To The Rescue

Here we go again. Once more, a client of mine has stumbled — unwittingly — into a dark cave, and I’m summoned to haul her out.

Only this time, I decided to write about it.

So other unsuspecting people won’t go through the same sort of misery.

In this case, “Misery” involves the sale of my client’s business, complete with the website I designed for her.

Now, most people don’t understand websites aren’t sold like a bag of chips. It’s more complicated than that. And Mr. Buyer and Ms. Client should have involved me from the beginning. But I digress.

What’s supposed to happen is this:

1) Mr. Buyer creates account at hosting company (GoDaddy, Network Solutions, etc.)

2) Ms. Client transfers domain into Mr. Buyer’s account (domain is the dot-com for the business)

3) Mr. Buyer accepts the transfer

4) Mr. Buyer then purchases hosting (a place for the domain to live on the Internet) of his own

5) Mr. Buyer designs, or works with a professional to design, web pages for his business

What actually happened:

Nothing. Not a thing.

Mr. Buyer called me months ago, secured my promise to cooperate with him (but not in a redesign — he has a relative lined up for that), and assumed everything was settled.

A few days ago, Ms. Client called, complaining she was still getting questions about the business she’d sold. It seems that the website, along with her contact information, hadn’t seen the first change.

Can I just take my name off the website, she wondered.


Won’t I need passwords? I already gave them to him.


Not knowing whether Ms. Client and Mr. Buyer had a friendly relationship, I assumed the worst — and I suspect she had, too.

So I urged her to call the hosting company and alert them to the sale, get information on transferring the domain, and find out when her domain and hosting agreements would expire.

I also suggested she authorize me to take down her web pages — if I still could, if he hadn’t changed the passwords — replacing them with a 404 (Page Not Found) error.

Luckily, that worked. Since she only has a few months until the domain and hosting expire, she’s content to wait.

Mr. Buyer still has to get the domain and hosting in his name, of course, and if he waits past the expiration date, he’s going to run into big problems.

But at least my client is protected!

17 thoughts on “To The Rescue

    • Ah, gee, thanks — just part of the job, I guess. I don’t imagine she was planning on selling her business when we set up the website; things have a way of changing, though, and I’m pretty sure she’s glad to be out from under the headaches of running it.

  1. OY VEY, what a hassle, Debbie! But BRAVA to you for thinking fast and guiding your client to protect herself.

    Mr. Buyer needs to get on the stick or he’s gonna run into big problems.

    I remember when I transferred my domain hosting from Blogger to GoDaddy and Blogger had not given me the all the information I needed to transfer it over. I was without a blog for about two hours because I had no domain name. Thank god, the people at GoDaddy walked me through the whole process and got it sorted out. I really like the customer service at GoDaddy. They have always been very helpful whenever I’ve run into problems.

    Hope you had a super weekend, my friend!

    • Thank you, Ron. You are absolutely correct — GoDaddy offers FABULOUS customer service! I love how they’re available 24/7 and never act like you’re a complete idiot for not knowing all the techy things. Glad they were able to help you!

      Too often, I’m afraid, clients don’t call for help until they’re in DEEP water. Why they think they can sort things out by themselves is beyond me! And hey, I didn’t even charge her, so how’s that for service, ha?!

      Happy Monday, my dear {{{ YOU }}}}

  2. This is one reason I’ve decided to forego self-hosting and stick with If I were in business, it might be a different matter, but I like not having to be concerned with security, upgrades — all of the things that self-hosted blogs or websites have to deal with. I think it’s wonderful that you know how to do such things. If I ever need a consultant, I know where to go!

    Actually I have my own domain with Yahoo. Strange, how that happened. I got it way back in the day, before I’d ever heard of blogging. The great advantage for me is that I can use FTP for my photos, making it possible to link them anywhere I want. It works for me — and I’m not one to tinker with things for the sake of tinkering!

    • I didn’t use WordPress for my client’s site, Linda. She had a budget and wanted something unique to her business so I just coded it myself. She never mentioned the possibility of selling, either (perhaps she didn’t think that far ahead — many don’t).

      We’re fortunate that the buyer hadn’t bothered to do anything. The passwords were still intact, and all I had to do was “un-publish” her pages. That seemed infinitely easier than making modifications, which he’d already told me he wasn’t going to pay me to do. Part of me wonders whether his “relative” is competent to design new web pages and upload them to a server, but if he needs my help, I guess he can pay for it!

  3. Oh my goodness, Debbie, sounds very complicated to an outsider, but also sounds like you know what you’re doing. When you first got this client, the one that sold his business, or with any client, do you tell them in advance what can happen should they decide to sell? Me thinks it should be part of your contract, “In the event of a sale of your business, here’s what you need to do, or here’s what I can do, etc.” To avoid this kind of ordeal later, I’m just saying. Good luck!

    • She never said a thing to me about a possibility of selling, Monica. I think she just got overwhelmed by running a business AND keeping up with kids at home. Or perhaps the buyer offered her so much money that she couldn’t turn him down?

      As to a contract, yes, I have my clients sign one — to protect them and me. Sadly, a contract can’t possibly cover all possible contingencies (or it would be so long that nobody would read or sign it!!). Good suggestion, though, and I probably should re-read mine to see if I can add something short and impressive-sounding!

    • Why, thank you, Professor. I didn’t use WordPress for her site — just HTML and CSS, mostly. It wasn’t exactly fancy, but it was to her specifications (and her budget!)

    • Thanks, Janna. I’m glad I was able to help her out. Sometimes clients wait too long to ask for help and then they’re in BIG trouble. I hope Mr. Buyer finds someone to help him because, from our phone conversation, he sounded like he, too, was pretty clueless!!

    • Hey Kim, sorry it wasn’t apparent. You know what they say about assuming!! I’m a self-employed web designer working primarily with local businesses or organizations to develop/improve their Internet presence. My work is custom, meaning I don’t use templates, so everything I do is particular to a client’s preferences. Thanks for asking and giving me a chance to advertise, heehee!

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