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  1. #1

    Getting web design clients?

    How would you folks suggest I look for clients:

    Do any of you run successful web design companies or services that attract steady consumers? What are your secrets to getting them? Do you have those overly bloated flash template sites or something ?

    I want to spend $0.00 on advertising. I've made fliers, but on my school's dime .

    I'd love to hear your suggestions.

    Do you think my site can attract some consumers (check my signature)?

    This isn't exactly my field - I'm going off to law school next year. I've always enjoyed web design as a hobby; I also think I can make a few bucks on the side doing it. I've made a few bucks in the past, but college got in the way a bit. I'm trying to get back on the horse for this last semester though - maybe I can get a few dollar signs with some effort.
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  2. #2
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    Normally I don't like to be overly critical, but you've put together a recipe for disaster here, and direct replies to your requests for suggestions will have almost no value unless we clear up a few things first!

    Do any of you run successful web design companies or services that attract steady consumers? What are your secrets to getting them?
    I'm just pulling this quote out, because you're strongly implying that you have an ambition to develop a successful business, a strong client list and a steady stream of business.

    I want to spend $0.00 on advertising.
    Don't we all! But given everything that's implied in your first statement, I have to (or perhaps want to) assume that this is just a joke. Successful businesses with strong customer bases didn't achieve this by tripping and falling into a pit of frienzied design clients. If you want to really be taken seriously, there will be costs involved, costs for business registration, costs for local business organizations (Chamber of Commerce is a good start), costs for promotional materials beyond fliers, etc. Those are just barebones costs.

    Do you think my site can attract some consumers (check my signature)?
    Hire a professional copywriter. A cursory glance at your home page content alone produced six major and two minor grammar errors. The design is ok, but am I correct in saying you didn't create it? That's a serious strike against any design company - using a site/design they didn't create themselves!

    This isn't exactly my field - I'm going off to law school next year. I've always enjoyed web design as a hobby; I also think I can make a few bucks on the side doing it. I've made a few bucks in the past, but college got in the way a bit. I'm trying to get back on the horse for this last semester though - maybe I can get a few dollar signs with some effort.
    Everything else you've said up to this part I can handle. In fact, if you'd stopped before writing this last paragraph, I wouldn't bother with any lectures and would open up all the advice I could for you.

    But this last part is shocking. You want to put together a successful design business with a strong customer base. Yet in less than a year, you're going to start law school, and as it turns out, Web design is nothing more than way to make a couple extra bucks?! Who does this to their clients?? Don't you think they deserve better?
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  3. #3
    I wonder why you assumed I did not create my site. Maybe it looks similar to another site you've seen?

    I wonder what grammatical errors you are speaking of.

    I would like to humbly apologize for those grammatical errors! May thou lord show mercy upon thy soul.

    Evidently you and I have a different conception of what constitutes a successful business.

    I’m looking for some pocket change – I can only infer that you have misunderstood my intentions. I am not looking to build a marketing/design company with a massive client base that would be able to sustain a family of four; I’m looking for “pocket change”.

    Simply asking whether any individuals at this grand forum would like to share some secrets that resulted in successful outcomes does not necessarily mean I foresee similar results by employing their tactics. As I’ve said in my conclusion, I only want to make a few bucks.

    “Successful businesses with strong customer bases didn't achieve this by tripping and falling into a pit of frienzied design clients.”

    I never said that I would not put any effort into attaining clients – I simply said that I would not spend a dime in doing so. I believe these are two different animals.

    When you take into consideration the issues regarding taxation nexus, the requirements for a business registration and COC costs become murky for me.

    “But this last part is shocking. You want to put together a successful design business with a strong customer base. Yet in less than a year, you're going to start law school, and as it turns out, Web design is nothing more than way to make a couple extra bucks?! Who does this to their clients?? Don't you think they deserve better?”

    I do that to my clients. Yes, web design to me is nothing more than a way to make a couple of extra dollars – plus I enjoy it. I did not know that we needed a noble cause to start making money in the web design industry.

    Many businesses come and go in less than a year, but that doesn’t mean that money cannot be made in short periods of time.
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  4. #4
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    JDK, You have to understand where the_pm is coming from when he says you are approaching the business angle all wrong.

    However if you have other commitments and do not want web design as your full time job then probably the best thing for you is to advertise your services locally to a very small audience. Maybe some local businesses like small shops etc? You could probably run a small ad in your local newspaper for a few £$.

    Web Design is a very competitive business so i wouldn't be expecting to be rich overnight but as long as you are committed in the little time you have you could probably make a little bit of extra dough.

    Regards.
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  5. #5
    The Napster, thank you for your well mannered response. I totally understand where "the_pm" is coming from, but sadly he is coming from a misunderstanding.

    That is what I intended initially - to spread some fliers around to local shops and such. I may post an ad in my school's paper - they are usually free.
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  6. #6
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    I think your site is alright. You might want to create something a bit wider though. That's bothering me.

    To get clients, this forum is a great resource. Check the web requests and offers forum.
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  7. #7
    elliptical, thanks. Yeah I hear that a lot. Some folks dig the thin sites, and a few really hate me for it. I guess you're in the latter group?
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDKSPOTcom View Post
    That is what I intended initially - to spread some fliers around to local shops and such. I may post an ad in my school's paper - they are usually free.
    Thats a cracking plan, i like the idea of the advert in the school paper you might be able to help out some other students / lecturers who are looking to Jazz up there blogs/websites. Usually with those sort of customers you dont need to offer them much long term support. Another advantage would be that you can start to build your portfolio just in case you every do decide to put in some more time to it after you finish your studies.

    Im sure you can make it work if you have the right attitude + if your going to law school then you must be a real braniac
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  9. #9
    Evidently I'm on the_pm's shockingly idiotic list.

    Anyway - I live in a huge city. For every computer literate person you may well find another 30 to 40 who think the CD-ROM is a cup holder. That's my target consumer demographic.
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  10. #10
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    My suggestion is to start local....

    plenty of school organizations have budgets for web design...

    start with the student body.
    Biznesshosting, Inc. DBA VOLICO - Intelligent Hosting Solutions
    East Coast Enterprise Dedicated Servers and Miami Colocation.
    managed and unmanaged dedicated servers. High bandwidth colocation. Managed clusters.
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  11. #11
    Thanks Bizness.
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  12. #12
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    I wonder why you assumed I did not create my site. Maybe it looks similar to another site you've seen?
    I assumed this because the site has design credits for another Web design company at the bottom of the page. How could anyone assume any differently than I did viewing this? If my assumption is true, then I stand by what I said. If it is not, I strongly suggest removing this very misleading reference!

    I would like to humbly apologize for those grammatical errors! May thou lord show mercy upon thy soul.
    You asked for suggestions regarding your site. If you don't want suggestions, don't ask for them. I suggested you hire a copywriter. It was a good suggestion for which your sarcastic remarks seem to indicate you are wholly ungrateful. Did you really want suggestions, or did you just want to pimp your site?

    Evidently you and I have a different conception of what constitutes a successful business.

    I’m looking for some pocket change – I can only infer that you have misunderstood my intentions. I am not looking to build a marketing/design company with a massive client base that would be able to sustain a family of four; I’m looking for “pocket change”.

    Simply asking whether any individuals at this grand forum would like to share some secrets that resulted in successful outcomes does not necessarily mean I foresee similar results by employing their tactics. As I’ve said in my conclusion, I only want to make a few bucks.
    My definition of a successful business is immaterial. What matters is how potential clients feel, and trust me, not even your small clients are going to be too impressed when you cut away to pursue your law degree. You said you tried this once, dropped it, and are now coming back. This pattern of behavior coupled with your future academic aspirations would indicate you've put together a plan that nets you some pocket change at the expense of anyone who took you seriously. Web design is something that results in a relationship with a client. Unless you're commoditizing a specific skill or two, it's not going to cut it to show so little care for that relationship.

    I did not know that we needed a noble cause to start making money in the web design industry.
    The minute caring about clients get's categorized as a noble cause, we're all in trouble.

    Many businesses come and go in less than a year, but that doesn’t mean that money cannot be made in short periods of time.
    In the hosting business, hosts that come and go with the intention of making a fast buck are called "kiddie hosts." If you can make a clear distinction between what you're doing and what those hosts do, please tell me. If I'm misunderstanding what you've said up to this point, you really need to fill in the blanks for me, because thus far everything you've shared leads me to conclude this is the sort of path that can only hurt the reputation of the industry as a whole, just like our kiddie friends mentioned above.

    I'm sorry if this seems cruel, but you can't come to a community that includes professionals with your enquiries and not expect professional opinions. Feel free to ignore my feedback. Feel free to hate me for it. You might be the most awesome person in the world. If we went to the same school, we might be best drinking buddies. Who knows? But if we were, and if I was who I am and you came to me with this plan, I'd tell you, my best buddy in the world, that his plan was full of holes, someone's going to get screwed in the process and he/you shouldn't do it.

    If you want to make quick money and you don't want to leave carcasses behind you, consider commoditized services. Offer flyer design services. Or create Web templates at fixed prices and sell them off like you would virtual inventory. Or do logo work for a while. The point is, do something where if you disappear, no one gets hurt. Full Web design/development is not it.

    Of course if you want to get into a line of work where you do leave carcasses in your wake, you can always become a lawyer!
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  13. #13
    Let us begin. Let us put aside the unwarranted assumptions first – my last name is Mason. Your assumption is not true.
    IE: Snickers.com, İ2007 Mars, Incorporated and its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. They must’ve ripped the site off of Mars Incorporated.
    “You asked for suggestions regarding your site. If you don't want suggestions, don't ask for them. I suggested you hire a copywriter. It was a good suggestion for which your sarcastic remarks seem to indicate you are wholly ungrateful. Did you really want suggestions, or did you just want to pimp your site?”
    Golly, such hostility on the internet? What if I am a man of both religion and illiteracy? In your eyes it was sarcastic, but I guess sarcasm like beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    “My definition of a successful business is immaterial. What matters is how potential clients feel, and trust me, not even your small clients are going to be too impressed when you cut away to pursue your law degree.”
    I did not know I have to hold their hand for the rest of their lives. Do I also have to attend weddings and funerals?

    “You said you tried this once, dropped it, and are now coming back. This pattern of behavior coupled with your future academic aspirations would indicate you've put together a plan that nets you some pocket change at the expense of anyone who took you seriously. Web design is something that results in a relationship with a client. Unless you're commoditizing a specific skill or two, it's not going to cut it to show so little care for that relationship.”
    It has in the past. As I’ve said – I’ve made a few bucks. I look forward to making more buckaroos.
    “The minute caring about clients get's categorized as a noble cause, we're all in trouble.”
    Caring about clients or the money in the client’s account? The business world has done a lot of the latter, not so much of the former and has still made loads of cash!

    “In the hosting business, hosts that come and go with the intention of making a fast buck are called "kiddie hosts." If you can make a clear distinction between what you're doing and what those hosts do, please tell me. If I'm misunderstanding what you've said up to this point, you really need to fill in the blanks for me, because thus far everything you've shared leads me to conclude this is the sort of path that can only hurt the reputation of the industry as a whole, just like our kiddie friends mentioned above.”
    I guess that would make me a “kiddie-host” then, except I don’t provide hosting services? Oh yeah! The reputation of the web design industry was simply solid before I came on the scene. I ruined it.

    Oddly enough – I feel that the other posters in this thread have treated my inquiry and curiosity with a whole lot more respect than you have. Are your responses professional? They sure are! I wonder what makes me obligated to project the same professionalism. I’m very happy with the other contributors to this thread so far.
    ”If you want to make quick money and you don't want to leave carcasses behind you, consider commoditized services. Offer flyer design services. Or create Web templates at fixed prices and sell them off like you would virtual inventory. Or do logo work for a while.”
    Now this was something useful. I have already been thinking of doing this. I’m probably going to put this idea to work.

    ”Of course if you want to get into a line of work where you do leave carcasses in your wake, you can always become a lawyer!”
    I was born a lawyer, now I need to make it official.
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  14. #14
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    Let us begin. Let us put aside the unwarranted assumptions first – my last name is Mason. Your assumption is not true.
    IE: Snickers.com, İ2007 Mars, Incorporated and its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. They must’ve ripped the site off of Mars Incorporated.
    Perception is 90% of reality. Don't fool yourself into believing you are Snickers or Mars. People will not naturally assume one person is operating under two different names. They will naturally assume as I did, and no one will be able to blame them for it. Instead of getting mad at me for drawing a natural conclusion, fix it so this conclusion isn't natural!

    What if I am a man of both religion and illiteracy?
    Are you asking this question because you are both, or because being argumentative is your best reaction to getting called out for being ungrateful? I believe I'm having a discussion with a lawyer, not the clergy.

    I did not know I have to hold their hand for the rest of their lives. Do I also have to attend weddings and funerals?
    I imagine you're going to tell me it's just me beholding the sarcasm here too, eh? I'm sorry - if you have all the answers, why is it again that you asked your questions? You asked for the insight (the secrets) of successful design companies. You just said your target market is people who think their CD-ROMs are cup holders. So given that your target market is people who are technologically clueless, yeah, it looks like your targeting a market where your clients' best interests are served by you not cutting and running.

    Caring about clients or the money in the client’s account? The business world has done a lot of the latter, not so much of the former and has still made loads of cash!
    At least it's clear where your priorities are.

    The reputation of the web design industry was simply solid before I came on the scene. I ruined it.
    A single man with an ice pick isn't going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, but if that man comes up to me and asks me if it is a good idea for him to pick at it, I'm going to tell him no. You're right, one person doing what you're proposing isn't going to hurt the industry, but it would be irresponsible to pretend it's the right thing to do.

    Oddly enough – I feel that the other posters in this thread have treated my inquiry and curiosity with a whole lot more respect than you have.
    Just because I disagree with what you're doing doesn't mean I don't respect the enquiry. What I don't respect is that you have zero regard for anything you find disagreeable.

    I don't know you from anyone. All I know about you is that you have a plan and it stinks. Figure out a way to make it not stink, and you'll earn money and respect, both from the people you solicit for advice and your customers.

    Are your responses professional? They sure are! I wonder what makes me obligated to project the same professionalism.
    For some people, it's a sense of personal integrity. Honestly, I think you have this. I'm willing to bet you do care about the people you intend to serve, you do care about delivering products as high quality as you can, you do have a good head on your shoulders and that you do want to people to see your qualities. Don't deny this part of yourself just because you don't like the answers you're getting from an enquiry. If everything I said in this paragraph doesn't apply to you, then forget I said it, but I think it does. I think you're better person than the one you're projecting right now.

    I’m very happy with the other contributors to this thread so far.
    Good! You've gotten some really good advice. You've also heard some things you didn't want to hear. I hope you'll give everything you've heard due consideration.

    Now this was something useful. I have already been thinking of doing this. I’m probably going to put this idea to work.
    Also good, because given everything you've said, this is a responsible route to go, and you'll probably have more fun by focusing on quick-hit stuff. This is a way to make your plan not stink - you see that, right?
    Last edited by the_pm; 01-04-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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  15. #15
    Perception is 90% of reality. Don't fool yourself into believing you are Snickers or Mars. People will not naturally assume one person is operating under two different names. They will naturally assume as I did, and no one will be able to blame them for it. Instead of getting mad at me for drawing a natural conclusion, fix it so this conclusion isn't natural!
    Naturally you are not Sigmund Freud, and are unable to conclusively make such assumptions. Perception may be 90% of reality, but as I believe Napoleon once said… the general with the biggest cavalry is always right. Your argument is premised upon the perception and example of one man, and you are surely not the biggest cavalry. Your argument is boring without statistics. Naturally is an amusing term.

    Are you asking this question because you are both, or because being argumentative is your best reaction to getting called out for being ungrateful? I believe I'm having a discussion with a lawyer, not the clergy.
    I asked whether you knew for certain that I was not simply a religious and illiterate man – seeing as how you instantly made the unwarranted assumption that I was being sarcastic for probably utilizing old English.

    I imagine you're going to tell me it's just me beholding the sarcasm here too, eh? I'm sorry - if you have all the answers, why is it again that you asked your questions? You asked for the insight (the secrets) of successful design companies. You just said your target market is people who think their CD-ROMs are cup holders. So given that your target market is people who are technologically clueless, yeah, it looks like your targeting a market where your clients' best interests are served by you not cutting and running.
    I asked my questions to better formulate potential strategies at getting my name out there to a few local or internet communities, with (fingers crossed) subsequent advances in the interest level of people in the “computer challenged” demographic. In their best interest? It would be in their best interest to look at my site or ask about my services; which will follow with me telling them exactly what is offered: a PSD, a CSS/XHTML valid skeleton, 1-5 pages… the end. I’m not marrying my clients; I’m giving them a site. If they need maintenance, they can choose from 1.2 billion other web design firms out there. You can trust me that I won’t make the HTML too hard for you to alter.

    At least it's clear where your priorities are.
    And yes, it is just you beholding the sarcasm. What can I say? You are very perceptive.

    At least it's clear where your priorities are.
    Yes my priorities are with caring for the clients – you are exactly right.


    A single man with an ice pick isn't going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, but if that man comes up to me and asks me if it is a good idea for him to pick at it, I'm going to tell him no. You're right, one person doing what you're proposing isn't going to hurt the industry, but it would be irresponsible to pretend it's the right thing to do.
    If it isn’t going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, why are you going to bother? Just to be righteous? The Church called, they want their priest back.

    Just because I disagree with what you're doing doesn't mean I don't respect the enquiry. What I don't respect is that you have zero regard for anything you find disagreeable.

    I don't know you from anyone. All I know about you is that you have a plan and it stinks. Figure out a way to make it not stink, and you'll earn money and respect, both from the people you solicit for advice and your customers.
    Are you suggesting that I am projecting an air of irresponsibility in business? Oh no! Blasphemy!

    That is why I’m going into law. And I find it disrespectful that you feel you are in a position to lecture me; you are not.


    Seems liked I got respect from every other participant in this thread save a righteous and noble individual.
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  16. #16
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    Your argument is premised upon the perception and example of one man, and you are surely not the biggest cavalry.
    Thus far, one man appears to be the majority.

    Again, I didn't comment because I had anything to gain from it. I thought it might do you some good, and you solicited it.

    But let's ask! Anyone who wants to answer, jump right in. If you see a site for an individual's design services, the design credits contain a completely different name than that of the site and the owner's name does not appear anywhere on the site. Would you conclude that the two companies are in fact the same person, or would you conclude someone else created the site's design?

    Joseph, Joe - I'm going to go out on a limb and call you Joe (if you prefer Joseph, or Mason, or Larry or something else, I'm sure you'll correct me) - listen. Clear your mind. Forget about everything that's been said in this thread, and just listen:

    I'm telling you the impression a reasonable person will have upon looking at your site. Now, here's the important part - I have nothing to gain by telling you this information. I'm just telling you this because it might help you. You've created a point of confusion on your site, and you're telling me there's nothing wrong with this because I'm not a cavalry. Listen again - me:nothing to gain - you:improve your site if you follow my advice.

    My suggestion, my feedback to you, eliminate the confusion or even the possibility of the confusion by removing the design credit or replacing it with the same name as your site. Do what you want with this suggestion. I'm not Freud. I'm not a cavalry. It doesn't matter. It's still a good suggestion.
    I asked whether you knew for certain that I was not simply a religious and illiterate man
    No, but I noticed that when I identified your comment as sarcasm you did not disagree. Be that as it may, as you said, sarcasm is in the eye of the beholder, and I beheld it. So I guess there isn't much more to say.

    If it isn’t going to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, why are you going to bother?
    Because this community and the discussions that take place serve more than the thread starter. I'm a professional in this industry. When someone asks for others to give them tips for how to do something irresponsible in your industry, the answer is don't do that irresponsible thing. You don't have to be a professional Web designer to do what you're asking responsibly. It doesn't sound like this will ever mean anything to you, but others will read and understand. Some people (you included) will think I'm being an *** for giving such disagreeable feedback. But that doesn't make the message any less valid or important.

    You have a choice to make. You can accept the feedback I've offered and along with the rest of the feedback, you can improve your business plan with it (it sounded like you might actually do this at one point). You can ignore my feedback. That's fine - like I said, it's not just for you. Or you can believe you have all the right answers, which again begs the question why you're asking for suggestions and feedback in the first place.

    Is this a pride thing? Are you hurt that I think your plan is irresponsible? If you disagree, then say that you disagree. Don't lash out with the sarcasm. It's not becoming and it doesn't serve your cause.

    And I find it disrespectful that you feel you are in a position to lecture me; you are not.
    You asked for feedback and suggestions. I pointed out that your plan had every quality of one that ends up hurting customers. I've been around long enough to see it play out hundreds of times, and I'm most certainly in a position to share that experience and perspective, particularly when you asked.
    Seems liked I got respect from every other participant in this thread save a righteous and noble individual.
    There's a whole hell of a lot of good information in everything I've said. I wouldn't have bothered saying it if I didn't think this was true (no one would give advice they didn't think was good) or that it wouldn't be useful for you. It's up to you to get past your pride long enough to at least evaluate it objectively. Like I said, at that point, you can agree with some/all and adjust your plan of action, you can disagree, say thank you and move on, or you can be too proud to believe my feedback can do you any good and you can continue this exchange, which has extended beyond its usefulness. Your choice. Do what you want with the information you have.
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  17. #17
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    I know there are a few of you following this discussion, and I just want to make a brief statement for you. The closing of this thread and disabling of OP's account was as much a surprise to me as it might have been to you, and was not in any way related to the contents of this thread.

    Normally I wouldn't make a post regarding moderator action, particularly when the actions were taken by a moderator other than me, but I felt I absolutely had to say this: OP did nothing wrong by starting this thread, debating/arguing his side or responding to me or anyone else in the manner he did. Again, in this thread, he did nothing wrong, nothing toward me, nothing toward the community.

    The reason I felt I had to post this is that I don't want this thread to discourage any member from getting into debates or disagreeing with moderators (or any other members) if they feel they must. Conflict in a thread can be quite beneficial for the community, and no member should fear repurcussions for engaging in such a debate.

    That's my public service announcement for the evening. Thank you!
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