There seems to be a growing concern amongst many business owners – they fear that their web design company, whom they also trust to host their website and to register their domain name, may be scamming them. Often, the full extent of the company’s power over their clients is not revealed until the client wants to switch web hosts or they want to upgrade their website – why else would the company need to alienate their clients?
There are a variety of ways that a design company may choose to deal with what they have dubbed ‘traitor clients’; those who have decided to take their business elsewhere. They may send them a large bill for switching hosts, often known as a cancellation fee. They may cancel the client’s account completely, which can cause email issues. They may point the domain name to a different website. And they make take the website down until further notice.
It is these sorts of actions that make many people believe design companies are holding too much power over their clients. Why should you be punished for looking for a better deal? You are within your rights to do what you like when you like with your own business, especially as you ultimately own your website and your domain name. This is the reality becoming clear to many clients who have discovered that their design company hasn’t been honest with them.
As with any sort of business venture, there are a number of loopholes in the web design industry that have actually allowed companies to take full control of their client’s web presence. For example, if you haven’t signed a contract specifying that you have sole rights to your domain name or that you will pay certain fees, then there really isn’t much you can do when the design company turns around and takes you for everything you have.
So, how can you go about taking power away from the design company and keeping it within your own grasp, where it belongs? It is recommended that you go out and register your desired domain name before you contact a designer to create a website for you. This way, you will be in possession of all documents relating to the ownership and registration of your domain. This does not, however, prevent companies from scamming you in other ways.
When choosing a web design company to take on the creation of your website, there are a number of questions that you should ask to ensure that they aren’t trying to scam you:
- Do you provide a contract for all of your projects?
- If I register my domain name through you, will my contract state that I own the name in all circumstances?
- If I am late in making payments, does your company policy state that you must cancel the account?
- Is it stated in your contract that I cannot switch to a different host at a later date?
At the end of the day, you should be wary of web design companies that do not require their clients to sign contracts for every aspect of the project. Without a signed document, there is no way that you can prove your ownership of the website or even of the domain name – for all you know, the design company is trying to sell the whole thing out from under you.
Article by John Fulton
John has been working as a freelance writer for Zeemo. The company is known to provide excellent and reliable online services such as web development, graphic design, SEO services and web design Melbourne for over a decade now.