SIDEBAR: Here are some tips on ways to reduce prices

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1. Focus your RFP. The less explicit your bid document, the more room for inflated quotes.

2. Start small. Concentrate on the basics of getting a new site up and running. Then you can add more costly features such as search engines, commerce servers and dynamic page generation.

3. Get in early with a talented new developer. You won't pay for the learning curve but will benefit as the developer's experience grows.

4. Bundle projects. If you have more than one interactive venture in the works, use it as leverage to negotiate a better overall price. It can save up to 25%.

5. Opt for off-the-shelf software. Customization costs money.

6. Do some tasks in-house. Try handling some basic design with existing staff. Or gather as much existing collateral as possible to hand over to the developer.

7. Reallocate resources. Top creative directors and engineers cost mega-dollars. Consider using midlevel designers and engineers for the bulk of the work.

8. Negotiate a maintenance contract up-front. You'll save on hourly rates for ongoing support and updates by setting up a retainer agreement in the beginning.

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