The Intern and the Domain Name
Posted by: badanov
It has been almost a year and no news so I think it's safe to talk about it now.
I got a call a coupla days ago from a prospective customer whom I had solicited to create their website about two years ago, who had another business which I had also solicited for the same purpose.
At the time two years ago I used my usual pitch, one I still use: even if you don't host with us, you need to stake your claim ( domain name ) to the internet now and I can function as a consultant, fanatical support if you do, dedicated to helping your business use the internet in as efficient a way as possible. Done it hundreds of times.
Sixty days ago this business, a used car lot, parted with $500.00 of their hard earned money to a fella who promised them a website, but who subsequently did nothing with the money, not even returning it. He didn't even buy them a domain name
Not to put too fine a point on it, but these guys are used car dealers; they deal with dead beats all the time. They have a collections staff. They know where you are.
To me, this is like taking Guido's hard earned $500.00 and then keeping it without doing anything for it. This is not going to have a happy ending.
Now the fella who promised a website, had done some very good work in the past throughout the southwest in Texas and Oklahoma doing websites for primarily auto dealerships putting together some very attractive websites. But not for this particular used car lot.
I get a lot of referrals like this: businesses which had websites but which had "disappeared" over time, or which had never been started to begin with. The pattern is nearly always the same.
A fella or gal with a Flash Media package who can design an eye-poppingly pretty website, stick the link into a portfolio, then leverage that work into some kind of Internet or IT job.
Or some fella or gal with a Flash Media package who can design an eye-poppingly pretty website, who gets bored with the work or who can't sell the website to some other agent and decides to just walk away.
The service I was able to sell, the domain name, led me to think about another former customer about a year ago, with whom I was hosting two websites.
I wound up losing both of the websites because they had gotten an Oklahoma University intern ( aka slave or low wage labor ) to redo their websites in Flash.
These folks had suffered a reversal in fortunes when one of their interns had walked away from a website with all the passwords and access. The backups they had were dumps from php scripts, not the scripts themselves. They lost everything. The intern just walked away, so enter the new intern.
After being unable to copy their new web pages to the website I was hosting for them, they decided on the advice of this new intern, to move the site away from me to GoDaddy. They wanted me to help them move the second site as well.
I explained over the phone and in more excruciating detail in an email how to make the move for the second website, since I maintained the domain name for them.
Bear in mind I am furious at this point. They took the advice of this fella over my advice and took business away from me and now they wanted my help in moving the second site.
I decided at that point I just wanted it to be over, so giving them instructions to accomplish that was in a way a joy.
The next day I get an email from GoDaddy telling they had a request for a domain name to be transferred to them, a name which was in fact with with another registrar. I called the customer and explained the registrar the domain I held for them was not GoDaddy, but as such they didn't need to transfer the name, all they had to do was to properly fill out the web forms and they could still use the website name.
I also told them they had to tell GoDaddy if they were dead set against my maintaining this domain name, the domain they wished to transfer, was with another registrar, and I told them who the registrar was. As a personal matter I could do nothing until I received notification from my registrar that a request to transfer had been made.
Later that day, yet another email from GoDaddy telling me a request to transfer the domain name was pending. They were not listening to me and I figured at that point they never would.
I figured at this point there was decision to be made. I could continue to go round and round with these fellas who were taking the obviously bad advice of a graphics designer with zero experience in web hosting.
Or I could just stop returning their emails and phone calls, and just walk away.
The latter was the only decision I could make. I had ethically fulfilled my duties as a businessman in helping the customer accomplish his tasks inasmuch as it would shut me out, but to antagonize the situation would gain me far less.
It was a tough decision, and it was a terrible one as well. The other way I could go, however, was even worse.