Avoid the Worst Web Design Horror

Busiess Week Arti­cle: Web Design Hor­rors: the most egre­gious of these involve your domain being “held hostage” by a devel­oper who reg­is­tered the domain in their own name rather than their client’s. As an ISP owner and domain reseller, I saw this too often, and we some­times had to inter­vene to help “vic­tims” recover their domains.

Tra­di­tion­ally, mem­bers of a “pro­fes­sion” (1) com­mand a spe­cial­ized body of knowl­edge, (2) are mem­bers of a self-regulating asso­ci­a­tion or body, and (3) are bound by a strict code of ethics, often bal­anc­ing fidu­ciary respon­si­bil­i­ties. In this sense, there’s no such thing as a “pro­fes­sional” web devel­oper. Nor are there “pro­fes­sional” tree pruners, plumbers, or copy­writ­ers. (On the other hand, there are fewer rec­og­nized “pro­fes­sions” than there should be.) That said, I’m going to have to grant that the word “pro­fes­sional” has changed in its mean­ing, so that this tech­ni­cal def­i­n­i­tion sadly applies only rarely.

If there were a rec­og­nized pro­fes­sional code of con­duct for web design­ers though, I would have to think that reg­is­ter­ing a client’s domain name as their own would fall squarely out­side the code of ethics, and either way is prob­a­bly a breach of a fidu­ciary respon­si­bil­ity to the client.

Do a “whois” search on your domain (where you do this may depend on your domain exten­sion). If you find your domain is reg­is­tered this way, take imme­di­ate steps with your designer to have it trans­ferred into your own name, even if the rela­tion­ship is on good terms at present.