4 websites that failed

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Have you ever stumbled upon a site and thought, "Good God almighty, what has this brand done?" Graphics gone awry, no distinct call-to-action, a blinding or bland color scheme -- all poor choices on the brand's part.

But there are learning lessons to be had from sites that just haven't realized the potential their brand has in the online space.

We asked four industry experts -- Jeff Rosenblum of Questus; Jeff Hatcher of Felt Media; Alan Schulman of imc2 and Hillel Cooperman of Jackson Fish Market  -- to take a look at a site within specific categories. What content and branding opportunities were overlooked? Where did the design choices miss the mark? Did the site offer enough incentive to keep the user intrigued?

Take a look at what they had to say, along with what best practices your site might be ignoring.



Barbara Postell
Barbara Postell March 4, 2010 at 9:11 AM

Your website advertised "Refinance Rates at 4.25% Fixed!" and it also stated, "No Hidden Fees, Points, or Closing Costs!"
I completed a mortgage request for a refinance. When I contacted one of the four "trusted" lenders that you recommended, I was informed that my "Closing Costs" would amount to $4,500.00. This is in stark contrast to your website advertisement. Please explain this discrepancy, and if you can, please refer me to one of your "trusted lenders" who will comply with what your website advertises, IF you can!
Thank you.

Nanette Marcus
Nanette Marcus August 21, 2008 at 4:49 PM

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Andrew - we do have an upcoming piece featuring great work in the space, so be on the lookout for that! And also be sure to check out our Creative Showcase section, where we regularly highlight great creative and websites.

Andrew Siegel
Andrew Siegel August 21, 2008 at 4:26 PM

Great article, but why not take it to the next level and show off an example of GREAT work in the space. Regarding Spike, if they want to be Maxim online, then they've got it just right, but that wastes their greatest asset: their content. This site completely ignores 90% of their viewers, people going to the site after having seen a show, looking for additional info. Use the site to extend the brand, - storyline extensions, games, contests, related products, etc.

Kim Stearns
Kim Stearns August 20, 2008 at 12:08 PM

GREAT GREAT ARTICLE! I love the breakdown of these homepages with the inclusion of suggestions...well done!

Neil Squillante
Neil Squillante August 20, 2008 at 10:06 AM

Great article! It reminds me of the way B-to-B Magazine used to compare print ads. Well, maybe it still does, but I don't read print publications anymore. Please consider making this a weekly feature.

Dave Morse
Dave Morse August 20, 2008 at 9:29 AM

It reminds me of when ad agencies are given responsibility to build a website!

David Meerman Scott wrote an excellent (must-read) article entitled, "Don't Trust an Advertising Agency to Build Your Web Site".

Read it here: