Web agencies’ warning after Deepend collapse

Last week’s sudden collapse of online agency Deepend will serve as a wake-up call for the Web design industry and its clients, according to industry sources.

Although the directors of Deepend refuse to discuss the agency’s dramatic demise, which leaves 180 people without jobs, sources close to the multi-award winning agency say it failed to act on financial warning signs going back several months.

Daren Forsyth, co-founder and managing director of Fernhart New Media, a Deepend rival, warns that Deepend’s deep sense of denial regarding its precarious financial position may not be uncommon in this still young industry. “I am sure that if most agencies admitted it, they are only one or two budget cuts away from the same fate, and I don’t expect Deepend to be the last casualty.”

Regarding Deepend’s undoubted pedigree as a creative hothouse, Forsyth adds: “It is my view that being creative and brand focused is a highly specialised area but only a part of the interactive solution jigsaw.

“Analytical skills, technical ability, project management and usability are also crucial, and the revenue created from upgrades, support and ongoing functionality additions is critical to any growing company. I do not know how much of this type of revenue was feeding back regularly into Deepend from its client base.”

Deepend’s clients included Cartoon Network, Volkswagen, Panasonic, Tango, French Connection and BT.

Meanwhile, Gary Lockton, a co-founder and director of Deepend, has already found new employment as chief executive of North Creative, a multimedia design agency. Nine of his former Deepend staff have also been taken on by North Creative, which specialises in entertainment, media and youth culture.

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