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Nuneaton, Warwickshire, United Kingdom, 2006/09/04 - Some businesses are spending a large amount of money on a web solution, only to find out that the system they have paid for and the back-end code is not actually owned by them, but is in fact being licensed to them by the web design company.
The Case Study below gives an example of this problem, and summarises the reasons why it so frequently occurs.
CASE STUDY 1 (Provided by Dreamscape Design)
Client A has spent a large amount of money on a new online shopping site, only to be told (after the site has been completed) that the e-commerce system is only being licensed to him. If he wants to host the website with another company, he will lose the license and will be unable to take the database, administration area, or back-end code with him. Obviously this poses huge problems, as he is now essentially being ‘Held to Ransom’, and is unable to move hosts without losing the rights to the system.
Client A is not alone in this situation, and whilst there is nothing morally or ethically wrong with web design companies licensing software to provide business solutions, the problem occurs due to poor communication between the web design company and the client. It is the responsibility of the web designers to ensure that the client is made aware of all ownership rights related to the system, and whether it is being purchased or licensed by the client.
The technical processes involved in developing a web solution may be fully understood by the web developers, but this is not necessarily the case for professionals involved in other industries, who require a website for their business. It is the role of the web design company to ensure that these processes and technical details are translated in layman’s terms to the client.
James Brack of Dreamscape Design (based in Warwickshire, UK) has constructed a list of points that should be raised with the website design company before any contracts are entered into. This will help to avoid the potential problems mentioned above, and give you a clearer picture of your rights:
1). Will the website use a "Bespoke" back-end system created solely for my company to meet my exact needs, or will you be adapting a previously developed software package?
2). Will I be paying for ownership of the system, or paying for the rights to use the system?
3). Will I own the rights to the website, or will there be elements within the site that I will not own?
4). Will you still develop the system if I choose to host with another company?
5). If I am unhappy with your hosting services, will I be able to move the entire website (and back-end system) to another host?
6). If hosting with you is a requirement, what guarantees can you give me that I will not lose the system if your company goes bust?
7). If hosting with you is a requirement, what guarantees can you give me that there will not be an unreasonable increase in your hosting prices?
8). Is the domain name registered in my company's name, or in your name?
9). Will there be any ongoing costs, that have not already been mentioned?
James Brack states “It is important that you raise these points before entering into a contract, particularly if the web design company has not already mentioned these points to you. In a jargon-filled industry such as web design, transparency is essential in order to ensure that you know exactly what you are paying for.”
Keywords in this release: Website Design & Development, Internet Services, Domain Names, Web Hosting