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What would you do?

I stole your project. and I need help logging in.

     
9:33 pm on Jul 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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This is really foo. A rant of sorts. Belongs here.

You have one of those difficult customers that wants to do everything themselves, but doesn't want to learn to FTP, or any new programs, because "I'm not a computer nerd like you." So you build them a comprehensive CMS that does everything they want, it all works great. So great that you never hear from them again. IMO this is good, because what you built works.

A year later, along comes bright eyed bushy tailed developer, promising this and that, how much better they will do for them, and steals the client. No worries, it happens, the client is a pain that brings no income anyway.

Said newbie emails you: "I've been contracted to re-design this site, but I can't get logged in, can you give me a call?"

So let me get this straight: you stole my client, are clueless on how to gain access to the server due to your inexperience, and you want ME to help you do it, have I got you right? (Site is hosted on a third party server; login information is now their call, not mine.)

What would you do?

9:50 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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You mean after I finished laughing?

Seriously though, I'd likely give them the absolute minimum information they needed to get logged in, simply because I consider myself a fairly nice person.

After that though, they are on their own.

9:51 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Give him the password, let him fail, and charge the client double when they come back. Why, what were you planning on doing?
9:55 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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If I understand you correctly they don't have information for logging into the control panel for the server?

Was it you that set the account up and they were never given the login information?

I guess that's what it comes down too. Even if I had already sent them that information I'd send it to them again.

10:10 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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"What were you planning on doing?"

Well. A number of ideas come to mind. :-)

As I said, this client gives me zero income. What do I lose by firing them? Nothing.

Have they referred any business at all to me? No.

Will this newbie send me any business? HA!

Do I have any ethical responsibilities here? The project was stolen (or, in another view, given to someone else without regard to me as a developer,) so what do I "owe" them?

If I don't help, I will probably get "Well I sure won't be giving you any business in the future!"

Like you have in the past? <sees nothing>

So "what was I planning?" A diplomatic way of telling them both to p*** off. :-)

"Sorry, the log in to your domain is the responsibility of the web host, I only maintain that information in an encrypted format and cannot provide it for you. Good luck!"

Which, really, is the TRUTH. I don't maintain clear text passwords anywhere, on paper or in digital format. (Won't reveal how I do it, but I don't.) If I need to recover a password, I'd have to do exactly what she will have to do, contact the host and have them reset it. So I don't have it to give them if I wanted to.

thecoalman, I think she wants FTP login info.

[edited by: rocknbil at 10:11 pm (utc) on July 23, 2008]

10:10 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Yeah, send them the information but don't walk them through it. Or, offer the developer to help him, charging your normal rates, of course. That might actually be fun, he has to deal with the whiny client and you still get paid.
10:53 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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What would you do?

I'd e-mail him back and tell him to get the login from the client because I am certainly not going to give out login information to a 3rd party I don't know!
11:43 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd e-mail him back and tell him to get the login from the client because I am certainly not going to give out login information to a 3rd party I don't know!

Absolutely, it's totally risky to give it to anyone else direct. And why let the client hide behind the newbie's skirts if he wants to make a change?
11:47 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd e-mail him back and tell him to get the login from the client because I am certainly not going to give out login information to a 3rd party I don't know!

Agree 100%. It's not a matter of whether you're being helpful or not. If this developer is supposed to be authorized to log in, the client will give them the login info.

This is exactly the type of "human engineering" approach that an unauthorized person could use to try to hack into the site. Letting the developer do an end run around the client by coming to you could be hazardous. I believe you absolutely should not give them the info, and probably should inform the client that you've been approached in this manner.

11:50 pm on July 23, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd refer them back to the hosting company. It's not that hard for them to reset passwords, as long as the newbie is able to provide the information requested to verify ownership, such as the last 4 of the card used to pay for hosting, or the email address, or billing address.
If you put all that information under your name, than I would have to say that you should help wherever possible to get them back in, but if it's all in the owners name, simply redirect the newb to the hosting company..
2:46 pm on July 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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I'd...

1. Write out the login information on a piece of paper
2. Fax it to yourself
3. Use a digital camera to take a picture of the fax (sitting on a wooden table, of course)
4. Save it as a .jpg with high compression and low resolution
5. Print it out
6. Repeat steps 2-5 until satisfied
7. Send the final printed document to him by snail mail

You've cooperated and sent the login information, but you've still had quite a bit of fun at the expense of the new developer.

:)

[edited by: WesleyC at 2:48 pm (utc) on July 24, 2008]

3:51 pm on July 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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Send the company any information you have that will help.

If the new designer does a good job, you will have lost a bad customer.

If the new designer fails you can put on your “superman” outfit and save the day. Obviously, it will take considerable effort and higher fees to fix the problems created by the new guy.

If the company has a bad experience with the new guy you will have this customer for as long as you want them.

5:06 pm on July 24, 2008 (gmt 0)

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sell him the login details at a price higher than the income the client was generating for you ?

or just sell him the login details.

Be straight with him , whats the worst that can happen