Web development – taking credit?

I need feedback from my readers.

I gave up most of my “Mom at Home Design” clients when I took the fulltime job with C3 in August. Of course, as they should, these clients found other designers to take my place. I don’t have a problem with that, I’m thrilled. A few days ago, I happened to land on one of my former client’s site that I built. The site is exactly the way I left it. I designed the site in Fireworks. I wrote the HTML/CSS from scratch. I kept it up-to-date as the client requested changes until August of this year. As far as I can tell, the only thing the new designer did was add a few news items…oh, and she removed the link to “Mom at Home Design” from the bottom of each page and replaced it with her design company name and link. Instead of “Website by Mom at Home Design, Stamford, CT” it says “Website by <new designer company name>”.

I followed the link and the designer doesn’t list this site in her portfolio. But am I wrong to be a bit bothered by this? It’s the client’s site and they are free to do with it what they wish. Letting our babies go to be hacked up is something that web developers just have to deal with. However, truth is I would have been happier had this designer completely redesigned the site rather than slapping her name on my work. I’m tempted to write to the designer and ask her nicely to change the wording to “Website designed by Mom at Home Design, currently maintained by <designer company>.” I don’t even care if there’s a link back to my site since I’m not looking to drum up business. I may not be freelancing anymore, but I worked hard on that site design and I think I am entitled to retain my credit on it until this designer takes it down and puts up something that she can legitimately call her own work.

Opinions? Tell me I’m crazy or out of line. I can take it. Right now I’m not sure what the “right” answer is. I’m not even sure if I should link to the site.

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6 thoughts on “Web development – taking credit?

  1. I’d write to her, and I’d CC the client, too.

    Technically, your client no doubt owns the copyright and whatnot to the site, so they’re free to do with it what they want. But just because they’re free to do so doesn’t mean they want the new designer being so dis-courteous.

  2. Judi Sohn says:

    You guys are right, of course. I dropped her a friendly note and she was extremely apologetic and nice right back. 🙂 Thanks.

  3. Jen says:

    I’ve run into this problem a few times in the past with former clients. I have to admit I was every bit as upset as you were–It IS your work. However, a good compromise is to change “Site designed by…” to “Site maintained by…”. It removes ownership of the design completely and still allows the new company a plug on the site. Just a suggestion in case this happens again. 🙂

  4. JP says:

    I’d be annoyed too, but unless you had a contract/agreement giving you claim to a “credit” link than once you part ways you are no longer entitled to the link to your site. Now that said, if the new designer is trying to take credit for the design which is mostly yours – that’s wrong. But, they have “website by” which could also imply that they manage the site. If I were you I’d prefer that the new designers link specify that a bit more so they don’t appear to be taking credit for your design – but so long as you were paid and have parted ways you have no claim to a link yourself. Just my two cents…

  5. Judi Sohn says:

    JP, I knew I had no legal claim on the link and I wasn’t looking for one. It just bothered me that it looked like the other designer was crediting herself for the website which wasn’t the case. It really was an oversight and now there’s no credit at all on the site which is just fine by me.

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