P> Web Developers Perform Invaluable Services
Your article, "Party May Be Over for Web Services" (WT, March 21), significantly misrepresents what it is that Web site developers do for the fee that they receive. In most cases, the major costs associated with building the site come from the labor required to generate and plan the content, design the graphics and make the world aware of the Web site. Actually writing the HTML code is just a small part of the process and the costs.
Web site development is very much like photography -- people can buy a $10 disposable camera at a drug store to take pictures of their child to send to grandma, but that hardly makes them professional photographers. Their lack of knowledge of things such as perspective, lighting and planning an interesting photograph makes them unqualified to shoot pictures for a professional corporate brochure. It is always perplexing to see a company that would never dream of snapping its own photos and [photocopying its brochure] put up a Web site that looks similarly unprofessional.
It is (and always has been) trivially easy to learn to write HTML. The new tools such as Page Mill reduce the labor required, but do not fundamentally alter the process.
What is not easy is to create effective and professional marketing and business communication on the Internet, and then make the world aware that it exists. Building an effective presence still takes professional design skills, on-line marketing experience, a sound understanding of the on-line culture and strong media relationships. Many of these skills take years to develop.
Your story talks about exorbitant fees charged by Web developers -- $3 million or more, but your readers should understand that these fees are not at all typical. A major site that requires a team of 30 people to work for a year to develop and maintain might reasonably run into this price range (such as putting a major daily newspaper on-line), but most sites can be completed with far [fewer] resources.
A small business should expect to pay a few thousand dollars to have a top developer build a modest but professional site. Larger businesses hosting larger amounts of content, on-line databases or catalogs will experience greater charges.
As the owner of a high-end Internet marketing and public relations firm, I can tell you that the overhead costs of doing what we do are not trivial, and it is misrepresentation to assert that most firms such as ours are making a fortune. Beyond having to purchase high-end computer equipment for our staff and T1 Internet connections for our server, the type of talent required to do top-notch graphic design work, Internet strategic planning with the client, systems administration and programming, and conduct media awareness campaigns does not come inexpensively.
Over the past two years, we have built an international client base of companies that gladly pay a fair hourly rate to have us provide best-of-class services on a dependable and responsive basis. If anything, we are presently seeing the rate of growth of our business increase rather than decrease.
Clifford R. Kurtzman, Ph.D.
President and CEO
The Tenagra Corp.
Taxed and Taxed Again
I have read your Opinion piece, "Keep Doors Open to Immigration," (WT, March 21). There seems to be a point of disagreement or misunderstanding. It concerns the attitude that industry should be 'taxed' again because of the failed educational system.
1. The burden of education is the responsibility of the educational system, family and community.
2. The education system should receive honor for its successes and dishonor for its failures.
3. Industry is welcomed into a community for jobs and taxes. Businesses do not vote; individuals do. Businesses are generally considered tax cows, as well as the workers who do not live in the community where the business is located.
4. Industry presently funds many educational grants and institutions. Do not expect much more.
5. Be prepared for continued migration of intellect-based industry out of the country. Labor-intensive industry has already found the door.
We won the Cold War but have failed to understand the ramifications of the economic war. Business is not as usual! Management and labor are discovering this at great cost.
John E. Camp
I read ["Meet the $100 Million Industry Angel" (WT, March 21)] and was very impressed by what Mr. Morino is doing to support the Internet in schools. I am currently vice president of the Seneca Ridge Middle School and am helping them implement information technology within the school.
One project, which is being implemented, is to use the Internet to post student homework assignments. This way, if a student is sick or out for any reason, they can dial in and get their assignments. Parents can also look to see what homework assignments have been scheduled for the week.
We are also looking to design functionality, which will enable students or parents to "interact" with teachers regarding questions on homework assignments or general information requests.
Your article did not indicate how to contact Mr. Morino or his company. Please provide me with an address so I can contact him, and see if he would be interested in working with the Seneca Ridge school.
Seneca Ridge Middle School
Editor's Note: Morino's Potomac KnowledgeWay Project can be reached at (703) 620-8975, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Affirmative Action "Is Race-Based Pork"
I was shocked at the extremely pro-8(a) treatment of the two lead articles (WT, April 11). While discussing favorably the administration's attempts to retain the program, you give short shrift to the opponents of the 8(a) program, and indeed, opponents of "affirmative action" in general.
Every single source you quote is pro-8(a) and pro-"affirmative action." While you mention the Dole-Canady bill and the California Civil Rights Initiative, you fail to mention what they propose. Very simply, both Dole-Canady and CCRI would return us to the plain language of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race. Period.
Apparently this position is too subtle for the deep thinkers at WT and among the self-appointed spokesmen of the "socio-economically disadvantaged." Discrimination on the basis of race, whether negative or positive, is morally wrong and a violation of federal law.
"Affirmative action," or as it should be labeled, "affirmative discrimination," has little to do with the redress of injuries: The 8(a) program, in particular, is simply race-based pork. Both the existing programs and the proposed modifications thereto, as is also generally true of "affirmative action" programs, are based on a premise that has no basis in fact: that all segments of society and the economy should have proportional representation from all groups in society. Dr. Thomas Sowell of the Hoover Institution has spent a lifetime explaining why this premise is simply false.
To be in favor of affirmative discrimination in the modern age is morally equivalent to having been a white supremacist 30 years ago. I cannot continue implicitly tolerating such regressive views as expressed in your publication. Please cancel my subscription immediately.
David G.D. Hecht
Humor in Headlines
I was reading the article (WT, April 11) about those 8(a) companies that received $4.8 billion in contracts last year (seems the annual budget is $3 trillion plus).Then I looked at the bold headline below, "Washington's Megabit Moguls: The Top 100 Masters of the Federal Infotech Universe," my humor could not be contained. Every mogul was a white male decked out in his finest with a large color photo and a full-page spread.
Couldn't help noticing that American Indians did only 8.04 percent of the set-asides.
Carol L. Moseley
CTM Automated Systems Inc.