Web design as a profession

Are we web designers a trustworthy profession?

This week I’ve been involved in a couple of incidents that have reminded me that high standards might not be as universal as we’d like.

Being held hostage over Domains Registered in the web companies’ name

The first was a new customer who wanted to move to us because his existing provider was charging him for a lot of small updates, and because we were more local. Of course we were very happy to welcome him on board, and I looked at his site and was pleased to see it was WordPress – it needed an upgrade so I offered to do this at no cost as part of the move to our hosting. Then the domains – alarm bells rang when I saw that his existing provider had registered the domains to themselves. Sure enough, they refused to release their customer, demanding an exorbitant sum to give back access to the domain that he understood belonged to him.

Then about 2 days later, a similar story. A new customer, we had to help track down the domain, which eventually led back to a previous web designer. And again before he would release the domain, he demanded a large sum of money, way above what had been agreed, before he would release the domain.

How can you prevent this kind of incident?

So – a lesson to be learned – ensure that you can’t be held to ransom over your domain. Register it in your own name. Domain registration costs a small fee every year, but your domain is probably worth far more.

What can be done in cases like the above? Sometimes we can help, but if the provider has registered the domain in their own name, the options are often limited to legal action.