Control of Website

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Richard0001, Sep 13, 2019.

  1. Richard0001

    Richard0001 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2 0
    Good afternoon all,

    Earlier in the year, I bought a company (that provides training workshops) that have been operating for around 10 years. In return for the fee I paid, I received a number of future bookings, plus the website, email address etc. Unfortunately, it transpires that the previous owner had originally asked an independent website developer to buy the domain address, create the website, and host it. He had been paying (a pretty large) monthly fee for 'maintenance'. The website is very small - 4/5 pages, and very, very old looking!

    A huge part of buying the company was in order to control the domain name and email address associated. It now seems I have neither of these things. I paid the website developer his normal monthly fee for a few months, before asking him to change the ISP tag of the website so that I could transfer the domain, and add it to my own hosting package. He seemed very agreeable, and readily said that he had done so.

    Unfortunately, the ISP tag is still showing as his (at least according to my hosting provider and a WHOIS search). My question now is..............what do i do?! At any point he could delete or change the content of the website, or simple delete the associated email account. I don't believe there was ever a contract between the original owner and the web developer..... . My contract with the original owner does mention the website is included in the sale, but of course doesn't go into specifics.

    I have just sent him another email asking if he can double check the ISP has been changed on his end....But i expect to him to simply say that it has. Either he is making a technical mistake, deliberately misleading me, or a third option that is beyond my technical awareness. Any technical/legal advice?
    Posted: Sep 13, 2019 By: Richard0001 Member since: Sep 13, 2019
  2. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,776 9,028
    ...or he just doesn't know how or he sees his golden goose flying out the window.

    First thing you need to do is get the domain transferred to your name. This can be done is seconds by the developer. If they refuse to do this nominet can help (if it's a

    Once the domain is in your name you can ask the registrar to change the ISP tag for you.

    The developer cannot legally hold you to ransom. But the previous owner hasn't helped matters.
    Posted: Sep 13, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
  3. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Regular Free Member

    421 85
    If the name is, as you say, registered in the developer's name you can't do anything.

    The thing is, how important is the name to your business and does the website generate much traffic? One way out would be to start afresh with a new domain name that you control and copy over the old site to the new.

    You say it's only 4/5 pages and doesn't look very good. May as well take this opportunity to start again?
    Posted: Sep 13, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
  4. Clinton

    Clinton UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    4,339 1,604
    If you don't know anything about buying businesses, you should have taken advice. When people are too tight to pay for professional assistance it's not surprising they end up in the doo-dah.

    This is the most rookie of mistakes! And, no, the huge part in buying a company like this is not to "control the domain" but to bloody own it!

    With respect legal advice - yes, take the contract you signed with the vendor and make a claim under the warranties and indemnities you do doubt extracted as part of the deal.

    Oh, wait, you didn't get a lawyer to draw up a proper contract and therefore have no valid claim against the vendor?!

    You did not check if there was a contract between the owner and the developer? Jeez!

    And you did not even check who owned the domain? Double Jeez

    If you had done the most basic research before shelling out your money you'd have come across articles like this one of mine explaining what to do when you've bought someone's website. But you didn't hire a professional and didn't bother to learn even the basics yourself. Why? Did you just assume you were smart enough to not need any external help?

    You are at the mercy of the developer (I don't think Nominet will help). Go see him and offer him a lumpsum. That's the most practical solution. He may sting you for a fair bit. I hope not, but if he does you should write it off as the price you're paying for not being smart enough to hire professional assistance when you bought the business.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
    Posted: Sep 13, 2019 By: Clinton Member since: Jan 17, 2010
  5. Richard0001

    Richard0001 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    2 0
    all fixed

    Posted: Sep 13, 2019 By: Richard0001 Member since: Sep 13, 2019