Please help - my friend is being blocked from her site!

by MizzCindy 5 replies
OK - ladies and gentlemen. This situation is outside my area of expertise, so I'm hoping someone can give me some wisdom/guidance to pass on...

My friend purchased a domain and hosting package together through one company. Well, she found out the domain actually belongs to the hosting company now, not her. Nasty surprise number one.

Her web site is being updated/maintained on a monthly basis for an outrageous fee by someone who is loosely affiliated with the hosting company (not a direct employee/representative, but very cozy).

Well, when she started asking questions about how to get a copy of her code, the updater started limiting access to the page code and data files by doing things like disabling the copy and paste functions, limiting login access, etc. Nasty surprise number two.

My friend would like to get her data files, her list and her code - hopefully before it mysteriously disappears. She does not have admin access to the back end stuff and she does not have any sort of access to the server (ftp).

What, if anything, can she do?

Doesn't the content still legally belong to her?

Can her site updater legally restrict her access to her own site?

What are her rights?

I'm feeling so helpless for her, and I don't have any answers. I'm hoping one of you can point me in the right direction, so I can help her a little. She's an independent sales rep and her whole business is built through this site. It would really suck if she has to start all over again.

Please, anyone, your help would be greatly appreciated!

#main internet marketing discussion forum #blocked #friend #site
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  • Profile picture of the author melanied
    oh, man, what a nightmare! this is why you never register and host with the same company.
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    • Profile picture of the author lakshaybehl
      What host is it?

      Maybe we can fire a few shots at the *uckers.,...
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      • Profile picture of the author karunnt
        What do you mean by 'code'? You did not seem to say they had to program a custom site for her.

        It seems like she has some type of CMS. If this is the case then it is probably a open source one like joomla and in this case you can just copy the content directly off the site and install the CMS on another host.

        Also there must be some thing in the contract that lets the customer buy their domain for a fee if they cancel the contract.

        Try and get the domain transferred. That is the main thing.

        You can use something like httpget to crawl your site and download the content. Do this before you do anything so at least if they remove your site you still have the content text.

        HTTPGet: Freeware Console Tool for Windows


        Also why not talk nicely to the hosting company? They are the real super admin of the hosting account. Say that you would like them to reset *all* the passwords or you are finding another host. (But copy your content first with httpget). Most likely they will not want to lose a customer.

        This other person cannot disable the account because they are not the true admin. If this does not work then threaten to take them to court and contact the BBB. Raise hell!
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  • Profile picture of the author Veena
    You would have to provide details of the host. When she bought domain name and hosting, what was the contract or TOS?
    How old is the package and how much of her own creative inputs gone for the site?
    It's sad to learn that there are companies fleecing customers like this .. you must let us know the host to save others !!!!
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  • Profile picture of the author MizzCindy
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    I will pass this information along. You have no idea how happy she'll be to at least have some knowledge/options.

    @melanied - I've been preaching not to register your domain names with your host and several people told me I was being paranoid. Uh huh, who's crazy now, right?

    @karunnt - So much useful guidance here! Thank you. I do believe it's some type of CMS based on her description of the interface, but she doesn't think it's WordPress. Is there a way to tell without backend accesss?

    I will also have her drag out her contract to see if there's a domain name buyout clause in it. According to her, they were insistent that they owned the domain. Period. It's her first and last name dot com, so she's sick about this.

    Thanks for suggesting HTTPGet. I'll get that information to her right away. If it can scrape all her content quickly so she can save it, that would be wonderful. She hasn't been organized about saving individual data files to her own computer (another lesson there, boys and girls), so if she can't get all her files back, she's toast. Not fun!

    I'm not sure 'sweet talking' the host is an option. She mentioned they were being quite hostile to her, so I don't know. I will definitely have her pull her contract to see what her options are. I agree, you would think they wouldn't want to lose a paying customer, but I'm so shocked at what they've done so far...well, who knows?!

    Thanks, again, karunnt, for giving me so much to run with!

    @Veena - I'm not sure how old the package is or how long she's hosted with this company, but I do know all the content was generated by her and then simply put up by the updater.

    I will identify the host and updater - but only after my friend has gotten everything she needs. From what I understand, many people who are affiliated with her direct sales company use the two, so that's a bit of leverage as well (if word gets out about how they conduct themselves, etc.).

    @everyone - My friend is a total novice when it comes to all things technical. She's been taken advantage of, and hopefully can get back what is rightfully hers out of this mess. You have all helped enourmously.

    Thank you!

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