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PBN Book of Lists (Web Design) - Analyzed...

On Friday, Pacific Business News published their list of Web Designers, it is always so interesting to take a more in-depth look at the details to see what they really mean. The list is quite deceiving as it is ranked by annual revenue without regard for the percentage of revenue actually generated by web services. So for instance if Hawaiian Airlines decided they were going to give their Hawaii bound travelers a website to post vacation photos and a forum to blog on their favorite places visited (subtle plug) their percentage of business from the web would be a fraction of a percent however they would appear at the top of the list due to their 2007 revenue. If you re-order the clients based on revenue from the Web you get a slightly different picture, companies like PR Tech, Tsunami and Info Graphik drop to the bottom of the list. Empowered Internet Solutions and Bump Networks are two of the only companies classifying as 100% web business.

(Source: Pacific Business News, Book of Lists) Cynthia has done a great job collecting how many years in business and how many total clients, however a field which would be even more valuable would be how many clients they serviced in a given year. An interesting thing to notice is that Empowered Internet Solutions has more clients than all of the other web designers in Hawaii COMBINED!

Companies often embellish the actual number of clients. When companies are honest about how many Active customers they have you will notice a trend. Most web designers have less than 50 customers as their efforts are on new customers with little in place for maintaining the relationship and updates desired for their existing customers. Web Design typically is looked at as a service for the initial setup rather than as a long term solution. Companies like Bigger Bird and Empowered Internet Solutions place their customers on content management systems (Empowered and other design companies such as Emagine and Aloha Media distribute the Total Site Management application called ZeppOS which enables customers to take full control over their website setting them up with a solution which will grow as their needs increase. An interesting tool is Yahoos site explorer (http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/)which allows you to view how many inbound links exist; although inbound links do not directly correlate to how many clients a company has it is a great indicator of the popularity of a domain. So stepping back, lets take a look at the revenue generated per client. Basing the companies number of clients spread over the number of years in business the companies the statistics show either the companies are only bringing on less than 10 customers a year or they are losing as many customers as they bring on. The last two columns shown below indicate the amount needed from each client for their published revenue to be accurate. Cost per Client is based on the number of clients divided by the year in business; the Adjusted Cost per client column is the revenue spread over 30 customers.

I will be the first to admit there are flaws in the adjusted calculation as Empowered provides Search Engine Optimization which does increase the cost of the web solution. Again, big thanks to Cynthia at PBN, this is not meant to be a gripe session or even a sales pitch for Empowered, simply information which points out a flaw in the report.

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Comment by Rob Bertholf on March 26, 2011 at 4:55pm

Hi Marcus,

Thanks for the kind words!  Naturally this data is several years old now, but it is atleast a general gauge.

PBN reached out to business owners who do web that they knew about, it wasnt very scientific but it was a good attempt.  If you would like to be added to this list I recommend you contact them and introduce or get on their radar by advertising etc.  From what I recall their only requirement is you had to be in business one full year to be eligible.

Comment by Marcus Sortijas on March 26, 2011 at 4:46pm
I've been looking for exactly this kind of picture of the state of Hawaii's web design industry.  You did a great job of putting this into a more useful perspective than just the raw data.

Maybe I missed it, but did you say whether PBN gathers this information, or if the companies voluntarily report the figures themselves?
Comment by Rob Bertholf on January 23, 2009 at 5:27pm
Thanks John! It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the Hawaii Web Market with all of the new dynamics at play.
Comment by John Garcia on January 23, 2009 at 3:23pm
Rob,

Awesome article! It's a nice snapshot of what the local web design/development landscape looks like in the islands. I remember back in the days when you folks were just getting started with webOS.

Hope all is well!
John
Comment by Daniel Leuck on August 12, 2008 at 4:31pm
Hey Rob - Interesting analysis. This is a nice 20,000 foot view of what's happening in the web design space in Hawaii. I'm interested in how PBN assembles this list, how they determine what companies are doing web work, and how they treat companies doing web applications or web software products vs. marketing sites. If this is meant to include all companies making money from the web (SaaS, shrinked wrapped web apps, SEO, etc.) then there are definitely some names missing from the list. Nonetheless, it is informative.

BTW - Congrats on ZeppOS's obvious success.

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