Thanks Anyway

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You remember there was a blurb in the Trib the other day about the Great Falls Development Authority website being somewhat outdated? Well, after I wrote my somewhat admittedly less-than-complimentary entry, I thought it might be cool to help the GFDA with their website issue, so I e-mailed one of the folks and said, quite simply, that I saw the Trib mention and that I might be able to help. The response that I received:

I appreciate the offer. It’s true that our website needs some work and we’re looking for the right person or group to do the work, however, I can tell you that mocking my organization is not the right way to get your foot in the door (featured comment on Yes, John Kramer’s face is still prominent on the website and he has been gone since May, however, there are some facts that were left out of that particular criticism. The new president of this organization started work in Great Falls just 2 ½ weeks ago. The search process took almost 4 months. I served as the Interim President during that period and it just didn’t make sense to me to spend the money on a website update only to do it again once our new president was on board. Now that everything is in place, we want to start the website design project in earnest.

Well, I may have been a bit snarky in my blog entry, but I wasn’t mocking him or the GFDA; rather, my comment was directed at the “mind set” of many business folks who seem to believe that in order to have an effective website, you have to pay someone else large sums of money and wait for a long time for the finished product. Which, sadly, he seemed to validate in his reply: “…it just didn’t make sense to me to spend the money on a website update only to do it again once our new president was on board.” Aye carumba! So I replied to him:

Hi — first, thanks for taking the time to respond. Second, my apologies for appearing to be mocking your organization — rather, I was somewhat amused (and a bit frustrated) by what I anticipated to be a “traditional” response of a typical organization in such a situation — which you addressed explicitly in your e-mail: didn’t make sense to me to spend the money on a website update only to do it again once our new president was on board. See, the point is that it DOESN’T “take money” to update a website — once, twice, or a dozen times. You visited one of my websites already (, and I can tell you quite simply that owning, creating, and maintaining a website is not nearly as complicated as most people think. I created my sites with virtually NO money — other than the $8.95 annual domain registration, and perhaps a few dollars per month for hosting (under $20 each). They can all be updated literally within seconds — with no “genius” programming knowledge or extensive background in computers.
To address one of your specific points: once Mr Kramer left and you took over the daily operations, you could have added your picture to the front page with a brief note explaining to visitors that you were the interim head of the GFDA, and look forward to helping, etc. Once the new director arrived, just replace your face & message with his. With that, visitors to the site would have known precisely who they were dealing with during those few months without a formal director, and would have seen your face and known that YOU were the one to talk to at that time. My two cents.
I offered to help you & your organization — not for money — but out of a sincere desire to help the GFDA accomplish the goal of attracting and increasing business in Great Falls. I wasn’t seeking to be “hired” or paid — I only offered to show you a few options for website maintenance that I happen to be familiar with, and which are inexpensive and simple.
So. If you want any assistance from me, I’d be more than happy to help. If you would rather try other avenues, I wish you the best and hope that the GFDA continues to work towards making Great Falls a wonderful place.

His reply:

I’m looking to hire out the design of our website. The President and Board of this organization pay me to generate leads, develop prospects and close deals. They don’t pay me to create and maintain websites.
Simply put, I’m looking for a vibrant, dynamic and interactive website with a searchable real estate database, news and event sections and an area to download newsletters and our brochure.

I don’t know how to interpret the tone of his follow-up message.
I give up. He wins.



  1. It sounds to me as though he is not “open” to anything other than a “professional” to do the website…which would cost him more than he is willing to pay at this time.

    *IMHO* He must not be the internet geek type. LOL

  2. A reasonable man would have just ignored your email instead of engaging you with that lame ego trip infested tone. He doesn’t think a dynamic web presence “generates leads and develops prospects”? What decade is he living in? We all recognize a web site that isn’t maintained and associate it with a second rate organization. Web sites are not a onetime purchase event. I’ll remember this exchange the next time they ask me for a check.

  3. Let me get this straight; the GFDA would rather continue to have an embarrassing, out of date website rather than accept an offer of a free update from a community member?

    You know, just because you are looking for a new vendor doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your current “promotional materials” up-to-date.

  4. I’d love your help with improving our web strategy. One of my goals is to better tap into the strong and diverse assets in Great Falls and beyond. The community spirit is amazing.

    If you would like to help, please email me at:
    [email protected]


    President, Great Falls Development Authority

  5. Blogging friends – Brett Doney is a great addition to the Great Falls community and the GFDA’s efforts to attract primary sector jobs to Great Falls.
    David, please contact him and call me – you two should put your heads together, and I’d love to be there. You are two of Great Falls’ biggest boosters and I’d love to see you working together.
    I have great respect for your web skills, David! Lunch in the next couple of weeks?

  6. Pingback: WP for the Win | Greater Falls!

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