What do you do when someone calls introducing themselves as the new owner of a website you have been hosting for years. And then requests CMS passwords so they can access and edit the website?
A website being sold is nothing new. In fact, we’re seeing it happen more and more over the years as websites become more vital to business. So vital, in some cases - because the website is the business.
Our little drama begins with a phone call to Reyna, one of our excellent project managers. The caller tells Reyna that they now own a website that we host and they would like access to it. The change of ownership is news to us.
Pause & Plan
Our mission is to extend the same service and support to the new website owner as we had for the previous owner. We want to welcome and retain them as a Back40 client - but we didn’t have all the facts yet. And granting access to an unapproved individual is a "no-no" (technical term for big mistake). Over the years we’ve received bogus requests for website access from client’s ex-employees... from client’s competitors and random "wack jobs" (technical term for potential client better suited for working with another web company).
To further complicate matters, our client, the one that originally contracted the website project with us, calls and instructed us to take down his website. Upon us asking, he confirms that he did in fact sell the business. Adding to the confusion, the new owners have just faxed us documents detailing the sale of the business and website. Enough. Time out. Regroup.
We kindly asked both parties to communicate with each other and work out this situation (without us in the middle). While the two parties work it out, we take the website down as our client requested.
Within an hour, we receive a call from our client requesting that we re-post the website. He gives us the “all clear” to engage the new owners as our new clients. Crisis avoided. Drama not totally avoided, but greatly minimized.
A couple of things to point out about this situation:
- We don’t own our client’s websites, so their website is not ours to give to anyone.
- If a website is part of a business purchase, get the details of the transfer to the hosting company and/or developer before the transfer prior to the sale.
Obviously, the number one concern is that we don’t give access to any website to an unapproved individual. Pause, plan and take action. Works every time (which is a technical term for “Your results may vary”).