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I dont know what to do....long

Posted by Tnladyhillbilly (My Page) on
Fri, Jul 11, 03 at 1:13

Hello, Im in a bit of a quandry and thought maybe some of you could help me sort this out.
I contacted a developer to do a website on Jan 3,03. I discovered well into the project that he had never done a site like mine.I did the design myself and he did the coding and scripting, he is also hosting my site. His first estimate of completion date was 2 weeks from the time I sent him the design drafts. I knew at the time that he would be doing the site as a sideline job but never expected it to take 5 months to complete.
Due to the delays I lost about half of my initial member base. I had sent him to a sample site before he took the job so he would have some idea of the time and skill involved.
I got final invoice on May 5, 03 with a support agreement. He was paid in full on that date. I have not yet recieved any form of documentation on ownership of the site or any backups of the site or anything else I should have recieved by now.
My website contains 7 forums and a photo gallery with image upload capabilities in each forum. Its not your average private site but nothing huge.
I had sent him an email asking pricing and time line on some new features a couple of days ago and I got an email from him tonite....very enthusiastic about the new features and giving me price quotes and completion times,"These additional features are great ideas, and I will be more than happy to accommodate you!".
He stated that the new features would take no more than 4 hours of developement time. I had not sent a reply to this email and had no contact with him.
An hour later I get an email from him stateing that my site "does not conform to our business objectives. We are currently seeking development and/or hosting projects that are more commercial in nature. From the date of this notice, we are offering 60 days in which for you to locate suitable hosting and development services of your choice. During this period, I will continue to support the site per the support agreement as it exists. Additional features will need to be accommodated by your selected developer. Please note, however, that all balances must be kept current during the remainder of the hosting period.".
I dont know what to do. I have no knowledge of coding, scripting or hosting....thats what I was paying him for.
Over the past 7 months we had built up a comfortable working relationship and I dont have a clue what has brought this about.
Am I being unreasonable by being madder than h*ll over this?
Is this common business practice for developers?
Thanks, Sheila


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: I dont know what to do....long

What's the URL? I can look at it and tell you about how hard it will be to move. Pair.com is a good hosting service.

I'd be madder 'n hell, and it is NOT common business practices. But you apparently did not have a written contract.

First: you need to rescue your core site content in case they get snitty on you.

Go to www.webreaper.net and download webreaper. It can "suck" the text and images onto your hard drive.

Then contact the developers and ask for a CDROM with all the content AND the scripts they wrote for you. They might go all snarly at this stage, which is why you need to salvage pictures and content.


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RE: I dont know what to do....long

I do web development as a sideline myself, and though I sometimes overestimate my ability to complete a site by a couple of days, I'm *never* more than twice my initial time estimate, and that includes one project interrupted by a child undergoing surgery. Many of my delays are usually caused by the hosting company I front for not *really* delivering the features that I'm supposedly paying for, thus sending me scrambling to plug a gap. Other delays are from me stretching my limits and spending more of my own time than I expected getting the prep work done so I can actually start billing the client for things particular to their site. But with as many pre-prepared and open source scripts as are available right now, most "fancy" stuff I get requests for is typically just a matter of finding a package that meets their needs and configuring it for them, and I often find something with extra features as a bonus, and at a much lower cost than me writing something from scratch.

I'd have to see the site myself, but its possibly to download open source forum software with image upload capablity thats essentially ready to go "out of the box", should he be unwiling to deliver a copy of your site to you. All my clents get the logins to their hosted domain and are listed on the domain registration as well.

My guess about his change of attitude? I think he's about to close up shop completely, and you asking him to do something else that may have been beyond his capability to do might have finally convinced him to pack up rather than suffering on with limited business.


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RE: I dont know what to do....long

Update:
After a few choice words in emails to the developer the problem has been resolved at least for the moment. The developer has decided to stay with the site and has completed the additional features that were requested.
I still have not recieved anything that proves ownership of the site except for an email from him stating that at the time of payment (which was made the day it was requested) that he gave up all authoring and copyrights to the site and all it contained including scripting.
Ive requested this information from him once and will request the information again this week.
Thanks for your responses and your help.
Sheila


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