Albeit brief, this will be a passionate post warning small businesses and start ups NOT to let their web designer register their domain name. You’ve heard the horror stories. Designers holding domains for ransom or just refusing to release control. It’s a “he said, she said” affair, but at the end of the quarrel between entrepreneur and web designer, he who holds claim to the domain is the victor.
In business, we want to enter into client-service provider relationships that are on equal footing and based on a contractual agreement. Neither party should have an unfair advantage. Agreed? Right. So, why would one hand over control of what is in today’s world a company’s most important marketing asset — their website domain name and branded Internet identity?
I recently helped a client that had been held hostage by a young designer at a large NYC Communications firm. After learning that the client’s domain was set to expire and the username and password was created by the communication firm’s employee who had moved on to another job, we spent nearly two-weeks trying to resolve the problem and gain control over a domain that was the client’s to begin with. Thankfully, we were able to find a solution, literally within 12 hours of the domain’s expiration.
Personally, I’ve experienced this type of unethical practice after starting my business under the former brand of Kashen Communications. After a falling out over a joint client prospect, the developer decided that stealing my domain (he registered it), blocking me from my emails and contacts was a fitting course of action to settle a score. Seems a trifle hard core to me, but I had no one but myself to blame. In any event, good luck, Sun Nagoya of Japan — the proud new owner of KashenComm.com. Ah, memories.
So, to render my point explicit, if you are thinking of building a website, please check to see if the domain is available YOURSELF. If so, YOU will register it. It couldn’t be easier — really. Just visit a reputable hosting company, like Host Gator or Blue Host using their “Whois” function and take it from there.
I’d love to hear your horror stories here. Please post and share with us!