Why you need to find out now who owns your website
Yet again today I came across a horror story. I was asked to help out with planning a new website for a company that has been running very successfully for a number of years. During discussions, the CEO told me that they were not getting any response from their original designer and he wouldn’t even respond to a simple request to add a new email address to the site.
I said I would help where I could and if they could give me the login in information for their hosting provider I would set up the new email address for them. This is where it all started to go wrong.
They weren’t sure of the hosting provider so I did a check on Who.is. And to my horror, I saw that the registrant, or owner, of the site was not the CEO as they expected but the web designer himself.
So what does that mean? Well basically, this company cannot do anything with their site if they wish as they do not own it. They cannot do the rebrand they have planned, they cannot update the site, add or delete email addresses, move it to a new platform as planned or anything else they wish without the permission of their original designer who has is now refusing to liaise with them.
They are left stunned. The best case solution is that a dialogue can be opened up with the original designer once again and he agrees to transfer the domain to the company he purchased it for. Worst case scenario will involve a long drawn out and possibly quite expensive legal case, during which time the original designer can take down the site altogether if he so wishes leaving the company in dire straits as much of their work is done online.
You may be under the impression that this is an isolated incident, but I assure you it is not. I have lost track of the times I have come across this scenario which in a couple of cases has had an incredibly detrimental effect on the business in question.
So just go do a sanity check and make sure you know who owns your website and hope that it really is you. And if you don’t, start to resolve the situation now before it gets to a critical stage.