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Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of mail here at Web Lab, and we make every attempt to answer each request personally. There are a few requests that we see again and again, however, for services we just don't provide. Take a minute to review the questions and answers below to see if Web Lab is indeed the place to ask.

I need cash!
So do we! Aw, just teasing. (No, really we do.) Web Lab is a small nonprofit currently funded by grants from private foundations. We are not a grant making organization ourselves. Through our Web Development Fund, we have provided financial and other support (not grants) for a handful of innovative projects, but we only accept proposals through a formal submission mechanism.

If you are looking for emergency support, start up assistance, or development funds, please take a minute to review the list of resources we have compiled.

Please read my business plan.
We're awfully flattered that so many people write to us with a business plan for review, but it makes us wonder if they really know what we're up to. A few things to keep in mind: Web Lab is a not-for-profit organization. (Most business plans usually have some profit in mind, and that's not really our terrain.) Web Lab is not a venture capital firm (and we don't have money to burn.) Web Lab is very excited about innovation on the Web, but our focus is not on commerce. (You might even say we're critical of sites with a sole focus on income generation.)

So, if you have that business plan in hand, we will offer a good resource for critiquing it yourself. After that, you're on your own! (Just don't forget about us come IPO!) Go to this site and see their tips for building a sound business plan: http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cie/businessplans.html
Good luck!

Will you critique my site?
With our very small staff, Web Lab simply doesn't have the human resources to meet all the requests to critique a new site. The Net is full of resources on good site design though, and there are a million experts out there, so fire up the old search engine. You can also start by asking your friends... and then move on to your enemies. And if your site addresses a specific issue or topic, there's bound to be a listserv or newsgroup out there filled with others of like interests.

Even if we can't get back to you with a review of your site, we support you in your efforts! It's everybody's Web, and anyone out there building it for the better deserves commendation. Consider yourself commended!

How can I hire Web Lab to work on my site?
Web Lab is not an agency. We're not a shop. We're not in the business of building commissioned sites. So the short answer is, you can't. But the long answer is there are literally thousands of shops out there. If it's Web Lab's mission that attracts you, ask your prospective shop about its own mission. You might be surprised to see there's still some of that spirit of '95 alive! And if you were attracted to Web Lab because you thought we did Web work for cheap or free, we're sorry to disappoint, but we've compiled this list of resources that may be of assistance.

I have a site that needs funding. Can I become a WDF partner?
If you have a site that needs funding, we suggest you check out our list of resources. If you think it's a site that would be eligible for WDF support, please read up on the WDF and subscribe to our newsletter so you will be aware of any future calls for proposals. Please keep in mind that a WDF partner is a sponsoring organization (i.e., it is the contributor, not the recipient of funds). If you'd like complete information on the WDF partners program, you can read about it here.

When are you going to host another Silicon Alley Talent Show?
That first talent show was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. We didn't end up making a dime off of it, although we did make quite a splash. Besides, after you've levitated Red Burns and had three middle-aged men in diapers cuddle at the feet of Nicholas Negroponte, what do you do for an encore?

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