In response to the gentleman who claimed the ROI was 10 years:
Your calculations for the lablor involved are _Way_ off.
#1) The real work has already been done by ALA, saving slashdot significantly. Even if done by a real developer, sice it is a translation of an existing design, it would only take 24 hours, at the most, to come up with the XHTML and CSS in the form ALA has it.
#2) With the grunt work done, all that remains is template modifications. I downloaded slashcode and got about 25% done with modifying the templates in only 4 hours. Assume I’m faster than average and/or some ‘snags’ would be hit - you’re still looking at 20 hours. Add 4 for some testing (or do it the slashdot way and put up a test server and let your audience test). Even with work inflation (someone taking their time or documenting things according to a process slashdot has in place) and testing, you’re looking at no more than 26 or so hours.
In this post-boom world, a coder can be had for fairly low prices - especialy when it’s the cookie-cutter work of #2. Assume you pay the high rate of 80$/hour. This may appear low to you if you live in the valley, but its a rate I see all the time in the realworld. Except I see it being charged by companies - I could see a true independant charging less.
So, 80 * 30 (lets inflate more and take into account the time needed to find someone to do it - which wont be much with slashdot) results in 2400$. Add another 400$ for the time of the people approving the result and such.
2800$ - less than the bandwidth savings, so less than a year ROI. Even if the overhead of the internal processes and approvals were higher, you’re looking at a year ROI.
If # 1 were still involved, you’d have a much different picture… but still less than 2 years ROI.
Now, most companies won’t see the bandwidth savings slashdot would get - simply because they don’t have the traffic. However, the resulting XHTML/CSS is easier to modify (content _and_ design), reducing costs to update the site in the future. Without a case study or access to a company’s books (to see the amount spent currently on maintaining and modifying a website), the ROI is much harder to determin. Many companies get redesigns every 2-3 years anyway, so the costs could just be absorbed during one of these upgrades.
Slashdot has a distinct advantage in this case - people will climb all over each other to do the work for free.
Even with the overhead of rolling the changes out, the ROI on near-0$ of changes is hard to argue with.