Pro-tip: Own Your Domain and Hosting

Andrew Tuzson – Founder / CEO

The digital marketing industry is much like other industries with respect to the fact that there are droves of bad practices, smoke and mirrors, and voodoo tomfoolery. Essentially, a few bad apples have spoiled the proverbial barrel. In the digital marketing world, we consistently one primary tactic used by companies or individuals to take advantage of their clients. Let’s put some context behind this.

Reoccurring revenue is the lifeblood of any business. Without a solid base of reoccurring revenue, you will avidly being seeking your next source of revenue; a business model that is responsible for the death of countless businesses every year. This is the scary reality of business in the modern world and far too many entrepreneurs are chasing deals like an addict chases rocks.

In the world of web design, web development, digital marketing, and advertising there is no exception. Agencies need reoccurring revenue to make sure that their growth curves are healthy and sustainable. One of the most commonly sold reoccurring models in the web world is hosting and domain leasing and let’s be real for a second. This is an absolute bullshit money grab.

Not only is there a margin being charged on hosting, which honestly, I would prefer not to play in that space, as the markup is pennies; but also, it’s not worth the amount of time and support required by the agency. I’m not knocking you if that’s what you’ve chosen to do or if that’s your model, but my qualms stem from the people who use that methodology to hold customers hostage. Aside from that garbage approach to relationship development, my agency is typically left to clean up the mess and here’s why.

Play out this scenario

You have a local business owner who sets up shop, decides they need a website and digital marketing to reach their targeted audience. They decide to to hire a small and affordable local agency to execute on these efforts. That agency explains to the business “hey, we’ll build out the site for you and we’ll charge you monthly for your hosting and domain and we’re good to go.” The business owner thinks everything is peachy keen and they are stoked to get things rolling.

Let’s fast forward six months when that business decides to part ways with that marketing company because the synergy just isn’t there. The owner of that business starts his quest to seek out and hire the right agency or professional to execute their digital marketing efforts. They meet with another agency, only to discover they don’t own their domain and guess what? They also do not own their hosting; so now, not only are they preparing to onboard a new marketing agency, but they’re also going to have to figure out what domain or hosting to use.

And the original marketing company is probably telling that business owner one of two things: “this is my domain, my hosting platform so pound rock salt” or “I well sell it to you.”

The original marketing company is going to sell a $10 domain for a ridiculous premium and try to make a whip off of that small business. I’ve seen both of those scenarios happen time and time again and it’s a really shitty way of punishing clients for trying to find the right fit for their business model.

Look, I’m the first to admit I don’t bat a thousand. I’m not the best fit for every client. I have ended business relationships and I’ve had clients fire me. I have a very specific culture and a very specific approach to business and it kicks ass for a lot of companies but it is not conducive for some.

I’m not going to punish a client for wanting to leave me. I am not going to punish a company for wanting to find someone more conducive to their business model. That’s shitty business and it’s not ethical. This practice is a garbage money grab and it unfairly holds clients hostage.

So, what’s the solution?

Honestly, people are people. And I know that sounds really negative but this is just something that will continue to happen if we don’t educate those in and out of the industry. What I can do is train my people to uphold better practices in this industry in and outside of the walls of Evol.

So, here’s the skinny. Protect yourself. Protect your company. Protect your interests. You should ALWAYS own your domain and hosting. End of story. *drops mic