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!