A story of why you should ALWAYS pay your web designer...
So I have (had?) a client that decided he didn’t want to pay the full price for my web design services AFTER he signed the agreement. What happened was he paid my 50% deposit, and I sent him the beta version on my server. He took that link to other designers and asked them to build it for cheaper. When he found a designer who would, he told me he was no longer needing a website for his business and wanted to terminate. When I said he was on the hook for the amount, he ignored me for a week and then told me he hated the website. I sent collections after him and the agent found out he had another designer working for him. This new designer charges $350 for a complete website with a year of hosting and SEO.
What happened next is phenomenal.
New designer couldn’t copy my website, so he provided an HTML (non responsive, to boot) website instead. Collection agent gave me the new website and when I looked, it was okay looking. I checked the source and right in the header tag, it said, “mirrored from…”
His designer copied the code, pictures, slogan and favicon from this other company. Being the good little designer I am, I contacted the company and asked if they knew their website had been copied. Obviously, they did not. I sent a bunch of screen caps and information to him.
Owner of website contacted my (ex) client and ripped him a new one. Client threw the designer under the bus, so the company owner called the designer next. Owner of the company threatened corporate lawyers on him.
By 11pm last night, the website was offline. By 7am this morning, a new website was up… again mirrored from a hair & beauty salon in Las Vegas.
So I called the web designer of that website and let him know. His response, “of all the websites I’ve done, they copied that one?”. He called the designer and the designer responded by removing the “mirrored from” tags in the code. Original designer will be doing a little research and starting the process for theft of intellectual property tomorrow.
Because I’m a horrible person, I went through this designer’s profile and found a few more copied websites, and sent screen caps of pages and the code to each of the original owners, as well as information on what to do. If someone wants to copy code and learn from it, fine. But don’t sell someone’s hard work as your own.
At this point, I don’t even care if I get paid from my ex client, because I have been so amused by this entire saga. But I updated my collections agent and after he was done laughing, he was going to call my ex client back and recommend he pay me completely and get the original website I created for him, rather than the mirrored hack job(s) he also paid for.