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  1. #1
    imagine no limitations exbabylon's Avatar
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    Dec 2000
    Idaho, USA
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    Domain Name Legality Question

    This questions may fall under another category, but I assume that this is the one I should start under.

    I run a web development company and we recently gained a contract through a marketing firm to develop a website for their client, let's say it was for ABC company.

    We put together our standard contract, with the marketing firm being responsible for all payment, client handling, design layout, etc.

    Well, we developed, bought the domain, and have been hosting the website now for nearly 6 months... with no payment of any kind. Turns out the marketing company only got paid for half of their fees (for everything, not just the website), and never received anything further- so they don't see a reason to pay us.

    I have been in talks with ABC company, and they talked like they would be willing to pay us a percentage of the original price in order to gain ownership of their website and domain name. All the while I, in good faith, have continued to host it.

    I have been unable to reach them for nearly a month, and last weekend found another website that they have built under a new domain name.

    I Googled their company name and found that we had done a great job in search engine marketing- their old domain (the one that I still own) comes up everywhere. Not to mention that they launched a fairly extensive marketing campaign last fall with my domain name.

    So, can I put up a "public notice" of non payment, and state the amounts, dates etc. on the domain name I use? I don't want to extort this company, only get the original (or a portion of it) contract price out of the website that we built for them (plus our hosting expense for 6 months).

    Anyone have any input? Have you been here before? Can I post a "shutdown due to non-payment" notice?

    Thanks for all your input,

    Alex Stanton
    Last edited by stymiee; Mar 21, 2008 at 18:21. Reason: use your signature
    Blamestorming: Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

    Exbabylon- Professional Internet Services

  2. #2
    SitePoint Evangelist
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Three words: seek legal advice.

    While seeking legal advice isn't necessarily required, you risk having the other
    party finding out what you're posting here and possibly using it against you. If
    you do what you're asking, you also risk their taking action against you if any
    agreements (especially in writing) was made to begin with.

    I wish I could expound further. But there's no way anyone here or anywhere in
    the world can truly give you "advice" covering everything and anything of your
    issue without knowing everything and anything about it.

  3. #3
    SitePoint Addict
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    If you want to inflict some pain without the repercussions of going public, you could keep the site running but: cut them off from email access. Completely. Don't bouce incoming email. Just blackhole it completely. If sales inquiries come in by email, they'll soon start squealing.

    Make sure you remove all other means of contact from the site such as telephone numbers and addresses. Make email the only means of contact, make it prominent, and blackhole it. Remember not to allow bounces to be sent back to the original sender.

    Allowing adsense on the site but banning their new site might be a nice touch if you need to escalate.

    Start adding late fees every month to the bill.

    Keep all correspondence in case they try to launch a udrp.

    You did *not* register the domain in bad faith. They just have not paid for it yet. They need to pony up the total owed in addition to late fees and interest. They ordered a package, they need to pay for all of it, not cherry pick what they want.

  4. #4
    Follow Me On Twitter: @djg gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy Dan Grossman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Philadephia, PA
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    Just stop providing service. Turn off the website, turn off the e-mail, turn off everything. Don't give them the domain. If they complain, tell them to pay up on their contract.

    What I wouldn't do is post that "public notice" of what's going on. You don't want to end up damaging them and being liable for that damage. Their being in breach of your original contract doesn't give you any rights to do more to hurt them. It does give you right to stop providing those services they haven't been paying for, though.

    If the contract price was worth a day's trouble, try asking a lawyer for advice -- lots of lawyers are willing to talk to you for free. They just won't bring the case and represent you for free. You can bring it yourself in small claims court, though, depending on how much money you're dealing with.


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