The Dog Ate My Web Site

I was talking to a friend about something else but decided to ask about a new web site project his company was working on.

“It’s delayed,” he said.

I wasn’t surprised. It’s something I’ve been hearing a lot lately. No one has asked me to visit a “cool new web site” in ages. Design projects that were once expected to last months are now projected to last years. A lot of businesses I expected to see going strong by now have yet to get off the ground.

The departments that have taken the biggest hits in the web downturn seem to be the creative departments. Web design and construction just doesn’t have the priority it once did, or so it seems. (Is that the way it is where you work?)

So in the spirit of graveyard humor, I’ve compiled a “Top 10 List of Reasons Why the Design Project Got Canceled (or Delayed).” A little music, please:

    10. “We lost a little momentum after the launch, but we’re going strong now.” (Translation: “We’ve finally recovered from our launch-party hangovers.” wasn’t the only company whose business model was based on getting plastered in elegant surroundings. Unfortunately, without a cover and a minimum, that’s not a business plan.)

    9. “The VCs are very busy.” (That’s a polite way of saying they’re dodging you, sport.)

    8. “We’re concentrating on customer service.” (Someone discovered orders have to be fulfilled, not just taken and booked to income.)

    7. “The lawyers haven’t vetted it yet.” (“Also, the dog ate my homework.”)

    6. “We’re waiting for our content management program to be installed.” (This is the “Waiting for Godot” excuse. You’ll still be waiting when the repo man comes for the furniture.)

    5. “We need to book sales first.” (They fired the creative to keep the salespeople and now have nothing to sell.)

    4. “It’s all bad publicity we never promised to be up this quarter.” (I call this the “blame it on Pud” defense.)

    3. “Broadband is delayed so we don’t need it.” (Broadband service isn’t that fast and no one wants it.)

    2. “We’re concentrating on email instead.” (No one comes to you so you’ve decided to spam them, is that it?)

    1. “The truth is we’re going out of business.” (That’s what I thought all along.)

Back when I made most of my money at magazines, the assumption was that eight percent of the budget was going to all the creative departments. That included the art, writing, editing, and the bar tab. We assumed that the web would change the rules, that when push came to shove the product would be the heart of it, and everything else would be vestigial.

Well, it hasn’t worked out that way. Somehow the folks who bring in the money and pay the bills were saved from the budget ax, and it’s the writers, editors and artists who got hosed again. The excuses are different, but the result is the same. The parting on the left is now a parting on the right, and the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Please (I’m beggin’ ya) tell me I’m wrong.

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