The tool automatically generates quotes based on population data. So naturally, Government Technology used it to see how much a new city website would cost for the hometowns of major characters in the TV show M*A*S*H.
ProudCity, a local government-focused digital services startup, has introduced a tool that allows people to generate a quote for how much a new city website would cost in one click.
The tool, which lives on the company’s own website, asks just one thing of the user: Which city? Once a person enters the city they’re interested in seeing a price quote for, the website hands over a cost estimate.
That’s because ProudCity’s pricing model is based on population. So all the tool needs to do is query population data from the U.S. Census and perform some quick calculations in order to generate a quote.
Here’s a sampling of how much the hometowns of characters from the TV show M*A*S*H would pay for a ProudCity website:
Pricing information for the hometown of Capt. Pierce, better known as “Hawkeye,” is unavailable. He comes from the fictional Maine town of Crabapple Cove, likely based on the real town of Bremen — which ProudCity could not generate a quote for because it lacks the necessary population data.
Maj. Houlihan, better known as “Hot Lips,” was a self-described “Army brat” who moved between military bases growing up and therefore didn’t have much of a hometown.
Luke Fretwell, the company's CEO and co-founder, wrote in a blog post that he hopes the pricing tool will help simplify what is often a cumbersome process for local government workers.
"Local government leaders, particularly small cities, don’t have the time, energy or resources to spend weeks (or months) and thousands of dollars navigating the nuances of pricing, modern technology standards and best practices of government websites," he wrote in the post. "Legacy government website vendors, with outdated offerings and sometimes opportunistic pricing, only confuse governments even more on this front."
The tool could potentially be of use to city officials regardless of whether they actually end up using ProudCity for a website. A standard practice in government purchasing is to set cost thresholds that determine the process by which an agency needs to go about its buying. For lower-cost items, many governments will ask agencies to collect a few “informal” quotes — that is, by calling up vendors and asking them, or through other relatively easy methods — in order to make sure they’re getting a good price. ProudCity’s tool doesn’t even require a phone call.