I wrote over 150 articles for a client I had worked with for more than a year and the guy just disappeared. The total cost of the project was over $600. After sometime I saw the articles online. The client had published them on his website! I sent him like a 1000 emails and he didn't reply. What can I do to get my money? I work with a few other writers and so I had to pay them from my own pocket. It pains me to this day. Any help will be highly appreciated.
Update: Talked with one of those support guys at Hostgator and he says
"I cannot enforce an agreement between our client and a third party."
I don't know how this will go...
No offense meant patmos04, but I have to say this thread did my heart good. When you start selling cheap services and under-cutting your colleagues, you do end up with bottom feeders like your "client". You'll find that credible clients expect to pay a price in line with the value they receive.
Even if they have got their own server, that has got to be hosted somewhere. Unless the client has their own datacenter, but that's highly unlikely.
In the case they have their own server stored in a datacenter somewhere you could try to contact that datacenter.
Oh and what if the guy has his own servers?
If they guy balks at a couple bucks per, what is the probability he's shelled out $1,500+ for the hardware, not to mention technical savvy? Possible. Not probable.
At that point however, you may have some luck (emphasis on may) with a notice to the domain registrar, as well as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Should they comply, that will get the client's attention.
While Hostgator cannot enforce an agreement, they can and will enforce copyright violations. As was stated above, "send a DCMA takedown notice to the web host."
Check with Hostgator on their website and see what they need. Once you do what they specify, they will contact their client with that information and shortly later, if their client does not have proof contrary to your proof, will take the site down.
Found out the site is hosted with Hostgator. Hope they will be helpful.
I had not thought about talking with the guy's hosting company...sounds good.
Will pursue it.
Oh and what if the guy has his own servers?
I had worked with the guy for close to two years. There was 'trust'(my mistake)...I have learnt not to trust people that fast.
About evidence, I have it. I even sent the guy an email threatening legal action. I am still pondering my next action. I also sent him reminders on PayPal to pay the invoice.
And your contract was ...where? I missed the whole thing where you have a contract signed in the client's own blood. (That is a pic of BillG you're using for an Avatar ...right?)
Although about a writing job, it's probably a post for the business section.
First, in lieu of money, a contract establishes you actually have some working relationship and you're not just making a baseless claim.
Next, half upfront deposit. And stop dealing with bottom feeders. You know, if they balk at paying five bucks per -- you're setting yourself up for getting stiffed when the bill is ten dollars -- let alone six hundred.
Finally, send a DCMA takedown notice to the web host. Don't expect much without evidence. But mostly, don't tape a "kick me" sign to your back.
Nothing says pay now like having the hosting company taking a site down. Subtle, yet strangely effective.
...I have learnt not to trust people that fast.
I find "trusting" people is the best way to get them to hang themselves.
One company wanted a packaging design based on future business. So, I say "fine," show me how well you're doing based on past business -- and anybody you've paid this way before -- and we'll call that a deal. ...No answer.
Another wants copy; pay based on performance. I said "fine." You show me your past performance paying people, I'll get started. ...No answer.
(I would suggest taking that avatar of BillG far, far, more seriously)
Trust is rather disarming. You'll go far with a little, judicious, trust. Plus clients lulled to overconfidence due to dealing with the usual web fare.
It never ceases to amaze me what people will do, working without a contract is like skydiving without a parachute.
Regarding the value of your services, I do agree with Shyflower that firing out so many articles for such a low price seems rather suspicious. I do a fair bit of writing these days and I always work on an article by article basis (in regard to payment), and certainly not at the cost model you've given to your services (which is almost at third world rates in my view). My suspicion would be that your low costs / value plus that client being on a cheap host and suddenly "disappearing" is that the flaw in your business model is more than just going on trust, it's that you are indeed attracting the bottom feeders.
Shyflower and AlexDawson
I offer services to different clients. I cater for all needs. If someone pays more they get quality. If they pay less they get fairly good articles but not like someone who is willing to pay more. It is an issue of supply and demand. Where I am $1 can buy you lunch.
About whether I write well or not it is you to decide. But I have written for DS, Break Studios and many other 'content mills' that pay editors to find mistakes.
Let's not turn this into a place for attacking each other.
Let me to say something.
Your sig says you are writing content for two years already. Obviously, you know your market and the quality of your work. Two years isn't a little time to get experience in relation to your clients.
In your present case the best is if you take the advices of DCrux concerning DMCA -- if you can to prove that you wrote those articles and you are holding the copyrights.
What concers the future, be careful. Do not be such a naive. Not everyone deserves our trust.
Check out more whom will you accept as a client. In such a volumen, make a contract with every customer. Ask half-payment in advance always. If they are reluctant in giving you a deposit, they will not pay in the end either, according to my experience.
So they are not your 'best' clients.
All the best,
About whether I write well or not it is you to decide.
Above a fairly rudimentary level, that's not the point. It's marketing, and understanding you have to take responsibility for designing your own problems.
Hey, the favorite thing is for India to complain about Chinese cut rate labor. Now, in China, the new favorite thing is to complain about Indonesia's cut rate labor.
Ah, good times.
I never challenged the quality of your work. What I said is that clients who are looking for quality aren't looking to pay $5.00 per 300 articles. Clients who are looking for cheap labor at any quality and in any venue are bottom feeders who cannot be trusted.
You can write like Shakespeare, but when you undercut the market, you undercut yourself as well. Maybe $5.00 can buy you a week's worth of groceries, but then think what you could do with $50.00 for the same amount of effort as well as working for someone who recognizes your skill and the value of your service.
I feel your pain, patmos 04. I'm sure the replies were made out of frustration. I also heard similar things about how you can bring this matter thru their hosts... Hey, cheer up, perhaps this is the chance to grow and move on. I will serious consider your service in the future. Don't mind some of the comments from the know-it-alls.
First off, shyflower is right. If you can't understand that, you have more of a problem than getting your money back.
If you have any e-mails between you two where an agreement was made, show them to his host, and then cite the issue of copyrights.
Though, in this case, I highly doubt they will do anything about it.
It's not their place, it's the courts.'
Sorry, but we are talking about some articles "stolen." ... Cheap ones, at that.
I mean, come on here.
Now, if it was much more than that, and or if he copied your site, that's another matter.
Learn from this, and get your money upfront. Or, at the very least, half upfront.
Edited to add: A thought has come to me...maybe send him an e-mail (if you haven't done this already), telling him that if he doesn't pay, you will contact his host and Google with the e-mails.
This, by itself, may work.