Web Development: $3500 and still not right.

I’m amazed when I see this sort of items appear in front of me.

Some one paying thousands of dollars for a ‘web site’ and getting what amounts to automatically generated rubbish, or unplanned scripting errors and the like.

The business today I spoke to had an issue with a website they paid $3,500 for, and over the course of a few years, apparently near $5000. It’s nothing too flash, a bit of a flash entry page, then a template CMS overlayed with CSS, and a cart system added from an outsourced company bundled together for the sum of $3,500.

Amazing, right?

Well, the developer of the website refuses to support it any more, and the issue presented to me was the check out process was broken, and taking credit cards wasn’t working.

So, I got into action later on, working from the ground through the process, isolating the error, and then finding a fix for it.

The first issue was a lack of recognition of currency, the cart thought “AU”, where as the actual is “AUD” (matched in database).

So, I overrode its detection and coded it for AUD, and that works for that bit.

Fixed in moments.

Then, came the second issue, eWay payments not being processed. Not a tricky one, considering the error message told us all anyway. The system uses an XML sheet POST / Response request to send and receive data from eWay, and it was not able to resolve www.eway.com.au . No biggy, that’s easily solved with coding the IP into the system instead.

Well, I was wrong, the SSL certificate needs to match the domain name for XML HTTP, so that meant the hard way about it, getting DNS resolution working on the Intaserve web hosting.

I contacted the company and advised DNS resolution wasn’t working on one of the servers they have, and the response I got back consisted of a ping attempt to the computer name of the server.

Gee, I didn’t say I couldn’t resolve it, I said IT couldn’t resolve.

Anyway, I tested moments later after sending them an email that they needed to investigate DNS resolution on the server itself, and after testing, discovered the issue was fixed (probably from the client contacting the host directly).

So, that was all well and good. Fixed. Website works A-OK.

The question remains however, will I get paid my fee for fixing that? They claim they shouldn’t pay, because they’ve paid $3,500 to someone to fix it.

By pure co-involvement with the developer (not developing however), he believes that he shouldn’t pay as he paid for it when the site was established.

My counter argument here is that I didn’t develop the site, I merely suggested I fix the website, and I get paid if I fix it.

The site is fixed, hey, I thought they’d have no issue paying my minor suggested fee, and I’m a productive person anyway, I use my time wisely, while they are considering whether to pay me, I have the job done, they pay.

I’m not destructive either, so, if they don’t pay, essentially it’s just $33.00 lost (my fee for fixing it, took about 30 minutes to an hour).

I’m still amazed at the $3,500 charged, for something with such an issue (it’s an inconsistency issue), and the other issue being a DNS issue.

But, I’m now amazed at the businesses apparent refusal to cough up $33.00 for the time I spent on fixing the website, which they claimed they so badly needed (even resorting to threatening the co-associate with legal action, he doesn’t actually develop any more).

It’s $33.00. If you are losing as many sales as you claim you are, the $33.00 will be easily found in the profits of future sales.

It’s not really bothering me, and I won’t name names here (except the webhost, they should have their own gear in order and make sure DNS resolution is possible for customers by having multiple DNS servers), it’s not really a big issue, it’s just amazing that they spent so much on what amounts to around half that in actual presentable work, and the reluctance to pay for something they were claiming cost them sales, and were ready to launch legal action to try and solve anyway.

I should up my development prices, if there are suckers out there paying so much for so little, I should start profiting. It’s in my best interests to do so.


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