Are You Being Held Hostage By Your Third‑party Vendor?


November 21, 2008

This is a story that I hear over and over again from customers (Note: no customer should feel that I am writing about them. I hear it all the time.)  “Well,” the customer says to me, “We’d really like to add that OnClick event, or that JavaScript snippet, or those text links at the bottom of our page, but the third party vendor will charge us $3000 to do it.”  Yesterday, a potential customer said to me, “I feel, just let me add the stupid JavaScript, I can do it in three minutes for free.”

Third party web application vendors bring a lot of value. They may manage important pieces of your site, and they may have great applications that would cost you a lot of money to create yourself. But before you sign on the dotted line, find out what the upkeep costs will be.  Don’t ever believe that there won’t be upkeep costs. Sure, you’ll be able to do a lot of the work in your CMS, but there will be plenty of architectural (or just JavaScript tags) that you’ll need them to add for you. Get an agreement right up front on how much it costs (and what “it” means, is it hourly, or by the line of code or what?)  The third part deserves to make a profit, I recognize. But once you sign on the bottom line, there is no competition and they can charge you whatever they like. So get it in writing.