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Thread: If you freelance, you must read this...

  1. #61

    Avoiding No-Pay clients

    I dunno if someone has already suggested this, but I didn't feel like reading a million posts to find out...it seems like this should have come out within the first few posts, and didn't.

    If you're designing flash for a client site, and FTPing everything up as you create it- the best approach is to create a 5 second or so "Copyright" message at the very beginning of the flash. Tell the client you'll remove it as soon as you receive final payment. Then once they pay you, just open up the source file, delete the first 60 frames, and publish and upload the file again. Simple.

    This way they have no choice but to either pay you or remove your work...no one in their right mind would leave something on their server that blatantly says "Copyright protected by someone else."

    Example:
    http://www.thatnextbigthing.com/COPYRIGHTleader.swf

  2. #62

    no contract?

    If you freelanced for him, It means you had him sign a contract......if u didnt, you should have.

  3. #63
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    I agree, forget any complex, time-consuming (time = money)..code..

    just slap a large UNDER CONSTRUCTION, or DEMO site, or any other equally undesirable piece of code on the front end until you feel comfortable with payment.

    Otherwise always take 50% up front, anyone who isn't serious isn't worth the grief..


  4. #64
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    It's been awhile since I last posted to this site... been doing alot of programming research and experimentation with Flash.

    I've read the venting and complaining of when people do not pay. Yes, this is a huge pain... and you have bills to pay, and possibly a family to support. However, some of you complain that you wasted alot of time on that project. Try looking at it from a different perspective. All that time and effort increased your skills in Flash (whether you are a flashmaster or not), and you can include your work into your portfolio.

    If I hadn't been working on a project, I'd still be programming and building away, placing my better projects into my portfolio.

    Yes, it's too bad you didn't get paid for it, and it's not right, either. More strenuous measures need to be taken. However, try and look at a better perspective... "I'm that much better now!!"

    Happy Flashing!
    --Neelixx

  5. #65

    another idea?

    What I usually do is post to my own URL for their approval. When they send a check along with their FTP info, then and only then do I post to their site.

  6. #66
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    Agree with DJ Sfinks

    I think after reading this topic people would get the idea that nearly all client are bad and try to rip you off.

    I think that all though there are several con artists and shadey people out there. Most are honest. Because word of mouth can do major things for a company. And its generally not a good idea to mess with "computer freaks" like us.

    But mind you, I think you should always find a way of protecting yourself and your work. Partially at least.


  7. #67
    hi shroom - any chance of the URL?

  8. #68
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    Nice remark MadClown!

    MadClown,

    I totally agree with your thoughts. There should be no reason for us to write bombs, check files, or other "mischief" little subroutines. We are not the bad people.. they are. How are we any better, if we go down to their level?
    I have strong morals and pride in my work. I like to consider my work ethics fair and christian (forgive the religious note). Just place the file(s) you are developing on a development server. Give them a link, so they may check for updates, but do not upload it to their server. There should be no reason why it should be on their server, until services rendered has been agreed upon.
    If they do not pay, then they don't have the file. It's that simple. If they were to link to your file on your server, then you may confront them with copyright infringement and/or suit by law justice. More often than not, the company will not want to go through the courts time and money. Plus, it looks bad for their company. Treat your work, just and fair. And have pride!

    Nice comment, Ninja! I totally agree. With the way this thread goes... it's very easy to think that everyone out there is bad, and that all developers are just waiting for an excuse to "get" the clients. Keep in mind... not everyone is "bad", and even so... they more often than not, will work a payment schedule, if they can't pay it all at once. They normally don't think like, "Well, we'll get them to do the work, take it, and not pay <muah-ha-ha>".
    That's just silly. But, still, they're are some bad names out there. Just protect yourself!
    Code:
    rule = "protect yourself";
    rule2 = gotoAndPlay("rule");
    Take care!
    --Neelixx

  9. #69
    Monkey Wrangler monsterfx's Avatar
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    theydontpay.org

    I'm not a lawyer and I don't play one on TV, so take this for what it's worth.....

    I would be very concerned for the potential to be sued for libel. If someone posts to your site that a client didn't pay and they decide to challenge that in court, it is up to the people making the claim to prove it's validity. If you can't do that, you are guilty of libel. Now, if someone really didn't pay, they probably aren't going to take this recourse, but if someone posts to your site maliciously, you may be in trouble. You might be able to reduce/eliminate your exposure with disclaimers/policies, but talking to a lawyer (maybe hit up a 3rd year law student at a local college) might be a good idea before really getting this ball rolling.

    Remember, I'm pulling for you. We're all in this together.

    *Edit*
    Another resource you could use to protect against bad clients might be the BBB. I don't know if they deal with problems like this, but if a client has a bad rep as a business, then you would probably want to be very careful in your dealings with them. If they'll screw their customers, imagine what they'll do to you.

    Kind of our own Client Credit Check.
    */Edit*
    [Edited by monsterfx on 03-20-2001 at 07:45 PM]

  10. #70

    Re: Nice remark MadClown!

    Neelix
    good point but what do you do about people who just save all the files and assets from your webserver? even disabling rightclicks and using htaccess to deny directory listing, determined individuals could still save your pages (and the html stuff is there in all its glory to be edited) -
    presumably everybody saves their swf file as "protect from import" - even if you do this, if the site is finished and awaiting approval , the swf file is still cached and could be saved - i realise this may be sounding a bit paranoid -

    many clients i have dealt with all give the proud impression of "I only just know how to switch the thing on mate" but there are people out there too who know every trick in the unix and NT book - i dont consider it being paranoid to build a site with some sort of consideration for security - after all you design a site considering the navigation and ease of use for "computer illiterates" so whay not take the other extreme into consideration too

    i have just moved ISP becasue my previous ISP (paying service too at $40pm) did not have any cgi scripts allowed (not even basic known stuff such as matts formmail), so then i was forced to place "work in progress" on the clients webspace to test the formmail script to make sure it worked ok - also some ISPs will allow you to run ANY scripts whilst others will supply their own!

    i pointed out in an earlier post to this thread, as long as your swf is import protected then just sprinkle a handful of discreet watermarks throughout the movie ,one in each scene should do nicely - make them discreet, (alpha to about 10% or less) so as they don't visually distract from the site whilst the client is viewing the work and trying to make critical judgements on it - it only needs to say something like;

    WORK IN PROGRESS : COPYRIGHT "YOURNAME" 2001

    and place it as a button with a geturl to your home page (if you were feeling particularly vicious and suspicious of your client you could make the geturl onmouseover instead of a onrelease- just like some banner ads!) -SEE MY FOOTER

    A further point that might blow this plan out of the water - if anybody could follow up and throw some light on this point it may be very useful to us all.... I have read that there are apps out there in the underbelly of cyberspace that have been written by programmers, (not mainstream or widely advertised or available,) that can open up and import, protected swf's to enable them to be edited

    any comments please!!
    NB - to the guys at flashkit - how are you doing on a small area dedicated to the pros and cons of freelancing

  11. #71
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    Steve 777

    Just to confirm your fears such apps do exist, they are extremely useful if you have lost the .fla (eg after hard disc crash or something) but of course can also be used to decompile your files.

    Check out http://www.buraks.com/ for their actionscript viewer that sucks the code out of exported .swf's and their deprotector utility, that removes the protection on protected .swf's.

    Both have legitimate purposes but like so many things can be used to do you over.

    Dan

  12. #72
    God that sucks! Happened to me once, but I was only at the end of a long interaction chain, there wasn't much I could do...What do you guys charge for freelance work? I think there should be some standard...I charge 25-50$/hr depending on the client/project...

  13. #73
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    Found my thread...I think I've posted this in others..

    Ok, I've finally put together some thoughts on Freelance Contracts, methodology, and resources for you to use.

    Hands down..the best resource for developers & designers is the following product:

    http://www.proposalkit.com/proversion.htm

    This is a ZDNET best pick.

    It has Customizable worksheets, web forms and templates
    you can easily tailor to your business, interview questionnaire, plus a sample cover sheet and cover letter

    Nondisclosure forms, milestone checklists,
    and sample storyboards, Site maintenance tips and hotlist of key resources, A sample mail merge data file

    Detailed page layout, navigation tactics, and
    web site templates in Visio and HTML formats

    and the list goes on and on...

    http://www.nolo.com for a great self-help law center where you can ask questions and look up relevant small business law (international too!) on contracts, work orders, contractor status, and a whole host of other topics.

    http://graphicdesign.about.com/arts/graphicdesign/
    http://webdesign.about.com/compute/webdesign/

    Both of these are ABOUT.com guide sites, but have sections on running your own business in these fields. They are instructional, but sometimes outdated.

    Hope this helps, since I feel like I promised some information and sort of flaked..

  14. #74
    Stupid Little Dreamer
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    Re: theydontpay.org

    Originally posted by monsterfx
    If someone posts to your site that a client didn't pay and they decide to challenge that in court, it is up to the people making the claim to prove it's validity. If you can't do that, you are guilty of libel.
    I'm not a lawyer either, but I think you could avoid the libel if you changed "client hasn't paid me" to "I haven't received payment"--that could cover a lot of ground, and they'd have to prove that you were lying.

    A possible workaround would be to use the LoadMovie trick to load a blank screen--maybe one big wall of black. The client would wonder what the hell was going on, and have little choice but to call you. There wouldn't be any possiblity for libel so far as I could see; you'd merely be preventing them from using something they hadn't paid for.

  15. #75
    Stupid Little Dreamer
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    To under718:

    I tried to email you but evidently you turned down that option in your profile. So would you mind posting your contract here? It would be very much appreciated.

  16. #76
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    re: theydontpay.org

    There's a simple way for a company to shut down a site like that... they could just have a bunch of people post _obviously_ false accusations aimed at their own company, and they can use that to shut down the site (esp if it has legit dirt on the company). Just a thought that ocurred to me. You'd need a SOP for accusation verification... hey.. I like the sound of that . Probably something like requiring the author to produce the original .fla or something.

  17. #77
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    Read all the posts/responses in this string - the bottom line is: You are in business if you sell your skills or a product - whether it's cleaning houses, roofing, washing diapers, painting pictures or building websites. Up front you need to have a binding contract between yourself and anyone with whom you do business. If the customer does not agree to this - you don't do business with them. At first you may be hungry just to see your work out there ------ but who can spend the time building great stuff if you can't make a living - it is a hobby at that point. Not a good idea to build bombs into sites so the non-paying client will suffer - this is convuluted and if you want to stay in business, very much a career limiting approach.

  18. #78
    loves you all to bits
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    Originally posted by mscorp
    Read all the posts/responses in this string - the bottom line is: You are in business if you sell your skills or a product - whether it's cleaning houses, roofing, washing diapers, painting pictures or building websites. Up front you need to have a binding contract between yourself and anyone with whom you do business. If the customer does not agree to this - you don't do business with them. At first you may be hungry just to see your work out there ------ but who can spend the time building great stuff if you can't make a living - it is a hobby at that point. Not a good idea to build bombs into sites so the non-paying client will suffer - this is convuluted and if you want to stay in business, very much a career limiting approach.
    totaly agree with you.
    what if the site is down where the other site reads it's BOMB-file from ?
    there site will be down to, but in a verry ugly way
    IMO doing that is verry unprofessional
    secondly if that would happen your customer has all the right to say: it's been nice working with you but we don't like what happened so we go to somebody who trusts us.

    my guess is if you run a company you are going to have a customer who makes trouble paying you.
    i think that's part of running a company and my guess is also that it won't happen to much and it's not worth it to
    start building stuff into every site that you make.
    probably the time spent on making those security backups
    in the end will cost you more time creating them than building a site for that one difficult customer does.

    in the end get a bayliv en they will sort out the nonepaying customers.

    cheers Eddie




  19. #79
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    dbrf Your idea is hilarious and ingenious...

    ~mgb

  20. #80
    I am sponge bob
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    email the ******* from here

    http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/flashing/
    thats a link to a quick page i just threw together for us to drop him a line(s)

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