North Korea apparently doesn’t consider PR important enough to spend too much on. The country’s official website was recently redesigned for a grand total of $15, Wired reports.The flash-heavy official webpage (in English), is definitely a step up from the rather drab looks of the site of its official news agency KCNA in Japan and Korea, but Michael DiTanna, a undergraduate at Fordham University, New York found that the new design was based off the IgniteThemes “Blender” template, something generally used for blogs, not state websites.
DiTanna’s revelation came after he got an assignment in a Korean history/political science course to analyse North Korean official media’s content. “Immediately after visiting the site I noticed the website used some common open source web elements — specifically the main image banner,” DiTanna said. “They just did a really sloppy job of cleaning up the source code.”
The original designer of the template, Robert Westmore of Southern California, designs websites for a living, but was unaware he had designed the homepage of the North Korean regime’s site. “I had no idea,” he told Fox News. “Honestly, I didn’t even know North Korea had a website.”
But this stinginess probably shouldn’t come as a surprise. The country has had a website since 2000, but the web team started out with a budget of only $100 a month, according to Cho Son-il, a.k.a. Alejandro Cao de benos de Les Perez, an honorary citizen, and the first and only foreigner in history to work for the North Korean government.
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