Besides having cryptic names, it is unfortunately all too common for the ad agencies to have really horrible websites.
I think the most pathetic ones are the ones where the agency does not have proper website but instead they have a page which says:
“We are too busy with our clients, so we do not have had time to make a website”
That is like the most clichéd way to tackle this issue, and it has not been an unique one for over years. I am not denying that the most important way to get new business are personal relations & reputation (combination of mostly showreel & some PR). Inbound contacts to even prestigious companies are quite scarce. You have to fight for the clients and website alone does not solve your NB problems. That does not mean that it could not be much better sales tool for your agency. How many agency does proper lead generation of its own?
I think the problem is also deeply philosophical one. What kind of message do the marketing professionals send with lackluster marketing? Do you trust a doctor who does not take his own medicine? For digital agency this mistake is especially unforgivable. Your website should point the way to the future and blow the potential prospects away by showing the opportunities of how you are working without boundaries. Website should be your showreel.
I have not really been part of agency website projects* (being too busy with clients, I guess). However from my observation they usually tend to take really long, someone gets forced as a project manager and everyone else is dodging the responsibilities. Then project manager gets frustrated, depressed and/or fired, and the project is started once again. This can be repeated until infinity.
Making a proper website is not even that hard of a task nowadays. Your clients are interested about your work, the people you have and how they can contact you. These minimum requirements are easily fulfilled by an average advertising agency trainee (from start to finish). Probably the end-result would beat most of the current agency websites. And if you want to make a revolutionary website, appoint your best team to it and show that your agency really cares about the project. Agency self-promotion stunts are known to win trophies & new business in the past and at least I appreciate it more than scam work.
I hope there are some good agency websites around. If you know any, please add those in the comments, so I can start to changing my cynical view of them.
If your agency has a shitty website, how can you rationalize your client to buy a good one from you?
* We actually did a blog for TBWA\DIEGO back in the day, but the process was so quite painless that I had nearly forgotten it. Of course with the blogs, the setting up is usually fairly straightforward, but the maintenence takes time. I think we did quite good job and were probably one of (if not) the most read agency blogs in Finland. Blog posts have been a springboard for two of my books, so I definitely recommend blogging to agencies with sharp individuals who have interesting insights to share and stamina to keep writing it. Emphasising that stamina part.