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Hope This Helps.
This does depends on the level and skill of the developer that is writing the application, plus you must consider time to deliver the application and time to quality control.
On the cost you should also consider structure for servers and a designer. Most developers will do some design, but if you are looking for something up-scale you probably will need a designer to create a mock-up of the application.
You can ask the developer to sign a contract of confidentiality, therefore this will only force the developer to not reproduce the application in the exact content, which doesn't usually helps. You can ask a lawyer for more info in this point.
Anyway, in a good scenario you will be spending a developer year salary to get the first phase of the project out of the door and even if you use a framework as base, you will probably take about 3 months to get a first phase done (don't rush it, just makes it worst).
As advice I would suggest you to use a framework like Zend Framework since you will be using PHP & MySQL.
There are existing digg-like solutions out there already, most of which are freely available and use a PHP MySQL framework or is built on a CMS system like Drupal or Wordpress. Do a search for "digg clone" and see if you like any of them.
If you want to build out a custom solution, I suggest you look into the freelancers at Elance. These are journeymen developers and you can hire them by using a quoting system. In your project description, be sure to mention that you retain all the intellectual property from his/her work and that it can't be reused or redistributed. Draw up an agreement and have them sign it before starting the work. You can set your budget in the description as well. The price you should expect to pay depends on how much work you expect the developer to do and how soon you need the work done so it's hard to nail down a figure. Also, note that Elance deducts a portion of your final fee for themselves as operating costs, between 6.75% and 8.75%.
It would depend on the developer, and would vary greatly depending on the kind of features/functionality you want.
Before you go paying someone to build your site, check a site like http://hotscripts.com for existing ones you can just install and possibly tweak. Even if you have to pay for the script it will still got much less then developing one from scratch.
To develop a website like Digg, would cost thousands of dollars. You can probably outsource it for cheaper, however unless you know the technical terms your going to have communication issues, even more then the inherit ones of dealing with someone who has a different primary language then you.
Lastly, you would need to have them sign a nondisclosure agreement to cover then not talking about your ideas to other people, etc. And either include in that agreement something about you retaining all rights to the source code of the project.
They could still use the code on other projects unless your expressly forbid it.
Source(s):4 years of freelance website development.
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