Do You Really Own Your Domain Name?
Whether you have a website already or are just starting the process of setting up your Website Design there is a Nasty little Scam you should know about that could cost you $1000s!
Worried now? I hate to say it but…… you should be.
Let me explain with a little story,
About once a week we get a phone call from a potential client saying “I need my website rebuilt, I don’t need hosting or anything else from ya because my previous Website Designer has that covered. I just don’t like my website anymore and really want to move into the newest designs and I don’t think they can do it”
Seems ok so far right? NOPE. And here comes the Hardest part of being one of the good guys … Breaking the bad news.
Our next Question to the client is “OK, can Ya give me your current URL so I can take a peek at what ya have right now”
Yes, granted I’d like to see what another Website Designer did but also I want to check the Domain Name Registration. Why?
Where, How AND by WHOM!
See theres a nasty little website design scam that’s been going on for Years and takes advantage of your lack of knowledge about the website design Process. Some Far less than Reputable website designers offer
“Get a Free Domain Name!”
I know you’ve seen that and wondered what’s the catch right? There is a catch, a very costly catch. But you won’t know what it is for a long time.
So, I jump over real fast to check the clients domain name registration and I find that the potential client’s Business Named Domain Name was Actually Registered by their Website Designer in the DESIGNER’S Name.
Odd huh? Are you thinking ahead now?
The client not understanding what this means when we tell them but feels something is wrong quickly gets off the phone with Us and calls their Website Designer. The First line from the Designer is “Oh so you’re planning to cancel with me?”
They then begin refusing you access to what you Thought was YOUR Domain Name. Often politely making it clear any work to be done on Your website will be done by THEM, at any price they ask because you aren’t going to give up your Domain Name and they know it. Not to mention all the advertising you’ve done, Business Cards, Phone Books… The SIGN on your building …. on and on and on.
You are now stuck with a choice… are you so far into this Domain Name you can’t afford to walk away from it and if so what is it going to Cost you to keep it? If you MUST keep the name there are only a few things you can do at this point:
1) Attempt an Appeal to the Domain Name Registrar to just Remove his/her ownership, though I’ve never seen that work for a small business before but it is done all the time for large Corporations.
The Last couple options are only if your Domain Name is the Same as your Business License Name, You then should have Rights under Copyright/Trademark laws. Consult with a Lawyer.
1) Politely Threaten the Designer with Legal Action to enforce your Rights. Most clients actually find this method works because the scumbags that try to blackmail clients with this scam usually can’t Afford a legal battle.
2) If that doesn’t work, then find a Copyright/Trademark Lawyer in your area and do a consult, ask for just a threatening Letter to be sent to the Designer.
3) Sadly if those don’t work then you have to again decide if You can afford the Legal battle or walk away. This is where the $1000s starts kicking in.
Notice I did Not mention offering to BUY the Domain Name From the scammer. You could try this but you are just rewarding them for what they knew from day 1, they had you. And Right about now you are also Pretty mad because all this time you Thought they were a “Friend”. They are nothing more than Modern Day Snake-Oil Salesmen who used your trust and make the rest of us look bad.
I am sorry. Way back about 18 years ago it happened to me too. Something that seems so simple as a Website can turn your whole business upside-down over night. This is why as a Solid Policy we Never Register a Domain Name for a client, whoever Registers it…Owns It. We walk clients through the process live on the phone if needed while THEY register THEIR Domain Name.
If you’d like More info or want us check YOUR Domain Name Ownership give us a call, no obligation of course! We make sales from Referrals not from badgering scared people. We DO know how you feel.