My website designer company is Ghosting me.
By - tylerden
If it’s only been a few days, I wouldn’t give up on resolving it yet. I’ve met people who think it’s acceptable to go MIA for days because something came up in their lives and they were stressed or had an emergency. There’s not much you can do right now anyway, just hold tight for a few more days and think about alternative domains in the meantime. Buy one yourself if you think of something good. If it’s over a week of no-comm, probably time to leave a bad review and cut your losses.
Honestly just seems like a communication problem. Client is admittedly slow. Suddenly decides to shift into high gear and annoyed that designer doesn’t drop everything he’s doing to work on his stuff. No excuse for the designer to ghost him though, that’s just childish.
I’ve had the reverse happen to me. Client is mia for weeks and then on a Saturday night suddenly blasts my phone and emails me all the stuff I’ve been asking for and expects the site built and ready for Monday lol.
Suspect client was slow to get going so code monkey took another job and moved on. Hopefully giving them a little time to get done and back to this client shall resolve it.
You're making lots of judgements based on a limited amount of information.
If a client ever threatened me or demanded a refund solely because I didn't answer their email for a day or two, I would drop them as a client immediately. Life's too short to waste time dealing with people like that.
Give me a refund or I'm taking you to small claims court as you mentioned in your previous post is pretty much the definition of a threat.
> I’ve met people who think it’s acceptable to go MIA for days because something came up in their lives and they were stressed or had an emergency.
Is this not acceptable? I mean, if someone has an emergency, are we expecting them to finish their work stuff before or while attending to it?
Let’s be reasonable here. Work is not life. Shit happens. Going MIA for a few days is perfectly fine if you need to get your personal life in order.
There’s a difference between going MIA and dropping a quick email saying you’ll be unavailable dealing with something. Communication is key and *most* people are understanding.
Exactly. I experienced this also with a lawyer I hired. Was ghosted for an entire week at a crucial time while they were on an unannounced vacation. The best part was they have an assistant working that is cc'd on all email to assist with this. Not even an out of office note was sent or anything. It is too easy now days to not at least set an out of office response.
This $57/month client almost certainly isn’t their only client. It’s probably not a matter of “dropping a quick email.” But, yeah, I’ll be sure to remember to spend an hour emailing all my clients next time I’m in the midst of a personal crisis.
I get what you’re saying, but if you’re in the right frame of mind to think of it, an email auto responder would go a long way with about 2 minutes of effort. Literally just typing, “sorry, will be MIA for several days as I deal with [a family emergency or whatever]” would shut most people up.
I'm well aware of that and as a freelancer I've certainly prioritized life over client-relationships but it is common courtesy to let them know what is up *especially* if they've reached out during the absence. Work doesn't need to be all consuming
No need to get snarky. You can set an email auto response (unless that takes you an hour to set up as well), BCC all of your clients in one update email, or you're fine to just ghost clients. Some of my clients are fine with that and understanding but I've worked for others who did want to know if I'm unavailable.
When my best friend killed himself in college I sent my profs a quick note to let them know I'd be away for a while. It's still possible to endure a tragedy and respect others.
It's a little different when you have 50 clients and are in a professional atmosphere where disclosing the fact that you're taking personal time might not be taken well. I'm sure most people will understand, but others will not.
It's also possible that this person isn't out of the office but are simply backlogged. You can't set an autoresponder for simply being behind on your work. Has no one here ever been in a situation where you're a few days behind on your email?
A couple of years ago, the ceo of my wife's company had a heart attack and they were able to get word out to clients. It was kind of like a Mad Men episode. Some people and companies are just better at managing a crisis.
It depends what’s going on on their end. If there truly was some emergency, then yes, I think it’s acceptable, but if they do that they should have the understanding that the client may start getting nervous or possibly mad.
From this user's other comments:
> I'm able to compartmentalize my job from my free-time and I just choose to spend my free time doing extra work.
> Woah you had to work over 40 hours a week? Poor thing I bet you sure could use some hot cocoa and a blanket.
> Wahh!!! You aren't productive after 8 hours anyways!!! Wahh!!!!!!
This is not a person with a healthy sense of work/life balance.
I've worked with people like this before, who live for work and look down on people who don't. They expect immediate responses to every email and look at every task in a vacuum (e.g., "X Task should only take 30 minutes, why isn't it done yet?!?" When you have 100 tasks lined up with priority over X Task.) They're miserable to work with and should be avoided at all costs.
It's possible to have a healthy work/life balance and still be successful.
> You know, I'd respect you more if you actually quoted me without changing what I said.
I changed nothing. It was a direct cut/paste. I didn't include the entire lengthy comments, but the snippets I included were not modified.
Maybe it's just me, but I find this reaction bizarre, immature, and badly out of touch with the way people actually live.
I think you're right when you say that some people's biggest problem is their own inability to take ownership over the things they do. I think you're also right that this guy probably could take the time to shoot off an email to ease the mind of a small client who is probably emotionally invested in his business.
Where I think you're wrong is when you say that people are inherently irresponsible if they don't set up an autoresponder unless their house is burning and earthquakes have leveled the city. While everyone goes through shit, not everyone's shit is uniformly intense or of the same consistency. Maybe this guy is usually on top of things but his shitstorm knocked out his internet connection.
You should have registered the domains yourself so that they would be yours.
This sort of thing really sucks. What currency was it? I hope you'll manage to get a hold of them.
Currency is South African Rand
So he paid about $57 USD for the first month and $34 for the second? Uh, yeah, I’d expect that a “website design” company charging those rates wouldn’t be particularly responsive.
My thoughts too!!
You underestimate third world currency. Poorer people in South Africa can live for a month on that amount.
Average income in South Africa is R13,044 per month—about 16x what OP paid. I’m sure there are some poor people that survive on significantly less, but let’s not pretend that OP paid good money for a high-quality, fast service.
Yeah I was flip-flopping between South African Rand and Russian Rupees.
If he’s waited for you for a long time, he’s gotta take overlapping jobs to pay his bills - more than likely he’s been forced to take a few more jobs and you’ve been moved to a lower priority. Keep contacting but be patient in the short term.
Not to be a downer, but if you can’t get ahold of him to initiate a domain transfer to an account of your own (at NameCheap.com, for example) then you are fucked until the domain expires and you can pick it up with a domain auction.
The good news is that since these are new domains you can register and use a different domain.
Domains are held at a ‘registrar’, it’s not hard to get started - YouTube “how to register a domain” and add the registrar of your choice to the query. I recommend NameCheap.
You can take the project to anyone once you’ve got the domains, I would call him every single day and make the next action a domain transfer.
If after a week he doesn’t return your call, threaten to leave negative reviews on his business and then follow through a week later. Continue to call and reiterate that you have left a negative review, but you’re happy to remove it or update it once the project is finished and you own the domain, the finished work, and can transfer to another developer.
It’s drastic, but it shouldn’t be necessary. Persist, stay polite but firm, and be willing to extend grace for personal circumstances if due explanation is provided.
> domain expires and you can pick it up with a domain auction.
Since most domains are registered for a year and its gonna cost more than what he is spending on the entire site on the domain to to get it back, I would STRONGLY suggest OP just find another domain.
Especially since there’s no SEO history at the other domains.
Absolutely. And.... domain transfers suck even when you every party is informed and willing lol
Oh also, never let your hired freelancers buy your domain. There’s no need.
I would think any SEO history would be gone by the time the domain comes up to reclaim it.
The domain might still be worth securing, it may not be a nightmare. Contact the designer every day for a week and if that doesn’t work send a letter before action, then take them to small claims court.
I saw from other comments that it was international, so I guess try to contact them but it sounds like he already did that.
And in the future, buy the domain yourself and point the nameserver to wherever they want so that you still control the ownership, but they control the management.
This is also solid advice to web developers as well. Have the person buy their own domain. I had one guy not pay his domain renewal despite several warning emails. Thankfully the domain host has a grace period where they just shut the site down and thankfully I was bragging to a friend how I made a website just to be embarrassed by a downed website; had that not happened then I may not have notified him in time.
The cost to get those back is at least $500 and if you control the domain you are on the hook to get that back. It's not worth the risk.
Stay away from Namecheap for anything. Get your domains from Google or something.
They're a terrible company. Crap hosting, quick but crap support, lock you into all sorts of packages. I've had nothing but problems with them.
I don't recommend them for hosting, but I've found their domains service to be more than sufficient.
For hosting I recommend either SiteGround or (for dedicated WP) Flywheel/WP Engine.
Google Domains is definitely a good option. Hell, for domain registration I even support GoDaddy - though as you feel about SiteGround, I don't recommend GoDaddy to anyone for anything other than domain registration.
*checks trough post history*
yeah, I don't see any reason why they might be ghosting you /s
heh. totally curious. :D
I'm sorry you're going through this.
It's something I always do with all of my clients -- I ensure the domain is in THEIR NAME and I'm added as a tech/admin/support contact only. There is never a single good reason a web-dev should own the rights to your domain name.
It's like giving the title of your car to a mechanic. Makes no sense. They only need to manage it, they don't need to own it.
The way that small developer companies and individual designers (and builder) _have_ to work is to juggle projects; they have to have several on the go at once, because otherwise there may be months between projects without income at the end of a project. So they are typically servicing 3 to 5 projects at once.
Your project is near the back of the queue because you were slow on inputs. Assuming your guy is not con man, he's missing in action because he is working himself to death trying to finish the project he's dealing with, so that he can help the others.
And even when he gets to your project, he won't have an instant response; it takes time to build something.
Please note: too cheap is a large warning siren. FWIW, I bill $45/hr US when doing work for friends, so....
OP has some pretty questionable thoughts on race and gender. Maybe the dev caught wind of OP's character and decided to cut and run. Can't blame them.
Check OP's post history
With a quick glance, I can't see anything relevant, mostly computer stuff.
At any rate, discriminating someone on a technical sub, because of his opinions on something totally irrelevant is, at least, ironic.
(unless he eats babies or something idk)
Just to add to the top comment here OP, Frikkadel is probably the cheapest .co.za domain provider here that I know of. Just a heads up.
I didn't mean for it to come out like that
Look, I want my domain, that's the problem
I wonder how anyone could ever ghost such a pleasant guy
Didn't mean for it to come out like that. It's all been sorted out
Never, never, never, trust anyone to hold onto your domains/servers for you. Technically the domains are his. You paid him, great, but unless he wants to be a stand up guy, you're shot in the foot.
If the person did not provide you with the data about the domain name registrar, you've got nothing allowing you to take control of the domain names.
Properly done, the domain names would have been contracted in your name and you'd have all the info on the Registrar.
You are totally at their mercy if you have not credentials.
Is there a way to see it the domain name is in my name?
If you have to ask, it probably isn't.
You can do a domain name lookup, but most companies protect registration details. Could be worth a shot though.
Atleast you can find the registrar of domain name via whois lookup, in case personal info is hidden. Search on web whois
You need to chill for a minute bud. You’re not this persons only client, especially with what you’re paying. Odds are another, higher paying client is demanding his attention right now. As is the life of a web dev, particularly one that’s freelancing and doesn’t have an entire team supporting them. I wouldn’t be surprised if you go a week or more between hearing from him, especially if you are one of his low priority clients. Don’t like it, pay more so you become a high priority client. The web dev only has so much time in a day and making a website isn’t exactly a fast and simple process.
Most likely he is working on another site because you didn't give your input quickly enough. He will get back to you.
what currency is R800? when I google it, it suggests 800 South African Rand, which his $58 USD, or BRL which is $150USD.
Either way, that seems very cheap. Did you outsource this for cheap?
It may not be that they're scamming you, it's more likely they are juggling A LOT of work for small amounts of money, so they're busy trying to complete their other work. If you're going to outsource, then you have to expect the quality of work is going to suffer.
That's not how currency works, man. You shouldn't compare every currency to USD. BRL worths sh\*t right now, but 800 is still 800 for us. It's only cheap when compared to a currency that is worth 5x more than ours.
I understand what you're saying; but if the OP is living in a wealthy country and outsourcing to other places for a fraction of the cost, this throws up a lot of red flags.
Those promoting their services to places like the USA for cheap means they are competing 100% on cost (as opposed to those charing higher prices because they are competing on skill and quality). This attracts a certain type of developer who is not trying to produce quality work, they're smashing stuff out for non-technical clients who only care about the price.
I'm not saying there aren't brilliant developers in Brazil, but they are not charging those rates, and are going to be much more professional and would never ghost their clients.
I've lost count how many times I've been hired to fix a project that a client of mine tried getting done overseas for cheap, only to find it was of poor quality. And unfortunately most of the time I have to tell them it's not salvageable and we need to start again.
My advice to clients is to only get things done overseas if:
1. They have technical people in house that can do code review
2. The project isn't too complicated (ie. creating flat HTML/CSS templates, as opposed to complex web applications)\*
3. The project is not time sensitive
\* again, I want to stress that I'm not implying that people from poorer countries aren't able to produce high end, complex web applications. It's that creating a flat HTML page remotely isn't too problematic, but trying to wrangle a team of people who speak a different language and work in opposite time zones to work together to produce complex software is extremely difficult.
If I have a local developer who I can tap on the shoulder, or work with over slack/zoom to work through issues as they come, it makes the process a lot smoother. The alternative is getting a new build at 3am, wake up and find a bunch of issues, file a bug report, then wait til 3am the next day for a new build, only to find they misunderstood one of the items, and needed clarification on another, so most of the work done is either wrong or not completed so I have to wait another 24 hours to hope the next build is right.
If r800 means 800 brazil currency, that’s not a whole lot of money.
Me to we all have that side lol
If you do happen to get a hold of him, make sure first priority is moving those domain names under your control.
What do I ask? How would I have them under my control? Where is the registry for domain names, can I check to see it the domain is in my name?
Ask him where the domain names are registered and to have him transfer them to your name, this will have to be done through the registrar so may take a bit.
You should have him add you on as a second person on the domain name account immediately. If he does this you may be able to transfer the names to yourself. Probably depends on the company they are registered with.
Find out which domain registrar was used. Create an account with said registrar. Then ask the developer to 'push' your domain name to your account.
If the R800 is in South African Rand then that's R1760 total which is equivalent to £90 or $127. I'm not surprised this is the level of service you are getting.
As a developer. I sometimes get so many requests at one time I just add them to a 'reply later' list while I sort out my priorities, but it quickly gets out of hand. A lot of the time it's been a few days before I finally get to them.
Could be really slow communication. I myself strive to be transparent and not leave people hanging long. But covid certainly took a tole on me and honestly I’ve been struggling through depression the last several months and sought help and medication. I feel horrible for being that person who is now slow to communicate and get work done. But I’m taking each day to build back a little bit to who I used to be. I hope he’s not being a turd on purpose and gets in touch with you soon.
would be funny if it was the wrong email address the whole time lmao
There’s not much you can do right now anyway, just hold tight for a few more days and think about alternative domains in the meantime. If it’s over a week of no-comm, it’s probably time to leave a bad review and cut your losses. I understand you because my dad had a similar situation last year. Unfortunately, he lost a lot, but after the reviews https://www.dentalqore-reviews.com/review.html , everything worked out for him and we are very happy. So now we carefully select people or companies for cooperation or assistance
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Depending what you have in writing taking him to small claims court would be a solid approach. If everything was done on a handshake then you have a ton to learn about going into business... with that, still take everything you got and still try to go after him.
Small claims doesn't really work across oceans.
Ah, I didn't realize this was international... yeah... there were a ton of overlooked red flags there.
If you own a company with the name and it is being held by someone who doesn’t I am pretty sure you can talk to ICANN and get the domain. At least I have heard of that happening
Why am I being downvoted lol
It's sad to know when companies like them do this.