A white labelled website is produced by one company (the website designer) and another company (the reseller) rebrand to make it appear as if they had made it.
This is good for the reseller as they are able to sell websites that they either don’t have the capacity or ability to produce.
It may also seem beneficial to the website designer, after all they essentially get a lead without any marketing efforts, but in reality it is not necessarily beneficial for either the website designer, or most importantly, the end client.
The main reason for this the lack of communication between the website designer, and the end client, let me explain…
A website designer shouldn’t design a website from a pre-supplied specification document, but should form a relationship with their client to ascertain the purpose of the website and the function of each detail within it. The sitemap, layout, design, page content, marketing and every other aspect should be built specifically for an individual client, and it’s very unlikely this will all be supplied upfront as there are usually questions and decisions to be made. Yes the website designer can make assumptions, but each assumption may make the website slightly less effective.
Typically the reseller is a marketing agency or graphic designer looking to provide a complete package to their client and this can lead to complications. Even if the marketing or graphic design agency are very competent in what they do, it’s possible that either their experience does not necessarily lie in website design, or even if it does that they have a different vision than the website designer. This can result in can a product that is either a badly formed hybrid of two strategies, or even worse one that is managed by someone who isn’t ‘qualified’ to do so.
The reseller of course could pass messages between the website designer and their client, which may work for smaller conversations, but will never be as effective as a conversation in person or over the phone.
Assuming the marketing agency or graphic designer are both skilled in web design, and have the same vision as the website designer the problems may seem to disappear. Unfortunately this is still not necessarily the case.
Every company functions slightly differently, with different ways of producing specifications, different quality assurance processes, and different pricing strategies. The website designer will produce a specification or quote for the reseller which they will agree to, and in turn this will be mirrored more or less to the end client. However, unless the two contracts, the two sets of terms and conditions, and importantly the same assumptions made through conversations are identical there is potential for issue.
Typically a website designer will have a conversation with the client either before or during a build, and the client will ask for something out of scope of the project. The website designer will usually think back to past conversations, assess the change request, and then decide whether to include it or not within the original agreement. The website designer can use their knowledge of the project to determine how much time it is likely to take and whether it should be included free of charge.
However, throw a middleman in to the mix and problems can easily occur. In conversation the reseller may agree to something seemingly simple, yet in realty it could be a major change. Their misunderstanding of the underlying system results in a sticky situation where the end client has been promised that something will happen, and the web designer hasn’t agreed it. Who is responsible for the bill?
Effective websites should be built as a collaboration between the website designer and the end client and any obstacles put in between can cause issues.
There are of course a few ways to make website white labelling more effective.
Firstly a good and verbose relationship between the website designer and the reseller. If the reseller mirrors the web agencies concepts and processes, and keeps in constant communication, then problems can be reduced.
Secondly, and probably the best solution is that the reseller could make it clear to the end client that they are not making the website and the website designer and client can freely discuss details both before and throughout the build. This usually requires a high level of trust (or an appropriate contract) by the reseller as it’s important they, as the middle man, are not cut out of the loop.
Or finally the website designer could factor in a higher level of discussions and specification creep to their costs. This of course isn’t as good for the end client who is likely to pay for this as well as the reseller’s management fee.
The white labelling of websites can work and does work, but it’s a very tricky formula to get correct.
Here at Webbed Feet UK we’ll consider most projects, but prefer a straight forward relationship between us and our clients. We can then ensure that we promise what we can deliver, and deliver what we promised!
We are Webbed Feet UK, we are website designers in Salisbury.