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I got fired

how much am I responsible to turn over?

     

webwoman

11:01 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I had a very good client who discontinued my webmaster/seo services several months ago. He was very pleased with my work, but had a personal upset with my partner that had absolutely nothing to do with his website. He said as much, letting me know that he really appreciated all my work (I got him to #1 for many of his major keywords) but that this issue with my partner had to override the business relationship.

I was cool about it, let him out of his contract and turned over a large packet of data containing all his passwords, overture account data, etc. - Everything the new webmaster should need to take over the site.

Months went by - he continued to maintain his #1 position. Florida happened, and he suddenly has a new webmaster. The new guy called me and said he wanted to 'pick my brain' about how I got the client to #1 from nowhere. He said he got the packet of data - but he wanted to know *how* I did it. I told him that I used straight white hat seo tactics. He said I should tell him my methods because the client paid for the research that I did, so actually he owns it.

I told him that the client paid for my expertise and now he's paying for your expertise - so use whatever you use to seo. (The guy claims he's been an seo for years)

Today I got another email asking for a list of all the links to this client's site - what kind of an seo can't figure out how to find what's linking to what?

I don't want to appear nasty or bitter (I'm not) but it's pretty obvious that the new guy has no idea what to do. (Who does after Florida?)

My question to you all is: after terminating a contract, how much do you feel obliged to turn over?

-ww

nahdoic

11:10 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



much do you feel obliged to turn over

Nothing whatsoever!

That guy has some cheek. You were extremely courteous in the handover, a lot more polite and understanding than most.

If this guy would like to avail of your services he can pay you for it.

[edited by: nahdoic at 11:10 pm (utc) on Dec. 12, 2003]

martinibuster

11:10 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



I told him that the client paid for my expertise and now he's paying for your expertise - so use whatever you use to seo.

That's the correct answer.

bunltd

11:25 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



My question to you all is: after terminating a contract, how much do you feel obliged to turn over?

You already did it by providing them a file with the pertinent information. You can't turn over the "stuff in your head" - your expertise is part of your service.

I told him that the client paid for my expertise and now he's paying for your expertise - so use whatever you use to seo. (The guy claims he's been an seo for years)

Can't get any clearer than that. He should be able to do his own homework ;), if not, well that's another story.

LisaB

jcoronella

11:31 pm on Dec 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I agree with the others, you are done with your 'obligations'.

On the other hand, you need to ask yourself how much work this guy can and will send you in the future. A happy customer is an asset, but an unhappy customer can cost you 100 happy customers.

My guess, the answer will still be a courteous 'go fish'.

webwoman

12:49 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Thanks everyone - I always know I can turn here for comfort and support :)

Jcoronella - the answer to future clients from this client is that there won't be any - period. He made that very clear when we ended off. He let me go because my partner is an active critic of a 'religious' group he is involved in that takes criticism very very seriously. As I said, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the client's website, or even his industry, or even with me for that matter, since I am not my partner and the client never met or had anything to do with my partner.!?! :(

PatrickDeese

12:58 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



If you want to do your former client a favor, you may want to leap frog his new "SEO" and go directly to the client and outline your opinion (which you explained in this thread) as to why the client may want to reconsider their hiring choice.

IMHO, if the new SEO's asking "promo 101" noob questions - it is a fairly good indicator that he does not have the skill set necessary to help.

lorax

2:01 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



Well webwoman, it's a pretty cut and dry situation IMHO. When the client let you go, he let go of his access to your knowledge and experience.

But it's not even the client asking for the information - it's the new SEO guy. As you noted and Martinibuster jumped on - he's responsible for bringing their website back to where you left it. He'd better earn his keep with his knowledge and expertise - especially since he got the job based on it.

percentages

9:08 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



Hi webwoman...long time no see :(

IMHO you have gone above and beyond the call of duty already for this ex-client.

If the new SEO can't cut it.....tough luck for them and the ex-client!

>He let me go because my partner is an active critic of a 'religious' group he is involved in that takes criticism very very seriously.

The ex-client might learn something now - "never confuse religion and business" :)

If it was me I would go out looking for the ex-client's competitors and see if I couldn't get a few of them to those previously favored positions....but then I am just plain evil ;)

p.s. webwoman...think "directory"....Golden opportunity being wasted here (sound familiar) ;)

mansterfred

9:45 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



....He let me go because my partner is an active critic of a 'religious' group he is involved in that takes criticism very very seriously.

I think you did OK as to how you handled the client. I am confused as to how your client got upset with your partner if he does not know him or has not met him.

Seems to me in this PC world your partner needs to zip it or you need to fire him..

If it were me and a company I dealt with made disparaging comments about my faith, or extreme views that insulted me, I would boot em in a heartbeat.

ams_david

10:31 am on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



You're under no obligation to do anything. This new guy has no contract or agreement with you.

Maybe that's how to get him to shut up --- the only thing you should be talking to him about is the timetable for when he's going to sign a agreement with you, so you can BILL HIM FOR HIS NEWBIE QUESTIONS :)

lorax

1:27 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lorax is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month



>> Golden opportunity being wasted here

... or instead of wasted - squandered because it hasn't passed yet. I was thinking the same thing. Perhaps sell the new SEO guy your traffic?

Lilliabeth

2:04 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Aren't you even a little bit tempted to recommend to this "SEO" link farms, hidden doorway pages, hidden text, etc.? Maybe you could tell him how to write a robots.txt?

OK, maybe I am being a bit extreme.

PCInk

2:44 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



The client actually paid for your services, not your knowledge or your research. They paid for a website and/or search engine results and you gave them their results.

The new SEO is asking for company confidential information which should not be released to him under any circumstances. Of course, you can give the new SEO guy a quote to continue the work on the site as a sub-contractor, but don't forget to quote higher than if the client were to come directly back to you.

webwoman

4:56 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



I think you did OK as to how you handled the client. I am confused as to how your client got upset with your partner if he does not know him or has not met him.

the way my client found out about my partner is that the 'religious' group has a secret spy-like organization whose purpose is to ferret out its critics, discover anything bad they can about them, and then discredit the critic to business associates, family members, anyone who might disconnect from the critic as a result.

Seems to me in this PC world your partner needs to zip it or you need to fire him.

He's only guilty of expressing his opinions which everyone has a right to do.

If it were me and a company I dealt with made disparaging comments about my faith, or extreme views that insulted me, I would boot em in a heartbeat

Yes, I do understand this even tho I don't necessarily agree with it as a way to do business. This is why I took a friendly stance at the end.

Percentages! Hi, and yes, long time no see. I did approach some of his competitors and got some interest from one of them. But, I haven't pursued it all that vigorously because lately I"m coming to the decision to go on my own with affiliate sites, and just keep some of the ecommerce sites I do where I am a partner in the profits. Clients can be troublesome, and with Google upside down, seo-ing has taken on a new face. Might as well do it for myself rather than put up with clients :)

Thanks everyone for the interesting comments.

P.S. Lilliabeth - I resist that urge, tho I do have it - karma, ya know?

Shane

5:51 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member




WW,

The one thing you may want to consider, which has only been touch on very briefly here, is informing the client directly of the contact from the new SEO and why you have taken the stance you have.

I would tell him directly that you have met your obligations, the new SEO is asking basic questions and that in the future you are available for work should he change his mind (and that you respect his freedom to choose who he hires).

This I think will do damage control when the new SEO bad mouths you and hopefuly leave the client thinking well of you (for respecting his postition and for your knowledge). It may stop the client from saying or thinking too many negative thoughts about you.

IMHO,
Shane

webwoman

6:36 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



Shane, this is good advice. But I hesitate to take it because I do not want the client to perceive that *I* am bad mouthing the new seo. This client has no clue when it comes to his web stuff and tends to trust completely anyone that says they know how to do it.

I think the number one rankings that he enjoyed while I was managing the site are enough to let him know that I was good at what he paid me to do. And he is aware of the new seo coming to me for advice - he told him that I was terrific, and would be very helpful, and that I got great results but that he let me go for personal reasons.

I think my road forward at this point is to politely decline to give away my opinions of what to do with the site now that it has lost its rankings, and to wish them both good luck :)

killroy

7:06 pm on Dec 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



I must concur with Shane. Think about it, after wht the new SEO said, do you believe he is up to teh same high standards as you? He WILL (mark my words) badmouth YOU in a heartbeat and blame his incapacity on you.

I think you should be polite and tell your ex-client that the new SEO contacted you for help, and that you are prepared to work under normal contractual terms as advisor, but that you cannot continue to provide your services for free.

SN

sanity

2:00 am on Dec 16, 2003 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member



LOL - the cheek of some people.

I think my road forward at this point is to politely decline to give away my opinions of what to do with the site now that it has lost its rankings, and to wish them both good luck :)

That sounds like the best way forward. It sounds like you've handled it well.
 

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