The Vanishing Developer
Brandon & Owings were the best lawyers in the tri-state area. Their firm, B&O Law, needed a better website. B&O interviewed several web agencies as well some lone programmers. They received proposals ranging from $7,000 to $30,000. Finally, they decided on the lowest bid from a local website developer who seemed enthusiastic and skilled.
The contract was signed and deposit transferred. The developer sent several emails asking for content. The B&O office staff promptly responded, sending all the needed website content. A couple of weeks passed with no update, B&O asked the developer for a status report. It was a long holiday weekend and on the next workday, an email arrived with several unimaginative designs that looked like they were lifted from other law websites. The B&O executives were underwhelmed and sent back a list of their concerns and feedback.
Another couple of weeks crawled by. Again, B&O had to prod the developer for a progress report. The following day, they received a long apologetic email that mentioned a family emergency, a missing rabbit, and a broken laptop. A week later a new design arrived that was acceptable. Attempting to speed things along, B&O approved the design to be programmed. The developer promptly send an invoice for a progress payment which was paid in full.
Three weeks limped by. It was now over two months since the project’s inception and the Brandon & Owings team were getting frustrated because there was no communication from the developer. The B&O staff called and emailed with a stern request for a project status. The next day they got an email saying that everything was going well and that by the end of the week he would send a link to the beta website for review. The end of the week came and went. The following week B&O sent an official complaint letter demanding access to their website.
The developer apologized in an email that included a soap opera about ongoing sick rabbit-needy mother-espresso-doused computer saga, but he did include a link to the erstwhile beta website.
“Finally!” shouted the marketing coordinator at Brandon & Owings. She gathered the team to the conference room and connected a computer to the big screen. They sat around the conference table to view the site. They fully expected to see a robust, attractive new website that would announce their new branding to the world. With anticipation, they launched the URL. The homepage loaded and… it looked just like the one they had seen several months ago in the developer’s portfolio. They clicked on the About B&O page…nothing there. With increasing disappointment, they clicked on the Services page…and saw nothing. Reluctantly, they clicked on the Contact page. This time, the screen flashed a map of Eastern Europe and some empty boxes. Fingers were pointed. The firm’s CEO turned ruby red with wrath.
Calls to the developer were unanswered. “This isn’t close to finished!” screamed the email from B&O. “We demand a meeting to determine next steps.” But no response was received. Finally, a week later, they received a wimpy message from the developer. “Sorry, dudes. I’m moving out of state. I’ll contact you when I’m resettled.” But they never heard from him again.