I’ve been interacting with two local clients – within India – and I am hearing more and more horror stories about how their web designer owns their website domain. It’s a complete lose-lose situation for the client!

Most so-called web-designers in India suck. Not only do they have no clue about aesthetics and layout, they also have no idea about usability / accessibility / UI – they don’t even know that such ‘things’ exist. It seems that more and more so-called web-designers, locally, are concentrating on ensuring that they take control of their clients’ web domains so that the client has no choice but to stay with the same designer, or lose his domain name in the process.

This is not a personal spiel against anyone and neither am I claiming to be an expert web-designer myself. But such practices of blatant ripping off of a client will only lead to a bad name for the web-design community and the design industry in general. It’s just plain WRONG!

It is not a web-designer’s job to register a domain name for a client – most would do it as an additional service. Even if he / she does that as an additional service to the client, the domain name needs to be registered in the client’s name.

If, for some reason, the client’s name cannot be used for registration – because most domain registrars will ask for the client’s credit card – and unless the web-designer sits the client through the whole registration process [ which is a pain most designers can do without ], most clients would not know what options to choose and which packages to pick. In such a case, most web-designers/developers would register it in their name and ask the client to pay up using the receipt that they receive from the registrar.

As a service provider, the web-designer/developer should respect the client’s wishes when they want to move onto a different designer. Keeping ownership of a domain name only out of spite for your competition is only going to serve the purpose of bringing down your reputation as a professional designer.

I have been in such a situation where the client did not know how to register a domain name or how to even pay for the hosting. I paid for it using a friend’s credit card and un-checked the auto-charge feature. I also used the client’s details for the registration – their name, their address, their e-mail. Only the password was set by me personally – once the registration was done, I sent an e-mail to the client will all the details that would help them repeat the process next year when the domain expired. It is as simple as that.