Web.com vs. Big Commerce

NEB

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Greetings folks,

I am getting ready to launch an e-commerce site to sell apparel online. The store will be small at first, we'll have between 20 and 50 items most likely. We are obviously hoping to grow the business, so having decent scaleability is important. I spoke to some successful online entrepreneurs, and web developers they use, and Big Commerce was highly recommended. So my initial strategy was to launch everything on Big Commerce and go from there. Then one of my partners found out about web.com. They have a promotion going on now, if you do your hosting through them, then build you a free site and hand you the keys.

I need this site to integrate with Facebook, Mailchimp, Amazon, Quickbooks, etc. BC covers most of all of those things. Even if web.com doesn't is the free service the way to go for a beginning enterprise?
 

Mike001

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As a professional web developer I am always skeptical of sites that offer free sites. There is so much to building a professional dynamic eCommerce site that when I see the word FREE I always remember the old adage, you get what you pay for. So I would highly recommend that you do some good research before making your decision. Remember if you want your site to grow and your business to grow you will want to make certain that you OWN all aspects of your initial site.

One of the draw backs I have seen with many of these FREE offers is that you never really own the intellectual property that is created for your domain. If that domain were to become popular and the site were to take off, there could be significant fees associated with building out the site to support that additional traffic and storage capabilities needed as the business grows.

I have always made certain as I develop customer sites that they maintain full ownership of all the developed properties that we develop for them, it is a little more expensive upfront for them, but in the long run saves them money and protects their brand image.

Web.com in based around a drag and drop website generation. This is good for most simple sites but for a good eCommerce site this will normally not work well as you grow. You will want a very dynamic website that is based on a good database back-end and a easily configurable front-end.

Do some research and look through some of the reviews from individuals that are developing web sites similar to yours. here are hundreds of them out there for you to look through.

I hope this helps and gets you thinking about some of the ramifications around using a FREE or almost FREE service, make certain that you understand the overall costs of using these types of services.
 

NEB

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Thanks Mike,

I have the same concern about anything FREE. I have and will continue to research this, but wanted to post something surgical that gets right to the point of BC vs. web.com. I hadn't considered the issue of intellectual property ownership. I assumed web.com would ask us for assets of out brand logo, copy,etc. Somthing to think about if that's not the case.
 

Mike001

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Neb,

That is exactly the problem, they may very well ask you for assets and brand logo, colors, etc and then when you start to grow and want to build the site out to support the additional growth and products it is very possible they could want an additional fee, normally pretty high, to sell you the intellectual property rights to the site that was developed for you for free.

I have seen this before with other providers and in fact it had happened to one of my college students. By the time he realized that his idea was growing faster than the site could keep up, he contacted the provider of the hosting service, who had also helped him assemble the site, and wanted to move the site to a provider that could provide a VPS service. This hosting provider did not support that.

They quoted a ridiculous fee for the rights to the site and let him know that if he copied the look and feel of the current site with out purchasing the site property, they would pursue legal actions against him. If you think it through, they really have you at that point. The site look has become familiar to your customers, they know the domain name, not likely you would change that or you would have to start all over, so it is easy for them to check on the site whenever they get the urge, even if you move it.

Always read the fine print of those FREE agreements.
 

Rob Whisonant

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I really can't add to what Mike has said. He pretty much covered it well. What I can add, is what I always preach about free stuff.

If it is free, YOU are the product. Make sure you are comfortable with that before ever taking anything free.
 

sarthakk

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Yes, always start your venture on some specific platform, so in the end, you will not have to face the problem of migrating your site from free sites to platform-specific sites.
 

NEB

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thanks again for the advice. Migrating any kind of website is a chore at best. Usually a huge pain, so I will advise my partners to avoid that. I also read up on the intellectual property issue, its hard to get eh exact, clear skinny, after all lawyers need to keep themselves in business. But the possibility of having to PAY for what is already essentially mine sounds like a deal-breaker to me.

Thanks again for the advise, folks.
 
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