Having missed its original launch deadline on 1st July, the website?s launch has been delayed several times following numerous setbacks including conflicts with the contracted web developers, UK Presence, and the hiring of the wrong type of server for the website. The site, which will eventually be accessible through www.imperialshop.co.uk, will finally be lauched just under 2 months late, narrowly missing this most recent deadline.
Since there was no available server to host the website, a problem created since the server initially hired to host the site ran a Microsoft Windows operating system, incompatible with the Unix based website, the website is currently running on the Union web server. Increased capacity to cope with the additional burden the website would create has been created through exchanging the Union web server?s CPU with that of the Union file server (which is faster) and up-grading the hard drive. This was a planned change that had previously been budgeted for under general Union computer maintenance but has been brought forward to help run the shop website.
The problems with UK Presence have been less easy to resolve. Union President, Mustafa Arif has declined to make further payments to the company pending a written contract for the project. Following this decision, UK Presence ceased work on the project with much of the work left uncompleted. It seems that last minute work has been carried out, bringing the website to a state of apparent completion for its launch this afternoon.
Other controversies associated with this project include the omission of the Union name or logo from early versions of the website. The website does now include the Union shop logo.
The project, initially budgeted to cost £15k, is now feared to have a final cost of £22k. It is hoped that through selling high quality merchandise varying from a Sterling Silver Signet ring to an Imperial College Bear, the website, which is aimed mainly at College alumni, will make a profit for the Union.