Larger Web design companies baulk at the idea of doing work building Web sites for less than a #1,000. Many won't even get out of bed for less than #5,000. Not surprising really because it's generally accepted that if you build someone a site in the sub-#1,000 range they will invariably be disappointed with the outcome.
It's a bit like a company wanting a corporate video but only spending a tenth of what it takes. In the Web business, like any other, "you pays your money and takes your choice".
It's a pity because even though about 80,000 UK companies have Web sites already, the usefulness of the Web suffers because there are hundreds of thousands that don't.
This usefulness is most noticeable when it comes to searching the Web for businesses. All very well if you're looking for a computer programmer in San Diego; not so great if you want a carpenter in Rochdale.
The solution? As ever on the Internet it's a question of giving stuff away for free. Yell, the new media part of the Yellow Pages empire has taken the novel approach of offering a one-page site to any business that wants it at no cost. It has taken out advertising in newspapers and has mailshot over one million small and medium-sized businesses.
Yell reckons that apart from the fact that you don't get any graphics on the site, it's an offer worth #250. Others might disagree and there is a slight catch: your page won't appear until at least a few thousand free pages have been completed. Yell claims it's receiving requests at a rate of 1,000 a day and should have the site up by October. It's aiming for a total of 200,000 new sites.
Critics will see the idea as a stunt to help Yell create a new database which links searches to a home page for each business, and Yell isn't denying that it is using all the information (provided in hand-written form) for this purpose. But even if you don't care about being on Yell you still get a Web address of the form (www.yell.sites.yourcompany), which isn't a bad start while you decide how much you really want to spend on building your own site.
Despite the fears of smaller Web design companies, it could actually stimulate design activity. Although most of the companies Yell is targeting are not yet online they may get an Internet connection to have a look at their site when it has been constructed. If they like what they see, they will soon be looking at having a more professional job done.
Yell realises there are plenty of people that would quite like a Web site but don't want to fiddle around with a keyboard, let alone a modem. Once again an Internet service has been priced to sell, and once again the cost has been absorbed by the seller in the hope that the information received is worth more than the cost of provision.
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago