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Some Clients you're better off without!

IFA websites and intellectual Property

We're lucky, on the whole our clients are simply terrific and they are always so appreciative of our efforts and they certainly make our job a joy.

But you know the ones I mean:

  • Late payers, they are always going to pay, you send reminder after reminder
  • Every piece of work is urgent, they always want it done immediately
  • The ones that are rude and full of self importance, never say please and thank you
  • And then you get the ones who take your work! they could have asked ....

Over the last five years we've only had 2 occasions where a client hasn't paid and has needed a "push" (yes, we've sadly had to discuss the small claims court).

We've had 3 occurrences now (the third was last week) where a client has had another developer copy their website (in its entirety, code, images, graphic and design).

Having your work copied and time you've invested, what can you do?

It's quite a shock (even now) when you're presented with your clients' new site that been created by another company and it's identical to the one you worked really hard to develop for them!

The first time this happened to us we approached the financial adviser company and explained what they'd done was theft. It was rather funny, in a ironic sort of way. They apologised and said they didn't realise. We said "Maybe you did, when you removed the copyright statements, only you missed a few!" If we weren't so annoyed, we would have laughed.

The second time, we had to tell the client they were even referring back to images of ours! They changed their design a bit. We did notice that their site now isn't doing too well, their new developer wasn't terribly knowledgeable (or just didn't take the time to care) and had a no-follow in the code, so Google is no longer indexing their site.

Then the third time was last week, "Oh we intend to get around to doing our own design, we're just borrowing yours, no wait it's ours isn't it? Please detail everything we have to remove ......."

It's not very often our work is taken, but as a small business, we're lucky. If we need it we have the financial Ombudsman to support us and then of course there's always the small claims court. Sometimes it doesn't feel worth the effort. But there's a principle involved and we don't want to be seen as a pushover.

Intellectual property protection, why do we need it?

The website design, images, graphic and code for you adviser website is our intellectual property. We invest a lot of time and skills in building your website. We don't charge much, but we do the best we can and always present you with a stunning site that reflects your firm and engages your clients.

Your site is often a customised version of one of our template designs, it's never just off the shelf. That's the advantage of us being technically skilled and taking the time and effort to make sure our clients needs are met. There's no tie in period either (we find our clients tend to stay).

But if you want to leave, you may have outgrown us, larger companies sometimes do. And you want to spend a few thousand on a completely bespoke site, that's fine we won't mind and even we'll help you to transfer your content.

Our website design, ideas and content though, I'm afraid that has to stay with us, we've put so much work into that, I'm sure you can understand. And we got you off the ground or rescued you from a provider that simply couldn't meet your needs. It's not like we charged a lot, we charge £350 for our adviser websites and that includes your complete website build, no matter how much content you want or extra design changes.

Intellectual property rights, what does it mean?

It's protecting the time you've invested in developing and designing a website, researching and writing content, purchasing images, the way you've presented your ideas. Your work.

Only the expression of ideas can be protected. Different types of ideas can be protected in different ways, depending on how they are expressed. This intellectual output and the protection of it is known as intellectual property.

To run a successful business (and stay sane), you can't spend your time nursing bad clients (or your bad egg). They are best avoided, that way you can have more room to focus on clients who are a pleasure to work with and appreciate your efforts. And we have some really lovely clients! Thank you.

I wonder if other companies have the same problem, I suspect they do.

We provide websites for Financial Advisers, together with marketing material