I Hired This Agency and They Created My Website and Now I Don’t Have Control Over My Website

This is not a frequent incidence in the professional set up however, few incidents like these keep coming where the job is being handled by the not-so-professional people. Clients should understand and you, as a digital marketer, must be able to convey and take them in trust that your job isn’t blackmailing or snatching their business, but facilitating its growth through your marketing knowledge, skills, and strategies.

Our Response to the Question
Clients should always include a ‘work for hire’ agreement in their contract with the digital marketing agency. This way they ensure that the marketing team will work for them, on their website, and without becoming the owner of the website.

It simply means that if the clients have personally signed up for their domain name and for the web host, and they are paying you directly, then they can regain control of their website any time they want. But if the web host and the designer- that’s you, the agency – are the same, you are technically the owner of the website.

What You Need to Own a Website
Typically, when you want to own your website, you will need to have these things:

  • Login details to domain registrar
  • Login details to web host
  • Content on the website
  • Visual features
  • HTML/CSS/Javascript

Website Ownership

Most of the times, clients aren’t even aware of the things that they will require to own their websites. We have been in the industry for long, and we can assure you about the many incidents when we saw the clients actually loosing their websites.

How Does It Happen?
Let’s have a look at the mistakes from the client’s side that snatch their ownership rights from their own websites and its content:

  • Clients should purchase their domain by themselves, using their email ID and payment details. Because of their unawareness, they tend to entrust their designer to do it. This can bar them from pointing their domain wherever they want.
  • Similarly, some clients even commit mistake by not buying the web host themselves, using their email ID and payment details. If they do it, they can regain their access in cases of any fraud or emergency.
  • If you have authored your content (text, image, graphics, and video) you are the owner. Otherwise, the creator of the website (designer) is the legal owner of all content unless included in the contract agreement giving website content ownership to you upon completion and final payment.
  • Similarly, you own the images, templates, logos and other visual features on your website only if you created them, else you are given a license to use them. You’ll require to keep that license safe to regain the ownership of these features while changing your digital marketing agency.

According to Barret Lombardo of Orbit Media “The website creator should provide an agreement giving HTML/CSS/Javascript ownership to you upon completion and final payment of the project. Otherwise, unless you or your employees authored it, it is owned by the website creator and licensed to you.”

How to Deal with It?
So, when you have a villainous web developer who has usurped your website or took it down, you can do these things:
If you bought the domain by yourself, you can point it to another web host and start a new website.

  • If your domain registrar and host are same-that’s you but you left all work to your web developer who have now taken your website down, you can ask the customer care to change the password. However, you will need to have the billing details with you.
  • If they are using the same template or picture, and if you haven’t signed a contract, then there is nothing much that you can do. However, you can contact the owner of the other website.
  • You can also change the host though you will be required to re-create the website as you will not be able to access the third party (if any) content of the old website.

Key Takeaways:

  • Never give the password of your domain registrar to anyone unless trusted or authorized by contract.
  • Create a separate FTP account access for your web developer. In case, you need a database, you have two options, give him access then change the password or ask the hosting company to do it.
  • Always sign a ‘work for hire’ contract for all details.

So that’s it! You should never just give away all the money and sit with eyes shut on everything. It’s your website, and you should always purchase anything or everything on the web in your name only, and with your payment details, so that you can use them to claim your ownership on your website in any emergency that may arrive.

That’s it people! This was our last blog in the 13-blogs series through which we tried to resolve all the queries regarding the very realm of digital marketing that keep boggling us.

Hope you have enjoyed my blogs. You can subscribe for future blogs here..






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Shankar Kumar, Director of Training for Digital Marketing Institute of America, has more than 10 years of experience in online marketing, search engine optimization, and social media industry. He has special interest in making social media strategy and planning and execution of proactive and reactive online reputation management campaigns and is expert at market research, competitor’s analysis and UX optimization.

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One thought on “I Hired This Agency and They Created My Website and Now I Don’t Have Control Over My Website

  1. dmsinstitute says:

    This is such a nice article. It is very Useful to us. Digital Marketing can be a rewarding career for those who are passionate about the internet and who can find within themselves a creative spark. To build a successful Digital Marketing Carrier Path in India, the candidate must be a complete internet freak.

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