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Subject: RE: UKNM: Incorrect Use of Client Reference Sites
From: Robin Edwards
Date: Fri, 3 Apr 1998 11:06:18 +0100

On Wednesday, April 01, 1998 12:18 PM, Jonathon Dempster

[SMTP:jonathonatpurplei [dot] com] wrote:
> Kirsty Yes !!!

<gobsmacking example snipped>

> While this an extreme case
> Kirsty's point raises some relevant questions.
> 1: If a Web house has done work for a client in the past and that work has
> been superceeded by a re-build by another company, is the original companies
> claim still valid?

Kind of, in my opinion, if it is clearly labelled as old work. If a link to the
new site is included, and none of their own work is still there, then this
should be explained too. As I touched on yesterday, if you do link to your own
bit of someone else's run site, make sure it still works because they may have
shuffled things around. My favoured approach, if none of your work remains on
the site, would be to just list the name and maybe to explain what you did. I
forget who it is now, but one agency gives a description, brief, live dates,
screen shots and contact email addresses for each past and present client. This
is highly commendable from an accuracy point of view.

> 2: Can a Web house who have been asked to re-touch a site that they had no
> involvement with the main build of justifiably claim to have said company as
> a client ?

In some respects, most definitely. If they were asked to make a site look or
work better because the client wanted either a better job done, or a fresh
outlook, then the agency has every right to be chuffed with their work. Again,
this needs some form of explanation on their site I think. Blindly pointing to
the home page (which may credit another agency with the work) is misleading at

> 3: Can companies who report that, although they have no major wins under
> their belts, have staff with extensive experiance of major site builds be
> respected?

Umm, probably! Although most of us here have probably been around since '94 or
'95 in this field, what about those that have folded and scattered to the wind,
only to resurface as new agencies? I imagine with the demise of Webmedia as we
knew it, many smaller agencies or start-ups will be drawing on the talent, and

the client names of the new staff. I think there's nothing wrong with this if
it is clearly stated. Again, putting blind links, or client names on a client
list, that are not directly the responsibility of the new agency could be
asking for trouble.

> When instucting a Web house I would request to see live work, non-live work
> and the specifacation and pitch documentation for that work, prior to
> including them on a pitch list.
> As well as the usual checks I would also ask for references from those
> clients so that I could quickly check the facts if there was any ambiguity.
> It is so easy to produce 'white lies' as to the amount of work undertaken by
> a Web House, that these checks are the only way of cutting through the
> dross.

The difficulty here is trying to get companies to ask these questions. This
issue needs more exposure in the press so they can be informed.

I wonder how much of this goes on in the trad agency world? Do agencies try and
get away with saying "We did that Coke advert last year" because the real
agency name was not on the bottom of the screen?

Robin Edwards
Clockworx Design Limited
T: +44 1543 252370 F: +44 1889 578789
E: robinatclockworx [dot] co [dot] uk W: http://www.clockworx.co.uk/

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