Who Controls Your Online Properties?

November 1, 2016

Recently I met with a local business in hopes of helping them with their Web site or other online content. While they were interested in having my help, there was nothing I could do because a former friend had taken their accounts hostage.

First I mentioned that the domain name for their Web site had expired just a couple of weeks earlier. Yes, the friend had registered the URL in their name and was the only person who had the ability to login and renew the domain. This meant the Web site didn’t work and neither did any e-mail associated with the domain name. The business owner has all kinds of printed material

Then we moved on to the business’ Facebook page as Facebook allows multiple people to be an Administrator of the page. The same friend had only granted the owner of the business Editor status on their own Facebook page. Not only does this restrict the owner from having control over their own page, it also means that should anything happen to the sole Administrator that the page would permanently be locked. While there can be a way to have Facebook transfer the page, it is a very difficult process. If you have a Facebook page, it is very important to have at least one other person as Administrator that you can trust.

I won’t list all other other accounts that the business owner can’t access. But there are similar stories where they are locked out of the accounts. All this because the friend who set everything up had a falling out with the owner.

It is very important for anyone who has any online property to make sure that they have the ability to access the account. I’ve had trouble starting a number of Web-based projects because the owner didn’t know how to get into their own accounts. If they can’t get in, I can’t (legally) get in either.

In a number of situations, I’ve gone out of my way to set up new accounts in the name of the business owner. This often makes the process more difficult but I want the owner of the business to own their accounts. Should they ever choose to move to a different Web developer, they will have that choice. I feel I will do a good enough job that they won’t consider changing.

For those who haven’t checked lately, make sure you can access all of your accounts. If not, start the process of getting access so you won’t get locked out!

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Foster D. Coburn III

Foster D. Coburn III built his first Web site in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013. He has used the Divi theme exclusively since 2015. Earlier in his career he was the author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences.

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