- Brian James
- Jameswinston (Underwear) Co.
- Company profile:
- Entered the world of men’s underwear as a start-up. From a position of no experience Jameswinston Co. became known in it’s sector for having the most influential international brand marketing in 2008/2009. An attempt to better position the brand operationally and financially fell foul of the credit crunch in early 2009.
- Oct 2006
My web designer held me to ransom
As a start-up going up against big brands we needed to find a
good quality web design firm. We contacted 10 web designers and
ended up with a shortlist of three:
A: Seemed professional and
spent time wanting to know about our ambitions
B: Was too familiar and not a great
C: Quoted way beyond our budget
Our first choice, A, went on holiday and didn't do work that was
agreed. He was de-commissioned but subsequently held us to ransom
over the domain name he'd kindly offered to purchase 'on our
behalf' (actually registered it in 'his' name!).
We settled on C, who reduced his quote to an affordable
level. That was the beginning of a nightmare which severely
compromised our business...
A web designer who offers to buy your domain name 'on your
behalf' and/or host the site (allowing transactions with credit
card companies, customer traffic info, and so on) 'for your
convenience' is at best potentially shady and at worst could ruin
your business at any point. Doing the above means he can hold you
to financial ransom in future, either when you need to renew
registration or by threatening to sell your company name to
competitors should you become successful (such as if he hits
Allowing him to host the site personally is like giving a
builder the keys to your house who then decides to envoke squatters
rights. He controls your business and could actually shut you down
by withdrawing his hosting support / access to your own site.
If the web-designer has achieved one (or both) of the aims above
then the games will really begin. He'll insist on that hourly
rate for work outside of agreed fixed-price jobs (in our case £60
ph). He'll then simply never know how long a job will take - but
will nevertheless plough on with it. He will then present you with
a bill far in excess of any amounts you've both
Even if he clearly hasn't followed the agreed brief he will want
you to pay (at the hourly rate) for any corrections he's forced to
make through his own errors! And when you start raising issues
about these situations he simply 'won't understand'. (Why should
he? - after all he's in control of your business!)
You can't always avoid making a bad choice but you can protect
yourself - start by following the tips below.
- Do not let your web designer buy your domain name
- Do not let him do your hosting (it's often outsourced to larger
operations anyway - you're just charged more!)
- Always hold an updated copy of your website
- Make sure the site includes SEO work as part of the main deal
(or it will appear as an expensive 'add-on' later)
- NO hourly rates
- Get an approximate price on all jobs before starting (don't
believe him when he says he can't)
- Do not pay upfront for a job
- Move on if there is no natural synergy. Remember, bad
web-designers work off the principle of 'whatever they can get away
Find out more about Jameswinston Co.
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