Tag Archives: web development

BenDunne.com – what the heck?

I listen to Newstalk most days while at work. Over the past 3 weeks or more I’ve heard the advertisement for Ben Dunne’s latest venture ‘BenDunne.com‘ at least 5 times a day.

The ad itself is yet another classic from the Ben Dunne school of advertising – the man himself telling us about his latest product/service over some background music. Simple, slightly comedic (the Tom Dunne show on Newstalk goes so far as to make parodies of them for use as advertising of their own show) and repeated A LOT.

This latest campaign for his latest venture – BenDunne.com – has had me a bit baffled from the start. First off, the website seems to be proposing to offer a service similar to DoneDeal.ie or BuyAndSell.ie. No mean feat going up against established websites like that but then add on the specialist online outlets such as Daft.ie, Adverts.ie and Carzone.ie and you’ve got quite the challenge on your hands.


I had a look at BenDunne.com. As pointed out on the radio ad, the website is due to launch on Monday 19th so I wasn’t expecting more than a simple landing page with the launch date and maybe a newsletter sign-up form. Wrong – I found a JPEG of the proposed homepage. For the not-so-web-savvy I can imagine it must have been a little confusing to say the least if you tried clicking on links and buttons with nothing happening.

Fail #1: Putting up a flat graphic of your proposed homepage is a ridiculous idea – visitors will think your website simply doesn’t work and are less likely to return or recommend it.

Last week the radio ad altered slightly as we approached launch date. So has the website. It is now a blank blue page (as above).

Fail  #2: A blank page is the only thing worse than a flat graphic of your website design as your homepage, particularly when you’re advertising the website heavily on national radio.

So it’s one day past launch date and all that BenDunne.com has to offer is a serene shade of blue capturing some Google Analytics stats.

“If Dunne can’t do it, it can’t be done”

THE classic quote from Mr. Ben Dunne himself. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of website/product/service gets launched if ever it happens. Will it prove his immortal words right or will he be eating them?

Junior Spider Awards

I just heard an ad for the brand spanking new Junior Spider Awards on Today FM and so to the Google machine I went to find out more, quite skeptical about what I might find.

I’m happy to say that any cynicism or dread felt at the idea of the Golden Spiders spawning babies has been quelled. Well, for the moment anyway. Here’s the skinny:

What are the Junior Spiders?

“The eircom Junior Spider Awards were established as a parallel programme for students at primary and post primary school level. The idea was originated by Business & Finance, working closely with main sponsors eircom.” [via]

The important stuff

  • It’s free to enter
  • The closing date is November 6th 2009
  • The shortlist will be announced on 30th November and winners announced on December 18th


  • Primary students
    • 1st place winner receives a trophy and €200
    • 2nd place winner receives a winners’ certificate
    • 3rd place winner receives a winners’ certificate
    • All entries receive a participants’ certificate including teachers
  • Post-primary students
    • 1st place winner receives a trophy and €300
    • 2nd place winner receives a winners’ certificate
    • 3rd place winner receives a winners’ certificate
    • All entries receive a participants’ certificate including teachers


  • Primary & Post-primary schools:
  1. Best concept (website/application )
  2. Best Online content (including websites, blog, podcasts, Social Networks )
  3. Best website design & functionality
  4. Best educational website
  5. An suíomh no spas ar an idirlíon is fearr as Gaeilge
  • Post Primary students only:
  1. Best web application
  2. Watch your space award
  • Overall (both Primary and Post-primary):
  1. Best teacher contribution (web/internet)
  2. Grand prix

You can find out who the judges are, what the judging criteria are and everything else under the sun about the Junior Web Awards at juniorspiders.ie. They’re also on Twitter as @juniorspiders.

FOWD Tour Belfast tomorrow – who’s going?

  • Extreme Typography Makeover: Malarkey Edition
  • SketchFlow: Building Web and Desktop Applications from Concept to Production
  • Making Your Content Discoverable with Microformats
  • Speed Networking
  • Cost Effective Web Development
  • A picture is worth a thousand words
  • Rounding the Edges of your Website
  • Ying Meets Yang: Marrying creativity and logic to create better designs for everyone
  • How to Design in the Browser

So that’s the schedule. Looks awesome and I’m really looking forward to it, despite the early start from Dublin tomorrow morning :)

There’s still some tickets available via the site and they’re only £67.85! If you’re going along, say hi – I’m the one with specs, pink hair & hugging her coffee for dear life.

5 things I learned today

In no particular order…

  • Virginia Agricultural Show (Cavan) is 68 years old, has over 400 judging classes and €50,000 prize money up for grabs
  • Damien has a chocolate allergy but can handle the lower cocoa value stuff
  • You can do the local lotto for many GAA clubs in Ireland online at locallotto.ie
  • Microsoft will support IE6 until 2014
  • Gmail has been putting a lot of genuine emails into the Spam folder lately and it is rather annoying

Upcoming design conferences & workshops

Designer's toolbeltThere seemed to be a lot of different design/development conferences, workshops and events type things popping up in my email and rss reader with the last while.

I thought I’d put some order on them & see what’s going on at home and abroad that might be worth checking out.


Tagline: We’re hitting four UK cities in September 2009 to bring you FREE web design tutorials, an afternoon of great talks from some of the UK’s best known web designers and speed networking. Don’t miss out.

Location: Belfast (also Bristol, Glasgow and Leeds). When: 02 Sept. Cost: £59. [see you there!]


Tagline: dConstruct 09 brings together leading thinkers from the fields of ubiquitous computing, interface design, gaming and mobile to explore the challenges of designing for tomorrow.

Location: Brighton, UK. When: 04 Sept. Cost: £115.

idea 2009

Tagline: IDEA2009 brings together the world’s foremost thinkers and practitioners: sharing the big ideas that inspire, along with practical solutions for the ways people’s lives and systems are converging to affect society.

Location: Toronto. When: 15-16 September. Cost: $250 – $550.

FOWA London

Tagline: We have a fantastic line up from some of the industry’s leading professionals. You’ll be hearing from: Mozilla, Twitter, TechCrunch, Facebook, digg, Merb, jQuery, 280North, Virgin and more.

Location: London. When: 30 Sept – 02 Oct. Cost: £385.25 – £569.25.

Adobe Max

Tagline: We are in a software revolution fueled by social computing, client and cloud, and the spread of rich media across screens and devices. For four unforgettable days this October, MAX 2009 will bring together thousands of designers, developers, and decision-makers to shape the future. Join us.

Location: Los Angeles. When: 04 Oct – 07 Oct. Cost: $100 – $1,795.

There’s a range of events being organised as part of Design Week around Ireland in November, including Offset 2009 – a full blog post about that is in the works but do check out the Design Week site for info.