Personal chef claims he can’t get his domain name back and former web marketing firm is sabotaging his new website.A Miami personal chef has sued the owner of a web design/marketing company, alleging (pdf) that the company held his domain name hostage after he canceled services.
Stuart Shaw says he contracted with Need Marketing Group in 2007 to develop a site for him at MiamiPersonalChefs.com. He canceled the services in 2010, but claims that the defendant (an individual) would not allow him to transfer the domain name.
Worse, he alleges that the defendant created a site at the domain name that highlighted his competitors. Shaw also alleges that the defendant undertook a number of steps to sabotage his new site, TheMiamiPersonalChef.com. Shaw alleges that the defendant was behind attempts to send lots of traffic to the site, run up charges on his Adwords ads, and hack into his Google Adwords account.
Web design firms holding clients’ domain names hostage, as is alleged here, is unfortunately a common practice. Clients should never allow a web designer or hosting firm to register a domain name in anyone’s name other than the client, and the client should maintain full control of the domain name.
Unfortunately, that’s not something that a typical small business owner thinks about when outsourcing management of their web presence.