Provided by:  Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
February 4, 2020
 
Question:

Jennifer,

My web designer is terrible but I do not know how to end the relationship because he is the controller of my website.  Any advice? 

Thanks,
Dr. I


Answer:

This situation is unfortunately not uncommon.   You hired a website developer, probably a while back, and perhaps tasked that person or company with purchasing your domain name and hosting package.   You now may or may not have your user name and passwords for those accounts.   With our websites becoming more prevalent as a patients first contact with your practice, controlling that portal is critical.  

Presumably you have some type of services agreement with the web designer.  Hopefully that agreement (whether a contract or initial emails discussing services) clearly shows a chain of ownership in the intellectual property and that the web designer is just a “work for hire”.  First step here is to ask the web designer for your website credentials (username and password for hosting and domain control accounts).  Once you have those you can move your property (the domain and the website content) to another company as web designer and change your passwords if you want.  Your current designer may need continuing access to help with a move, which leads us to the second step point...  

Oftentimes an inclination to change is brought upon by a dispute over fees or dissatisfaction with services rendered. Either of these circumstances might frustrate desires to work with the current designer to wrap up.  

However, it is highly likely you will not get far (easily) without the initial web designer’s assistance, so we are motivated to act amicably with the web designer.  

So, tread lightly and be quick to call if matters are heating up.  Do not risk your site being blocked or removed by the designer.