Free-pitching blights website consultancies

Website designers are calling for an end to the proliferation of free-pitching in the interactive media sector. There are free pitches “by the bucket-load”, says AMX Digital design director Malcolm Garrett, “and it’s getting worse”.

Designers’ over-enthusiasm to get into the market at any price, and a lack of website understanding among clients are contributing to the situation. “Designers want to have one or two websites under their belts so they are prepared to [pitch] for nothing. It’s a complete nightmare,” says Nucleus Design managing director Peter Matthews.

Consultancies specialising in website design have to free-pitch for around 60 per cent of jobs, says Online Magic marketing communications manager Alan Vanstone.

“A few years ago only the trainspotters knew how to do it, but nowadays every graduate has html and so there is more competition for the work,” says Amaze head of technology Ben Last.

Designers are also expected to compete against companies which are not so averse to free-pitching – specialist website groups, small operations, advertising agencies and conventional IT companies.

Even big clients are guilty of asking for free pitches, according to Matthews and Garrett. But some designers believe bigger companies are starting to realise that to get the best work, pitches need to be paid. “As the industry has evolved, pitching has become more complex and costly. Clients are taking it more seriously and have realised that consultancies must be paid,” says Vanstone.

Although the situation is better than it was two years ago, “free-pitching must be tackled; the Web design industry must follow other design media,” Vanstone says.

“What design consultancies have not done is to grab the moral high ground early enough,” says Matthews.

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