Costs of the W3C

David Megginson david at
Mon Jan 17 19:01:47 GMT 2000

"Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl at> writes:

> For a lot of one-person shops, myself included, $5000/year amounts to a
> tithe (one part in ten) or much worse.  Perhaps if I felt a deep religious
> commitment to the Web, I'd be willing to contribute at this level, but I've
> had a hard enough time finding the $250 for OASIS.
> Book-writing isn't that lucrative a business, however much I may enjoy it.
> I don't see why that should keep me out of the W3C, however.

Let's make the following assumptions:

1. You make US$50K/year from book writing and consulting.
2. You work at or near full capacity.
3. Tomorrow, the W3C decides to make membership free.

Now, you decide to join just one of the WGs.  To join, you have to
agree to commit (I think) 20% of your time to the WG (more if you're
an editor, chair, or technical lead) which means that the base cost
for you of getting involved is US$10K/year.  On top of that, you have
to pay the long-distance charges for, say, a one-hour weekly
teleconference and you have to pay travel expenses to at least a
couple of face-to-face meetings, not all of which are in North

TOTAL COST: at least US$12K/year for each WG you join.

Now, that's better than the US$17K it would have cost if you had to
pay the membership fee as well, but it's hardly sustainable for a
one-person consulting shop either way.

I'd suggest, then, that the biggest barrier right now is not the fee
but the whole committee structure and process of the W3C -- it's
designed for companies that can afford to free up engineers to do
standards work, and that tends to mean companies with revenues over

All the best,


David Megginson                 david at

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