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Watermelon Web Works Review: Part 20

Watermelons Sorry

Paul Clerc’s Response

Over the past nineteen days I’ve written a detailed account of my experience with Watermelon Web Works, the company that redesigned my web site.

At about 6:00 p.m. on February 10, 2015, one week before I posted Part 1 of this series, I sent Paul Clerc, Watermelon’s top web guru, an advance copy of the blog posts. I said I would post any comments he had in their entirety and unedited.

He replied a couple of hours later:

Hi Theresa,

Thanks for sharing this with me. Yes, this has been a very humbling experience working with you, both in being subjected to the mighty wrath of Google and the mighty wrath of an angry customer. I was and am very sorry about what happened with your site, and if I came across as flippant, I didn’t mean to.

We spent a total of 134 hours after your site was published to try and resolve the issues that you had with Google. That is more than $11,000 in development costs that we never billed you for. I hired an expensive independent consultant (something I have never done before and will never do again) to try and resolve the issues that your site had with Google. To this day, I feel that we have not been successful in finding the correct apology. I have never worked harder and utterly failed with a website.

So – I am glad to hear that you are blogging Theresa, and I’m glad to see that your sense of humor is intact. I genuinely appreciate who you are in the world and I regret that our interaction couldn’t have been different.

I wish you success and happiness in your life.


I replied: “I wish you success and happiness too. T-”

I believe Paul is sincere when he says he “never worked harder” on a site because I believe he genuinely wanted it to succeed.

The site failed not for lack of effort, but for lack of understanding of Google. He says they spent a lot of time trying to “resolve the issues that you had with Google.” I didn’t have issues with Google. Watermelon had issues with Google. Google loved my old site and within days of its being reloaded, it did far better than Watermelon’s version ever did.

I don’t mean to sound flippant: but spending $20,000 to develop a site where the client only paid $8,000 ($3,600 more than the estimate) is not good business sense.

I’d have been disappointed, but understanding, if in April of 2014 Watermelon had said to me: “Sorry, something has gone terribly wrong with your site and we don’t know how to fix it. We’d like to issue you a refund and put up your old site.”

Watermelon would only have been out 12 days (94 hours) of earnings and I would only have been out three months (2,600 hours) of earnings. Instead, they lost an additional 5 days (40 hours) of earnings and I lost $8,000 and an additional six months (5,200 hours) of earnings.

Watermelon has six web designers listed on their team page. I’m hoping when Paul says they didn’t bill me for 134 hours of work they did on my site, it doesn’t mean one person toiled for 17 days without a paycheck. If such a hapless soul does work for Watermelon, I want to find a way to make a “correct apology” to him or her.


At one point Paul said the way to save my website was to blog. Another of Watermelon’s web gurus once wrote me: “Blogs are considered highly sharable, so write great blog posts for people to share!”

Feel free to share–especially with anyone you know who’s looking for a web designer.


Came in the middle of the series? Here’s a link to Part 1.

Computer Cartoons for use in books, presentations, etc. So cheap you can afford them even if you’ve paid your web designer way too much.