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  1. #1
    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Web Designer link in footer of client's site

    Hi all,

    So I have strong opinions that you DON'T ever suggest to a client that you put your web designer company link in the footer area of your client's site. I'm currently talking to this potential business consultant/marketer partner who suggested we do that if we are going to start offering web design & I said NO WAY.

    He thinks there's nothing wrong with it. I was always taught it's cheap & unprofessional. I'm not a graphic web designer or website coder, I'm a netrepreneur, so IMO, that's the client's real estate, not some free spot to promote one's biz.

    What are your opinions?


    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    What are your opinions?
    My opinion is that I like your attitude that the website belongs to the client and you shouldn't use it to advertise yourself. However...

    In years past it was very common for web designers to put links/give credit to the designer that created the site. And yes, it is a way for the designers to advertise themselves. And in this challenging economy, I think there are a lot of small web design businesses out there that can use all the help they can get. It seems like less designers are putting their links on client websites these days. Either that or the clients are refusing to allow it.

    In any creative field, the people who work on a project want publicly visible credit for the contributions they make. When TV shows and movies list the credits at the end, the producers aren't doing it because they want to; they do it because the people who work on the project demand it. Even lowly workers like gaffers, grips, makeup artists, lighting technicians, location scouts, and others get credit for their input into the finished product. A link to the web design firm that creates a website serves the same purpose, plus it also serves as advertising.

    If the client is comfortable with a link in the site footer giving credit to the web design firm that created it, I don't see any problem with it. The advertising aspect is more likely to be helpful than harmful and it gives creative credit where credit is due.

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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Ok, I see what you are saying. I just don't know if the client knows they can refuse. If it's a first time business owner, they won't have any clue.

    Thanks


    Michelle

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    SitePoint Guru loanuniverse's Avatar
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    Although it might have been standard operating procedure in years past, you are correct that the tactic does seem cheap and unprofessional. When I hired a freelancer to update my website, his first draft had his link in the footer. It was one of the first things, I deleted when I gave him my first set of changes.

    There might be a happier medium, you could ask as a designer for a page in your clients website that credits the design to your firm. A page only accessible via the site's sitemap or a non-prominent link in a non-high traffic page like the "about us" page. To be honest, that might even be better for the designer because you can put the link in context and allow you to add related content.

    Example:

    www.clients-website.com was designed by....located in....and providing online presences worldwide with more than X years in the field
    Using the following technology: CMS, PHP
    link

    I bet that for SEO purposes that would work much better.

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    This topic has come up a few times - try a search on this specific forum for the term 'footer link'. Personally, I think it's cheeky to expect it, you've been paid to create the site and should have no expectation to get free advertising from your client.

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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Good idea LoanUniverse.

    My issue is that I don't know if I can trust this guy now b/c of his views. He's not a web designer by any stretch, but a so called business & marketing consultant.

    Should I just chalk it up to that he's ignorant b/c he doesn't know much about the web design industry? That despite he has a team that will create sites for you?

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    Like so much of business it comes down to context.

    Whether it's trust marks, popular brands, or news media, companies include logos to show association all the time. In fact we may even pay to get them. Now you can argue that certain ones are expected as they bring some level of validation but it easily moves past that to positive recognition... The WordPress footer denoting blogging standards, the vBulletin credit [on this forum] establishing familiarity, the tier-one partner signifying you're in the big leagues.

    A firm can provide a similar benefit or it can be an adventitious business decision or even a matter of pride. The more the client likes the provider, the better the incentive, the more likely it is they'll want to include the credit. And that's really the line I'd suspect people should be using -- do they want it there vs can you force it to be there.
    - Ted S

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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    Like so much of business it comes down to context.

    Whether it's trust marks, popular brands, or news media, companies include logos to show association all the time. In fact we may even pay to get them. Now you can argue that certain ones are expected as they bring some level of validation but it easily moves past that to positive recognition... The WordPress footer denoting blogging standards, the vBulletin credit [on this forum] establishing familiarity, the tier-one partner signifying you're in the big leagues.

    A firm can provide a similar benefit or it can be an adventitious business decision or even a matter of pride. The more the client likes the provider, the better the incentive, the more likely it is they'll want to include the credit. And that's really the line I'd suspect people should be using -- do they want it there vs can you force it to be there.
    I think the difference with WP & VB is that it's a generic piece of software which you can then tweak & remove the acknowledgement at the bottom.

    When it's a custom site, that's different IMO. If it was a template that's inexpensive where several others purchase the same one, fine, I don't have a problem with that & then usually they charge you more if you want no banners/company name on it, but what I'm talking about is a custom site.

    Sure if the site owner doesn't care that's fine, but if the site owner is ignorant they won't know that it's not standard. The GWD could make them believe this is normal in the industry when it's not. I guess we could liken it to a contractor who builds houses. He usually plants his sign on the front lawn, but then the minute the house is finished, it doesn't stay there. That would just be cheezy.

    I admit there are times when I've seen a site & loved the design & wanted to know who the designer is, but any time I've seen acknowledgement in the footer, it's always gone to a portfolio where it's clear they don't know what they are doing.

    Just seems desperate IMO.


    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    Just seems desperate IMO.
    Yes, it always seems desperate to me when artists sign their name across the bottom of their work. Picasso, Rembrandt ... when you see that, you know straight away it's cheap, nasty junk. Same with cars ... I just see that Rolls Royce logo and think—there goes another desperate company about to hit the wall.

    But seriously, as Ted says, branding can be a status symbol, especially if a high profile company has built your site. It seems fair enough to me to have a link in the footer, though I don't tend to do it any more. I've never had anyone complain about it, anyhow. And it's not uncommon for people to want to know who built a site. You can use a meta element instead, but most potential clients won't know to look there.
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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Wow, I'm being attacked for my opinion. How nice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    Just seems desperate IMO.
    What if the client is a big fan of the work they've paid for and wants to advocate their partner? What if there was a mutual exchange provided for the link? What if to ralph's point the creation embodies more than a cookie cutter design with a logo stamped on.

    I don't disagree about forcing / defaulting to this approach but it's not a binary issue and in all reality a website should be distinct enough that you want to have someone to credit, even if you elect not to actually to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    Wow, I'm being attacked for my opinion. How nice.
    If you feel this way please report the post in question which alerts all community moderators.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    Wow, I'm being attacked for my opinion. How nice.
    I was being tongue in cheek, not intending to offend. But I think it's a fair point, though. I don't see a difference between an artist signing his name and a web designer "signing" his/her work. Often an artist's work is commissioned, and yet it's still considered OK to sign the work. It's how the world works, isn't it? As I say, every client I've come across has been more than happy for a link to appear on the site. It's pretty common to have things like that in the footer, just as you have credits in films, an imprint in books etc.
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    Love *********'s Forum ep2012's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted S View Post
    What if the client is a big fan of the work they've paid for and wants to advocate their partner? What if there was a mutual exchange provided for the link? What if to ralph's point the creation embodies more than a cookie cutter design with a logo stamped on.

    I don't disagree about forcing / defaulting to this approach but it's not a binary issue and in all reality a website should be distinct enough that you want to have someone to credit, even if you elect not to actually to do so.



    If you feel this way please report the post in question which alerts all community moderators.
    Sure, if the company loves them & wants to promote them why not, but I was talking about when the guy just places his link there while he's creating the site or he makes it seem like this is standard & the owner doesn't know any better & so allows it.

    I would disagree actually, if I had an ace in the hole with a GREAT GWD, I don't think I'd want to advertise him to my competition Most companies wouldn't.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I was being tongue in cheek, not intending to offend. But I think it's a fair point, though. I don't see a difference between an artist signing his name and a web designer "signing" his/her work. Often an artist's work is commissioned, and yet it's still considered OK to sign the work. It's how the world works, isn't it? As I say, every client I've come across has been more than happy for a link to appear on the site. It's pretty common to have things like that in the footer, just as you have credits in films, an imprint in books etc.
    Well I didn't take it that was as I don't consider GWDs to be anywhere near Rolls Royce, Picasso, Rembrandt, etc. nor is this a painting, it's a business. A business who's selling their products/services, not someone else's.

    I also can't compare a site to a movie/TV show, etc., it's just not the same thing. They are giving credit to EVERY person who worked on that set, not just one person.

    Does a site owner give credit to the website coder? To the copywriter? To the shopping cart software or vendor? To the PHP programmer? There can be many people who take part in creating a site, not just the GWD.

    As for books, the writer gives credit to whomever he wants to give credit to, the book designer or editor can't sneak it in there without the author/publisher finding out about it & I highly doubt they ask the author, "can you give me credit in your book please."

    If you think it's supposed to be that way, then tell me why you don't see it on all or most sites?

    No offense. Glad your clients are doing it for you, I wanted to know what the norm is just in case I was missing something since the last time someone told me it's a no no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    why you don't see it on all or most sites?
    I do see it on a lot of sites. I'm not sure what the % is, though. I guess it's all a matter of opinion how one interprets the comparisons, but it still seems fair enough to me to give some credit. Certainly there may be various people involved in a site, but usually there is a central player/company. I sometimes team up with other people, and we sometimes put more than one link in the footer. As I said, I tend not to do that any more (mainly because I haven't found it that useful to do so), but I personally don't have a problem with it, and no one has ever complained. Once I didn't do it, and the client asked why I hadn't—almost as if he was offended! (He was much happier when I had added it in. Go figure.)
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    In 99% of cases, the footer link is only there for the benefit of the developer, so IMO it is something you should politely ask the client for at the end of the project, just like you'd ask for a testimonial etc. Having it as a clause in your contract or just shoving it there without asking is very presumptuous.

    As for comparing it to an artist signing their work, that's a pretty threadbare analogy which only works for a very small minority of web sites. Having a work of art signed by the artist is going to add value to any commission, and is often the very reason the work was commissioned in the first place (i.e. proof of who made the work). Having John Doe sign the web site he designed is not going to add any value to a 'commissioned' web site, because who designed the thing rarely has anything to do with the actual purpose of the commission (e.g. to promote a business, provide a service, information, shopping etc).

    If a developer feels the need to sign his work, he could do it in the source code. As for the visitors who think 'I wonder who made this site' - yeah, sucks for the developer, but how is this any concern of the client who owns and paid for the site - I don't see how they should be obliged to have a life time, site wide external footer link for that reason? However, if they want to help the developer, they can write up a good testimonial and the developer then adds the site to his online portfolio; then all that visitor has to do is do a quick Google search to find out who designed the site.

    Yes, no harm in asking, but 'expecting' seems wrong to me

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    Life is short. Be happy today! silver trophybronze trophy Sagewing's Avatar
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    This issue keeps coming up, and I agree it depends on context. In many cases, a designer/developer credit on a site can seem cheap or inappropriate. In other cases, it seems just fine. It can go both ways - I have seen credit/links that suggest that both the client and the vendor are downmarket, but I've also seen high-end sites that were built by high-end vendors where the credit/link seemed to be a matter of pride for everyone.

    There seems to be no 'best practice' on this one!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    I do see it on a lot of sites. I'm not sure what the % is, though. I guess it's all a matter of opinion how one interprets the comparisons, but it still seems fair enough to me to give some credit. Certainly there may be various people involved in a site, but usually there is a central player/company. I sometimes team up with other people, and we sometimes put more than one link in the footer. As I said, I tend not to do that any more (mainly because I haven't found it that useful to do so), but I personally don't have a problem with it, and no one has ever complained. Once I didn't do it, and the client asked why I hadn't—almost as if he was offended! (He was much happier when I had added it in. Go figure.)
    Just curious, you say you see a lot of sites with links in the footer. Where are these companies located? I don't know where Batmania is or if that's a joke, is that where all these companies are located?

    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    In 99% of cases, the footer link is only there for the benefit of the developer, so IMO it is something you should politely ask the client for at the end of the project, just like you'd ask for a testimonial etc. Having it as a clause in your contract or just shoving it there without asking is very presumptuous.

    As for comparing it to an artist signing their work, that's a pretty threadbare analogy which only works for a very small minority of web sites. Having a work of art signed by the artist is going to add value to any commission, and is often the very reason the work was commissioned in the first place (i.e. proof of who made the work). Having John Doe sign the web site he designed is not going to add any value to a 'commissioned' web site, because who designed the thing rarely has anything to do with the actual purpose of the commission (e.g. to promote a business, provide a service, information, shopping etc).

    If a developer feels the need to sign his work, he could do it in the source code. As for the visitors who think 'I wonder who made this site' - yeah, sucks for the developer, but how is this any concern of the client who owns and paid for the site - I don't see how they should be obliged to have a life time, site wide external footer link for that reason? However, if they want to help the developer, they can write up a good testimonial and the developer then adds the site to his online portfolio; then all that visitor has to do is do a quick Google search to find out who designed the site.

    Yes, no harm in asking, but 'expecting' seems wrong to me
    I agree, it's the expectation that turned me off from this guy who wanted to do it.

    It was like he thought this is normal so every client would have to do it.

    A testimonial is better yes, unfortunately there's no way to know who created the site UNLESS the designer puts a link to the site on his portfolio page & the proper kws & then we can find it that way.


    Michelle

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    Having John Doe sign the web site he designed is not going to add any value to a 'commissioned' web site, because who designed the thing rarely has anything to do with the actual purpose of the commission (e.g. to promote a business, provide a service, information, shopping etc).
    Nor is putting the manufacturer's logo on my car, or the logo of the guy who sold it to me, or the guy who builds my fence attaching his logo to it etc. etc. but I don't begrudge them doing so.

    Quote Originally Posted by exoticpublishing View Post
    Just curious, you say you see a lot of sites with links in the footer. Where are these companies located?
    That's not something I tend to worry much about, unless I'm buying something from them. Their sites are on the web, though. (I say it's not uncommon, because I often see sites I like and look at the footer to see who created it ... and often the developer's link is there, and I check out their site and other work. It's there often enough for it to be worth looking, anyhow.)

    I don't know where Batmania is or if that's a joke ...
    It's not a joke (well, not completely). Try Googling it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralph.m View Post
    Nor is putting the manufacturer's logo on my car
    A car is an off the shelf product, it is what it is, take it or leave it. Most web sites are bespoke commissions, and the client has say in every aspect from the get go.

    There's also no contractual agreement to leave the manufacturer's logo or dealer sticker on your car, while many web developers are making footer links part of the project contract.

    Apples and oranges

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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowbox View Post
    Apples and oranges
    You chose an example that suited you. What about commissioned works like a work or art, or a fence, or a house, or who serviced your car? It's not uncommon for the service provider to leave an indication of who did the work—be it a commissioned work or off the shelf product. Anyhow, I'm not arguing about whether any of this is right or not, but just pointing out that logos, brands, signatures and the like are everywhere. Even as I sit here typing, I see them all around me—from the signature on the commissioned artwork on the wall, to every item of clothing, to the computer in front of me and every other device on the desk ... I don't see why websites need to be singled out as somehow different.
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    This is why I think that this issue breaks down into two pieces:

    1) Is it acceptable, legitimate, or reasonable to have a site credit displayed? The answer is that it certainly can be, some people are fine with this, and there are many scenarios where it's common and others where it's not. There is no yes or no answer to this questions.

    2) Is it acceptable, legitimate, or reasonable to have a site credit displayed on site X? On any particular site, it's easier to determine whether it's a reasonable thing to do, sure. In some circumstances, can demonstrate appreciation of a great design company or just a business partnership between companies. On lower end sites, it's usually just a benefit to the designer, and lower end designers more frequently put this in their contract. But, each circumstance is different.

    But the idea of determining whether it's 'ok' or not seems like a rabbit hole. Personally, I have never had a site credit on a website in 12 years, but 90% of my business is white-label so that's normal for me. One of my biggest clients is a web design company and they put a site credit on every site. Over the years it's driven a lot of business to them!
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