs” section lately.

I’m not seeking work as a programmer, web developer, or web site designer, but I often peek at some of these ads when the title seems . . . incomplete.  It’s often good for a laugh.

  • “I Need a Web Site” or “Fix my web site” or”Update my web site”
  • “Web Developer” or “PHP/MySQL Programmer”

Of course, you’d expect the text of the ad to provide more detail.  But it almost never does.  Sometimes there are “isolated details,” such as “I want a web store with 1,000 products.”  But it’s quite clear that these folks haven’t identified the key issues involved in creating the web site they want.  Despite their lack of knowledge, they often offer absurdly low compensation (today, I saw an offer of just $200 for a “web site with e-commerce shopping cart”).

What’s interesting is that some of these folks include “confrontational” language in their ads — for example, saying “don’t quote more than $400 because I already have quotes for less,” or “don’t respond if you aren’t willing to complete this project within 10 days.” Some ads actually skip the “quotation” stage, and just say “send me the layout for the site you’d produce,” but of course without any hint about the topic or purpose of the web site.

Almost always, these folks want a fixed-price quote right now, long before anyone could possibly estimate the amount of work required for the project.

The saddest part, I think, is that many of these folks will receive replies that include a fixed-price quote, from people who generate “cookie-cutter” web sites using templates.  Of course, without discussing the actual requirements, the client is unlikely to get what she wants.

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