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Cost for 1 website = $18,000,000.00

Discussion in 'Digital Marketing' started by mdvaden, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,944

  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah but, have you ever even attempted to build, say a functional search box?
    Granted, one can download the perl backbone for most any type of search engine
    and then all one would have to do is modify it to fit the application, but have you
    ever looked at the CODE?!

    Imagine if you would, building a database that tracks every facet of government spending,
    from the tiniest burg on through the county level and every state and then all the way to
    the big house, don't forget this has to include every last government agency, even Vdot and DMV.
    Then, make it so that people can search that, by location, date, and it would be nice if folks
    could peruse by category too, don't forget navigation.

    18m might sound like a lot but go on and drop it all on a server, install, test, the whole nine yards,
    oh and it has to be secure, there WILL be hacking attempts.

    ...These folks with their news ought to stick to reporting the facts, I don't particularly care for the editorial opinions.
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Just the search engine, a search box looks so simple...
    But behind that rests software that collects the data and drops it in a database,
    the same software then can also retrieve said data anytime a search is performed.

    ... I'm not sure if this is the right thing, but it would look something like this (it scrolls down a ways):
    That's just for the backbone of a search engine, and I believe that one is small and hence not that functional,
    I've seen perl code 10 thousand plus lines long, it's just ridiculous even thinking of fooling with that.

    Real time now, we want to see this here government spending data up to date!

    You know I'm just saying, it's going to take a lot of folks a lot of work to launch this one little Web site.
    And maybe 18m is too much, but I ain't making that decision.
  4. mikey.hill

    mikey.hill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    I'm just going to go out on a limb here and assume that you have no idea the amount of engineering and complexity that is involved in developing a functioning website. You see, often times people have the misconception that a simple task is very simple, but just as often they are wrong. Case in point - reach down and tie your shoes, but while your tying them think about what each step involves. Not just put the left string over your right, but try to think from the standpoint of a robot. Not only do you have to define movements, i.e. move this muscle, rotate this joint, grasp the string with this amount of pressure - you also need to define parameters, limits not to mention underlying factors such as blood flow bone density. These may seem very mundane but they are infact very relevant and failure of one of these functions could result in the failure to be able to complete a simple task of tying ones shoes. Now I know you might be thinking, a web application is not a robot nor is it a human; but the way they work are very much alike.

    I'm a professional apps developer. I work for large startups as well as consult on major projects including several open source projects. I know what is involved here so let me just give you a very incomplete list.

    1. UI - what's wrong with the current site. How do we fix it. How do we create a site that is simple to use but effective and efficient. User testing - Refactor - User testing - complete
    2. Database design - this isn't a mom and pop ecommerce site they're building. This is a system designed and built to scale to an obscene amount of users. Think facebook - then multiply that by 10. Now assuming that the existing data isn't in some obscure format we have to somehow build a new revolutionary system and then tie that data into everything else. And - we have to do it so it's fast. A simple ms of extra processing time adds up to millions of dollars worth of wasted bandwidth, energy and overall ability to function over the period of a year.(think google - by removing the closing </body></html> tags from their very basic search page they save approx. 30tb of data transfer per day).
    3. System architecture - again, design a system to not only be functional but scalable and available 24x7 using secure and proven technologies. This kind of page isn't going up on your friends lunarpages shared hosting account. Think fully operational datacenter with redundant power supplies, backups, efficient and adequate cooling, security, proper equipment and multiple connections. Not cheap - last I checked myspace's monthly internet bill was in the millions.
    4. Now build the application to put it all together. As a developer myself, I can tell you that a good developer will make in the range of 80 - 100k per year. Now factor in things like project management so the programmers can program, frontend guys can do their thing and design guys can provide the necessary supported needed. Now that you've built that, translate it to every major language and btw it needs to be W3C and 508 compatible. My last site was a fairly basic site for a national recruiting agency. The company itself consisted of about 20 local agencies all with their own page, employment info, job listings etc... After all was said and done we ended up with about 200k lines of code. Some generated from our framework, some for orm information and some from js frameworks and other fringe aspects but a bulk of that was our code.

    So that's a brief rundown of what it takes to build a site like this and i'm not even touching on things like security, QA testing and such. TBO 18mil sounds low for this type of project. Paypal, which we've all used and seems to be a fairly simple operation went through around 250mil before they even turned a profit. I know of course this isn't a for profit site - but I'm just saying, there is so much more that has to happen than most people, even most web developers ever understand. As a side note I have a very close relative that this site will be targeted towards. I've seen first hand the frustrations of dealing with what currently available and it is NOT adequate for this situation. Obama is actually doing something very smart and I personally believe will lower the overall cost of dealing with these current problems rather than sticking to traditional scatter methods which have proven costly inefficient and frustrating to both the users and administrators.
  5. mikey.hill

    mikey.hill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Just wanted to note in the above post I misrepresented the number of facebook users(actually est. to be 200 mil) which is approx. the amount that this system will service over its lifecycle.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  6. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,944

    Yep ...

    You went out on a limb. I know what websites can cost.

    There is no real need to waste $18,000,000 dollars on a website that most likely could be eliminated altogether.

    Just one more California-Like waste where money that we don't have is spent. That's exactly the path California went down.
  7. mikey.hill

    mikey.hill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    Tell you what. You list a few websites and what you think they cost and I'll stop you when you're out of your league.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2009
  8. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    Well, I have to agree that $ 18 M is just another example of the "change" agent (i.e.-Obama) spending money without regard to tax payor interests !!
  9. mikey.hill

    mikey.hill LawnSite Member
    Messages: 145

    This thread obviously has nothing to do with the issues at hand but personal views on our President and the people you and I elected into office. Republican, democrat, independent ... yadayadayada... go post this garbage in the political discussions.
  10. lifetree

    lifetree LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,369

    It has everything to do with the issues at hand ... he said he was going to "spend our money wisely" !! I hardly call this a wise expenditure.

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