Shadow Sites

I’m no businessman.

I’m a web designer. I also fear attorneys like they’re mad, drill-wielding dentists.  Add those three items together and you end up with a web design contract that is full of holes since it was drafted by a non-businessman, non-attorney using web designer.

As time has gone by (several years now) I’ve occasionally updated language on my contract but for the most part its a joke.  Jump to today, where I’m currently negotiating a deal with an unnamed record label to develop their new site.

This record label took my contract to their attorneys who added about a dozen pages worth of language that completely protects them.

Reading through the agreement I stumbled across a great clause regarding what they dubbed “shadow sites”.  The clause states that the demo site should be password protected so no one but the developer and the client can see it.  Believe it or not I’ve never done this before!

I’ve always set up dummy urls to get the demo site, but the site were available online.  This haphazard setup hadn’t hurt me once over the years until just recently.  I have a client I’ve been working on a new site for months now.

We signed a contract, made the visual design, coded everything up - the site is great.

It offers the nicest rental search setup that exists in their industry.  At any rate, were in the review stage and the client tells me, “I think I need you to convince me that I like this.

I think the old site is perfect.”  You’ve got to be f&%$ing kidding me!  Worst, I have no real recourse against the client.

Meanwhile the demo site is live. They could be using it.

I’m still owed a balance.  Bottom line, ALWAYS password protect demo sites.

Its much easier to change the password than to take the site down and ALWAYS add language to your contracts to protect you from ridiculous client responses like that.  You may want to have a mad dentist prepare that language to be safe.


About Joseph R. B. Taylor

Joseph R. B. Taylor is a humble designer/developer who makes stuff for screens of all shapes and sizes. He is currently the lead UI/UX Architect at MScience, LLC, where he works to create simple experiences on top of large rich datasets for their customers and clients.