Web Template Scam
Scores of web designers today are incredibly deceitful and are fundamentally scamming their clients out of money through web design fraud and template scams.
While doing some freelance work, there are a lot of web designers out there who offer to do web design service for very cheap. A lot of the time this includes offering their "custom web design" service. Shrugging my shoulders, I usually say to myself, "Oh well, I offer my quality services at a premium and some clients simply want cheap designs… for cheap", and move on.
Custom Designed Templates
Then one day I noticed one of my friends made a job posting looking for a web designer and online marketer. After contacting him to get more details what he was looking for, he goes on to tell me how hard it is to find outstanding and trustworthy web designers. He recently was talking back and forth with a designer that agreed to create a custom design to update one of their older websites. A couple of weeks later, after lots of dialog back and forth of about what he was looking to get done, the designer finally showed him the design. He couldn't help but to start laughing at the designer when he saw the design.
The "custom design" that the designer showed him was clearly a standard web template. Even though my friend is not a web designer, he could easily tell the difference between a pre-made template and a custom web design. Web templates are not hard to spot once you have the experience of working with them.
How to Spot a Scam
If you would like to train yourself to be able to determine whether a design is a template or not, the quick and easy way to learn the difference is to simple visit Template Monster and browse through all their web templates. Probably within a few minutes, you will notice that most of their templates basically look the same. The colors, images, flash and text all change but you will start to notice that they all just look like... templates.
When you are done, you can visit a site such as CSS Mania and browse through their listings. You will notice that each and every design listed has simply one thing in common - uniqueness. It's this uniqueness you want to be looking for. Take some time and review a design from a designer.
Template vs Custom Design
Can you make the distinctions between a custom design and basic ready-made template:
Obviously, the custom design is on the left and the web template is on the right. This is just a basic example used for illustration purposes only. It's not really fair to pick and choose website designs to compare, but hopefully it'll help you able to spot template scams from schiesty web designers.
Know the Difference
Immediately, the "web designer" in question started getting defensive regarding his design and things blew up from there.
The sad truth is that the designer probably bought (or downloaded illegally for free) that template for $30, modified it for an hour or two, then was trying to submit it as his own custom web design and sell it off for about $2,000.
My friend jokingly made the comment that this is "actually a great way to make easy money". It definitely is - if you have no ethical morals and like scamming honest and hardworking individuals and businesses.
What I have learned in the past year or so, is that there are an amazing amount of people in today's world will do anything to make a quick buck – even if it means screwing over their friends, family, or more often their own clients. Greed, not money, is the root of all evil.
From a designer standpoint, every web designer should know the differences from offering someone a template vs a custom design. However, with my clients I clearly make the advantages and disadvantages of both made before I take the project and let them choose whichever suits them best. The main deciding factor on which one to choose is usually money.
You can definitely offer a template at a cheaper price than a custom design, but do not try to pass off a template as a custom design. If you are looking for an ethical and trustworthy web designer, send us a free website consultation service request. We will make sure to treat you with the honesty and respect you, and your website, deserves.
If you've experienced a web design scam yourself firsthand, please feel free to post a comment outlining what happened and how you'd help others learn from your mistakes.
* Get the latest web design tips & advice by subscribing to our rss feed or by email.