Just to point out a new website www.gbbo.co.uk has been created, planning on "Getting British Business Online" - target is to create 100,000 websites for SMEs, completely free.
It's an initiative from Google, Enterprise UK, BT, etc. You choose your own .co.uk domain name, and they expect that within 20 minutes (entering details yourself) you could have a website pretty much ready to view.
Now, it does seem pretty good for any small business wanting an online presence at no cost (there will only be the domain renewal fee to pay in a couple of years), but it certainly smacks a lot of website designers in the face, and the BIS with Peter Mandelson gave it the Government's backing last week when it was launched.
Certainly there could be spin-offs for web developers, but having seen quite a lot making dramatic cuts in prices to attract business, it's really just too hard to compete with "FREE" while Google, BT, and PayPal no doubt expect some longer term benefits from this...
(Right, now I can make very little from encouraging start ups, I'm glad I didn't spend a small fortune on business cards and advertising of my own... rant over!)
Infuriating for you but maybe not as much of a worry as you think. I've been looking at the site and there is a big catch as far as I can see.
Suppose I use gbbo to set up my company web site. I have free use for two years and invest two years work in getting all my customers to use the site. My business is based around it. Then in 2 years time, BT makes their currently unspecified charge for the next two years which is what? £1,000, £3,000, £10,000 pa.? Having been on the end of BT's agressive pricing policies before, I would be quite wary.
I am not going to say your fears are unfounded Kathy, because I know exactly what you mean.
However in this case, the scheme is being promoted by the partners (including a government agency) with the following commitment:
"The creation and hosting of your website will be free forever, your .co.uk web address is free for two years, then a few pounds every two years beyond this."
And of course if/when the scheme doesn't provide everything you need for your website, you can move it away to another provider - UK domain names are registered through an independent authority which prevents web hosts from having the ability to hold their customers to ransom.
Personally I am not sure how much of a risk to the freelance web designer/host this is, but if I was MrSite I would be really worried.
any one thinking of a GBBO site be warned the initiative is a form of entrapment ...we have no real control over the site...read this article posted by me on the gbbo helpsite http://customer-service.bttradespace.com/gbbo/topics/helplineread_on_for_ways_to_helpour selves It may help others avoid the pitfalls here
I created a site using GBBO yesterday (for my new business) My opinion? It is awful! Looks so unprofessional and I literally spent all day building this site, I really do not think you have anything to worry about....the kind of people that would use web designers would not settle for the tacky results gained for free using GBBO.
I think people looking for v basic websites will use it and could then provide you with a lot of leads - website owners who are starting to want more, who you can approach later along the lines of 'frustrated with the limitations of the GBBO templates? I can help you build a site that does x, y, z'
The original GBBO support number 0800 500 3123 and GBBO FAQ help page have now stopped working.
Anyone who created their GBBO website during 2010/2011, and requires support / help managing, renewing, or transferring their GBBO website, can find the original FAQ page on our website. (can't link to it, as nannynet will delete it)