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Client Revenge -- Getting Back!
by LTrain Designs
I am sure this story will be familiar to everyone, not just designers, but everyone who is in client based relationships.
Not long ago, I designed a Flash Intro for a friend of a friend (never a good situation) for a company called bikiniacs.com. It was a major rush job and the guy only had 3-1/2 days to complete it. He had a major meeting and his site was months away from real development. I don't understand why some people don't plan ahead, but that is another story. So, being the good designer that I am, I labored night and day to get the site done to his standards and in his timeframe. He was pleased and went off to his meeting -- all seemed to go well.
In the following weeks, I sent him my invoice and waited for the check. A few weeks went by and I heard nothing. I called and emailed multiple times and still got nothing. I could tell he was not going to pay for my services.
After a few months, (5 months to be exact) I got nothing. I went ahead and wrote off the work as a loss. My wife, being the stickler that she is, kept bugging me about the loss and telling me that I should have not given the intro to him until money was in hand. I know I should have waited but I didn't, my mistake. She then said, "why don't you buy bikiniacs1.com?". We got a good laugh out of the statement, then the little gerbil decided to get on the rusty little wheel in my head. The next day for a measly $32, I bought bikiniacs.net and started "anti-marketing". Since I am a professional Web designer, I used my knowledge of Web site marketing to my advantage. I know I can market my site better than he can market his. My primary goal is for my site to be noticed on Google, higher than his site is. I even mentioned some of the companies he is associated, like Hawaiian Tropic, and Miss Hawaiian Tropic and plan to email them later on in this process.
I used keywords, metatags, descriptions, alt tags, anything someone would use to get his site, but I used it to drive traffic to my site. I designed a simple, text based, search engine friendly, high in the search rankings Web page. All of my content was about not getting paid and was focused on getting higher in the search engines than bikiniacs.com. The title "Bikiniacs.com does not pay all of its bills" is the first thing you see on Google, even ranked above his site. My plan worked like a charm, I have the top spot at google.
The best case scenario would be for bikiniacs.com to pay me (the initial bill) and buy the url (bikiniacs.net), for a nice amount of chump change. At this point I really don't expect payment, but I hope for the best. If I get paid, excellent, if I don't, at least I might be able to warn others.
Final Note: Client abuse has happened before, and it will happen again, this time I got a little revenge, if all goes well, maybe even monetary revenge.
TIPS FOR YOUR BUSINESS (no particular order):
1. Always get a 50% deposit and require that the remainder of the balance be paid in full before the project files or products are released to the client.
2. Have a local attorney on retainer just in case you have to get down and dirty in court.
3. Get incorporated, this helps protect you and your company from creditors and lawsuits.
4. Do your research about a prospective client before you do business with them. Look up their company name to see if they are listed under the Better Business Bureau or with D&B. Chances are that not all business you do business with will be listed in these databases, that is OK, but still do a little digging to see if your client has a reputation of not paying their bills. You might ask the client for references of people or vendors they do business with.
5. File a claim against them on their credit report. Make sure this is worth your time, because most of the time, this will also cost you money for the collector to get your money back.
These ideas and opinions are those solely of LTrain Designs.
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