Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm in a situation where I've done a website for a client and the year is up and their annual renewal is due. They've decided they don't want to renew with me, which I don't have a problem with and that they would like to go elsewhere. The trouble is, they owe for the updates and changes they've had throughout the year to which they agreed to pay at the end of the year when we began working together.

They want me to change the IPS tag (it's a .co.uk domain) to their new providers registrar so they can take control of the domain but given that I know the kind of people they are, I don't want to release the domain until all accounts are paid up to date (reasonable, right? If they intend to pay they wouldn't have a problem with this, surely?).

I know the company that they want to swap to and have had bad experiences with them in the past. I fear that they will somehow forcefully try to take hold of the domain, leaving me with absolutely no leverage to get the money I'm owed.

As I understand it, unless a domain is preventing a business from doing business or damaging the company's name, it can't be touched - or am I wrong?

I will not disable the email account associated with the domain, but I may well replace the site (it's a very generic domain) with a small site with content based on the keywords in the domain, so that can no way be construed as damaging, correct?

Is there anything else I can do here to stop any potential forceful takeovers of the domain? I'm not asking for legal advice, just exactly what I can do to prevent being conned by this client.

share|improve this question
3  
"leaving me with absolutely no leverage to get the money I'm owed." You mean like a contract? You have one, right? If not, now you know why you should. As to the rest, who's name is on the actual domain registration? If it's not you, and really it shouldn't be, I would be extremely careful about any of the other stuff you say you're thinking about doing. [I'm not a lawyer, you should probably think about talking to one if this is really worth it to you, etc. etc etc.] You should also clarify what jurisdictions are involved here; the TLD doesn't necessarily tell us that. –  Su' Feb 28 '12 at 10:21
    
It sounds like what you're trying to do is the digital equivalent of a mechanic's lien. But while there is sound legal basis for this tactic, I believe you need to formally file for one through legal channels. Otherwise, there's no reason why they can't just call up the registrar and simply ask the registrar to transfer the domain over. On a side note, unless you're a registrar, it's a bit sketchy to have clients renew their domains "with you". –  Lèse majesté Feb 28 '12 at 11:19
add comment

1 Answer 1

but I may well replace the site (it's a very generic domain) with a small site with content based on the keywords in the domain, so that can no way be construed as damaging, correct?

Yes, that is damaging. They will be missing out anybody who would have found them through their website.

share|improve this answer
    
The only recourse in this situation is to persue legal arbitration. Depending on the jursdiction, causing damage to their business can be construed to be extortion, even though they owe you, which puts you on the wrong side of legal arbitration. All the difference between having a contract and hearsay means which side of the sawcut you're on when you cut through the tree branch you're standing on. Don't be a Goofy! –  Fiasco Labs Jan 1 at 22:34
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.