Website is Live, I Have Not Been Paid

  • CE/ Pyrocy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So i recently did a flash site for a customer whom i had a signed contract with. The site went exactly as planned and when it came time to pay they split... i had the domain on my hosting and under my account on godaddy... and one day i look. The domain was transfered without authorization by me. And the files had been stolen and the site is now fully operational with my content without payment.

is this a small claims thing? Or should i be on a very aggressive call to godaddy about this situation?
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

How did the domain get transfered without you getting a notification email from Godaddy ?
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I agree. Start with Godaddy since you should have had to complete a domain transfer. However, just a warning there may not be a whole lot you can do. Small claims court tends to cost you more than just writing it off as a loss.

I've had the same thing happen a few times and I've gotten to a point (esp easy with Flash sites) where I put a little xml file on my server and if the site can't find the file and get an ok it won't load. Its possible to get around this but you have to know a lot more than the average client to do so.
  • CE/ Pyrocy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

thats a good idea.. load the flash file from an xml file... but wouldn't that still reveal the original origin of the flash file for them to download and steal? or is there a way to "ghost" it?

QUOTE "you have to know a lot more than the average client to do so." QUOTE
They know nothing about computers... I guess they decided it would be cheaper to higher some kid to steal it and change hosting than to pay me lol

I agree with you on the cost of small claims... i talked to a guy with godaddy and hes sending me info on transferring it back.

grrrrrrrr
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

well I don't load the swf from an xml file. Instead Inside the flash I load an xml file that simply contains code that I can check. So for example:

Code: [ Select ]
if(myXML.childNodes[0].attributes.passcode == "ok"){
// run the AS to build the site
}
  1. if(myXML.childNodes[0].attributes.passcode == "ok"){
  2. // run the AS to build the site
  3. }


I just load the xml file from my domain with a full url path. Since its inside the compiled swf its pretty hard for anyone to figure out what its looking for on my server without knowing how to track the http requests. And even then it still has to find the file on my server so you could replicate the exact content but you'd have to republish the swf to get it to look for the file anywhere but on my server.
  • CE/ Pyrocy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

awww tricky tricky... very much appreciated graphixboy :) :) :)

u'd have to be pretty experienced in flash to even know how to decompile an swf file... and even more experienced to figure this out... lol
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Yeah not completely foolproof but I've found that the people who are capable of getting around that probably aren't going to be paying me to do something they could do themselves.

Best of luck with godaddy
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Small claims costs $50 in the US. But the problem is you have to sue them at the source. In other words if you are in San Diego and they are in Florida, you have to file and go to Florida to sue them.

The better solution is to find why/how Godaddy transferred the domain and get it back.
  • camperjohn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What is the site?
  • b_zilla
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Post 3+ Months Ago

What an unfortunate situation. Seems unusually lucky that you have any leverage with the domain name as most of these sorts of situations don't leave a creative service provider with anything to work with. I don't understand how a domain you own can be transferred away from you without your authorization. Seems like there's a missing piece of the puzzle.

Many of these situations are not repairable and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your point of view) must be left to just being a hard lesson for how to conduct biz in the future. The contract is king, and should always have clarity of terms and deliverables, and helps if presented in the spirit of protecting both parties (which is true), not just the service provider.

Also, not unusual or unrealistic to request 1/2 payment up front for a given quote or estimate. One should never fear making this request. Not only that, it only helps to serve all interests if you are making those sorts of requests with confidence. If the client doesn't agree with those terms, walk away. That's often a clear sign that the client is not as interested (as you may've thought) in holding up their end, and you probably just saved yourself a lot of trouble and loss.

There are a lot of creatives that are WAY better at designing and developing and handling the creative than they are at being as skillful on the business end. This shouldn't be (IMHO)...do a little basic business research, and stay fresh at it. Good luck!
  • b_zilla
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Re: small claims specifically, here's my 2c in case it's useful...
In my experience, you may consider not ruling it out, but it's typically recommended that one exhausts options involving contacting the client directly first, that is, assuming the sending of an invoice + a 2nd overdue notice goes unanswered (despite a clear "please remit by x date" on the original invoice). Contact methods that include a time stamp are recommended as they can be useful (naturally) to support a case later. Keep in mind that the more time goes by, the chances of recovery diminish (so best to act swiftly).

If a third and final notice + personal contact by phone and email fail after roughly a 3 month period, then it may be time to consider legal action. Filing a small claims action, particularly if the client is in the same state, is not necessarily an expensive or difficult proposition (and in some cases my even force closure before the actual court date). Getting familiar with your city's court resources is a useful way to learn the process and weigh the benefits and risks. Summons delivery and court costs (short of legal council) aren't large expenses typically.

Hope that helps. :)
  • Merlyn
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would get a hold of GoDaddy first to figure out how or why the site was transferred over without your consent or knowledge? Did they hack your GoDaddy account?
  • interactiveonline
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Post 3+ Months Ago

It really depends on how much they owe you if it's worth fighting or not. If they owe you a few hundred dollars it's probably not worth pursuing. If it's a few thousands then it would be worth it in my opinion. Next time get at least 30% up front.
  • CE/ Pyrocy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I'm not sure how they got ahold of the files... i filed a claim with godaddy and waiting to hear back still. I've been taking screenshots of the site with the date next to it as proof that they where using it without payment.

I got 50% upfront but the leftover 50% is still a couple thousand... it was a big project.
  • interactiveonline
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Another option next time is to include hosting in the design contract. You can host your customers' sites using a reseller hosting package at http://interactiveonline.com/solutions/reseller-hosting

This way, if they don't pay, you have direct access to their site and files. We don't take on any projects unless the customer agrees to host with us for at least 1 year. This gives us better control over their site if they decide to stop paying us.
  • suzie
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Post 3+ Months Ago

!!Go ged em Pyrocy!!

:mrgreen:

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