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  1. #1
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    Website Design Market Leaders

    Hi,

    Firstly, let me introduce myself. My name is Daniel Dutton. I'm a website designer/developer based in the UK. This is my first post so apologies if I break the rules in any way.

    I have a single question which I believe would be good for debate. Any views/opinions/criticisms are gladly welcome.

    Why are there no big players in the website design/development industry? In most other industries, it is easy to name one or two market leaders.

    Cola is divided between Coca Cola and Pepsi. Operating Systems are mostly Microsoft (I'm a Fedora Core user myself, but I won't go into that now . If I want a burger, McDonalds or Burger King are the names that spring to mind.

    However, if I were a business (big or small) wanting a website, I wouldn't be able to think of a company name that I could turn to first. I think it would be a choice of:

    1) Turning to the Yellow Pages and calling up a few random numbers from the 'Web Design' section.
    2) Speaking to my regular Graphic Design/Publishing firm or IT/Outsourcing firm who just happen to do websites too.

    I work in the the industry and I couldn't tell you a big firm that gets the lions share of the market! It seems to be shared out between small local design/marketing/development firms. I'm not against small local firms. In the examples above, I could just as easily get myself Virgin Cola, Solaris or visit the local takeaway. But it seems to me that the website design industry has lots and lots of these smaller businesses with no industry leader to compare with.

    Sure, I know who my local competition are but there does not seem to be any national/international competition and I want to know why.

    I have a lot of opinions with regards to this thread and invite you all to comment. If this thread gets enough feedback, I'll gladly share them with the group but, I think for the moment I'll leave it at that ( I wouldn't want to write a lengthy post only to see it fall down the pecking order hour after hour and drift away into the sunset without a single response).

    Thanks for reading and please let me know if I'm wrong and there are industry leaders out there.

    Daniel

  2. #2
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    Well, there aren't any house hold brand names, but there are a few big companies out there...

    www.APlus.net

    www.WebXites.com .. and others..

    They are mostly Design/Hosting Companies. They aren't generally very good on the design end, they design cheap cookie cutter sites...I'm not sure about APlus but I know WebXites is doing very well, they were in Entrepreneur Magazines Hot 100 list over the summer...They did something like 8.5 million in revenue this year. 8.5M is a lot of money but I don't even know what kind of a market share that even is. I'd love to get my hands on some reports detailing dollars spent on web design services.

  3. #3
    - Michael - Bytecon's Avatar
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    The name has just slipped my mind so obviously it isn't that important, However if I remember it I will post it! This is annoying ..

  4. #4
    SitePoint Wizard johntabita's Avatar
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    This phenomenon isn't limited to our field. I went to a seminar today, hosted by a business coaching firm, so now I'm thinking, who's the market leader in that industry? Of course there isn't one, because, like web design, the barrier to entry is extremely low. There's no way I could start a cola company, but with some expertise and a computer I can become a web designer, graphic artist, business consultant, and so forth. (Heck, one of the better-known consultants, Alan Weiss, runs his firm out of his home, with no employees and earns seven figures.) So comparing cola and fast food to web design is comparing apples to oranges.

    While there aren't one or two industry leaders, there certainly are some big players, and these are the ones that the Fortune 500 companies seem to seek out. I'm sure each metropolitian area has at least one big player that dominates that region. Locally, there's a large firm in my town with 15+ employees, been featured on CNN, etc. They "dominate" in the sense that everyone in town knows them and they've worked with most the bigger companies in the area (even though none of the smaller businesses can afford them).

    The other thing about industry leaders such as Microsoft and McDonalds is that they have the power of their brand behind them, which they paid good money to get. So people naturally associate them with that product. There is no similar branding effort behind web development, or other professional services, because it is not a mass-market product. So instead of brand-association being the trigger, the buying process is relational. That is, people tend to ask those that they know and trust if they can recommend anyone who provides these services.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=DanielDuttonThis is my first post so apologies if I break the rules in any way.[/QUOTE]Why not just read the rules before posting??

    About your topic... even though web design is sold by some as a cheap commodity like shared web hosting, I think most businesses would consider it a professional service. While there are some big players in professional consulting industries (like law firms, accounting agencies, etc.) I think medium/small companies get the majority of the business.

    There will be a WalMart of website development one day... 1&1 and other huge web hosts are trying to be them now with website builder packages. But as long as there are people wanting professional websites, there will be a market. I don't think, however, that there will be a big name like Coca Cola or Microsoft in the web development business. I don't see any one company gaining that much market share.


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