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How to Have Shared Ownership of a Website?

website, shared ownership, domain, business



10:10 pm on Jul 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

An acquaintance of a friend of mine started a website. He needed an Admin with programming experience and I have that. We merged both of our websites and we are under the agreement that we both own the website, only it is NOT in writing.

Three years later, the website is really taking off and earning over $1k in ad revenue per month and we may begin selling products. My partner owns the domain and server, and he is now acting without consulting me and other seemingly shady things. And I have nothing in writing if he chooses to get greedy after all of my hard work and I would like some insurance.

I would like to get something in writing that states that we are both legally entitled to 50% of the website and its earnings, as we have already agreed upon. Where do I begin and what can I expect?

Thanks a lot, this has been nagging at me for some time now.


10:16 pm on Jul 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

My advice is be open to your friend about this issue and get some legal advice. The best is if you both agree to go to a trusted legal advisor. Explain the issue and let him write something on paper for you both.

Thats my advice, dont write something yourself!


11:05 pm on Jul 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Administrator lifeinasia is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

...only it is NOT in writing.

Danger, Will Robinson!

First, repeat after me: "When doing anything that involves someone else in businesses, I will ALWAYS get everything in writing!"

Second, repeat it 200 times or until it is completely ingrained into your brain.

Next, tattoo it onto the back of your hand so you can remind yourself of it every day.

I agree that you have to contact your partner and try to work things out amicably. But, you should also plan for the worst and assume that there will be some resistance. Dig up every scrap of "evidence" you can find related to your agreement, whether it's an e-mail, a bar napkin, or any historical evidence of sharing the revenue 50% (e.g., cancelled checks or bank statements and matching statements showing the relevant revenue).

Assuming that your partner agrees to put something in writing, make sure it is very detailed with specifics. "both legally entitled to 50% of the website and its earnings" is very vague. Specify who makes the decisions about what and if expenses (hosting fees, domain registration fees, etc.) are deducted before or after the 50-50 split. And just as critical- include a "divorce clause" so that one or both of you can exit the partnership and under what conditions.


11:23 pm on Jul 12, 2013 (gmt 0)

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

You probably can't comfortably save this deal. One, if not both of you will probably feel "taken advantage of", even if you come to an apparently happy arrangement to continue together.

At this it sounds like your "partner" thinks he is ready to run the site on his own.

So let him.

Tell him you're glad you could help him get the site up and running and wish him well in the future.

Then move on to your own projects.

Half of $1,000.00 a month is not worth it.

Let him have it all, and let him do it all.

IF there is a "next time", with anyone get it in writing BEFORE you start!



2:09 pm on Jul 14, 2013 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member piatkow is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 5+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Partnership law varies by jurisdiction. People here are not lawyers.

As everybody else will say, get the agreement in writing. I would add that next time, if there is a next time, ensure that the hosting and the domain are in the name of the business not an individual.

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