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What to charge in this situation?



2:35 am on Jul 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

10+ Year Member

I recently redesigned a web site for a company that sells outdoor products. The site is now in the top 1 - 5 on many search engine results for many of it's top keywords. I built the site on spec to test the waters for sales of their products. Due to the overwhelming response of the visitors since my involvement, we are going to start a shopping cart/nationwide shipping campaign.

I am going to negotiate a deal for a percentage of the sales for my redesign, marketing, set up, and managing the whole thing. I need to know if anyone else has a deal like this and what if any is the going rate (%). I am familiar with the way the referral programs work, but I am interested to know if there is an industry or webmaster standard for a deal like this. It is clear to me that this company would not have a chance at any of this without my redesign and marketing. Because I am not bound by contract and hold the rights to the sites content, if the deal sours I can pull the plug at any time and leave them with what they had before my involvement (not much). Any comments are greatly appreciated.


3:40 am on Jul 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member


I haven't seen anything related to a contract that would cover your "commission" but you aren't alone in trying to work out something to provide a return on your sweat equity. I have a similar situation in the works with a regional tourism group. Currently, all significant traffic comes through my site. They have tried to go independent by developing a site on their own but it failed miserably. Now they are coming back with hopes of some sort of joint development.

I've decided that I'm not going to get involved unless I own the domain name outright and will then license the use of that domain to them. Copyright of content alone, in my opinion, just isn't enough protection. Once the site is established in the engines and it starts bringing in revenues it would be an easy matter to rewrite the content just enough to skirt copyright issues WHILE keeping (at least in their mind) the SE placement at traffic they covet --and cutting out the payment to the original developer. Intellectual property copyright for the web is too obscure to provide a good defense, but give me "admin" and I make the rules.

BTW, welcome to the forums.


4:22 pm on Jul 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

If you can work out a percentage deal with a company that may actually make money that would be great. I would say whatever you can negotiate is acceptable, I cannot think of any standard, and the affiliate model does not really apply in this case.

One thing to be careful with, is to be sure that you do not also incurr liability to the same percentage you have negotiated for compensation. After all you have little to do with how they run their company, you would not want to pay for their mistakes.

While this has not happened to me, a friend worked out a deal similar to this, and because of how it was structured he became liable for 20% of debts, obligation, etc. of the company that went broke.

You likely have already considered all this but I just couldn't keep my fingers from putting this here :)


4:43 pm on Jul 15, 2000 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member rcjordan is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Air, sounds like your friend tripped into a "partnership in fact" (not exactly sure of the legal term, but I think that's it). Yes, it's easy to create this kind of liability in joint web arrangements --that's why I'm going the licensing route. Essentially, I'm going to lease virtual real estate to them.

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