A digital weasel is any online marketer who puts their own selfish gain above the wellbeing of their clients. They try to make their customers feel inadequate or incompetent. When fired, the worst comes out in them, often locking their client out of their own data.
How do I know if my web guru is a digital weasel?
Digital Weasels may seem hard to detect, but once you know the tell-tale signs, they’re quite easy to spot.
A couple signs your web guru might actually be a Digital Weasel:
They Aren’t Transparent — You know you’re paying for ads, but they never provide documentation of performance. They don’t add you as an owner on Google properties they set up for you. Maybe they’ve built you a website, but they won’t give you a login, or let you update it yourself. You’re paying for their work, and you have a right to know how they’re marketing your business.
They Own Your Web Assets — If they say your website is proprietary to their company, or they’re refusing to share access to your Google Ads account, or worst case they pay for your domain registration, they’re potentially being dishonest. We believe your web assets are YOUR PROPERTY. If someone builds you a website, you should have the ability to edit it, and you shouldn’t lose your domain if you want to work with a different company in the future.
They are using Unauthorized, 3rd Party Email Accounts to Manage Your Assets — If this happens, run. All assets should be owned by an account YOU (the business owner) control. If your web person creates a new asset, they should make you the owner of it (at your domain based email account). They should be setup as a manager. When a digital weasel starts collecting your assets in accounts you can’t access, they’re setting things up to hold you hostage (AND, you’re paying to advertise assets you don’t own or control!). Don’t let it happen to you.
They Try to Game Google — Google is a well-oiled machine that refuses to be pushed around. Search ranking, ad performance, and the quality and quantity of the leads you get are all influenced by playing by Google’s rulebook. While not all digital marketers who game Google are weasels, if they’re willing to lie to Google, it’s not unlikely they’d lie to you too.
They Are Difficult to Work With — When you ask for clarification or documentation, they get defensive. When you request access to one of your digital assets, they act like a petulant toddler. If you’re hiring someone to improve your online presence, it shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth to work with them. We’re building websites, not warheads.
They Make You Feel Like You’re Nothing Without Them — While having an effective web presence is an important part of your business’s success, delivering a great product or service is what makes you successful. The product your business creates is special and something you can always market using a different web developer. Your business’s success isn’t proprietary to your web developer.
Is it okay for my webmaster to own my domains?
While allowing your webmaster to manage your domains makes their job easier, they need to be registered under your name and YOU should be paying for their registration. If someone else own your domains, they aren’t your property! Imagine printing your website URL on business cards, truck wraps, putting it in radio ads, and building online credibility at that URL only to have your webmaster forget to renew the domain, or worse, redirect it to your competitor. Your .com will no longer work and your clients won’t be able to find you!
It’s CRUCIAL for you to personally be registered and pay for all of your business’s domains. It’s your business’s property.
Why shouldn’t I let my employees use a Gmail or Yahoo email address?
Any email address that isn’t registered at your domain is not under your control.
A Gmail or Yahoo address can be hijacked and you can get locked out of the account. If an employee leaves your company, they may refuse to turn over their work email, and any accounts or services that they created using that email address.
But, if you register all company email addresses at a domain you own and control, you hold all the cards. If an employee leaves your company, you can lock the account, and redirect their old email to another team member. You can also recover any logins that they created using that email address.
In addition to the business asset security that domain-based email provides, it also ensures business continuity. Clients sending to an old employee’s address will still be able to get in touch with your team. If your staff changes, your clients won’t feel abandoned or have to take extra steps just to contact your business.
Plus, domain-based email addresses look professional! You’ve got that extra “I know what I’m talking about” sparkle with a domain-based email.
My social media is registered at my Gmail account? Am I at risk?
Ideally, all of your web assets are registered using domain-based emails. This is your extra layer of protection against social media hijacking. You have ultimate control of where password reset emails go and who can access them.
However, as long as YOU—the business owner—are the only person with access to the Gmail (or other 3rd party email) where your social media is registered, you still have ultimate control of the social media account.
But, if you have shared your gmail (or any other generic mail) login, you could get locked out of your assets.
In short, it’s okay, just don’t share that Gmail password with anyone.
I can’t use domain-based email for my Google Domain registration. What should I do?
Some Google services rely on a @gmail.com account, so you won’t be able to use your domain-based email for them.
In this case, the @gmail.com account you use should be owned by you, and you should be the only one with the password.
Sharing your password to this account allows the people with that password to hijack your domains, lock you out of the account by changing the password, and potentially shredding your online credibility.
This Google account is your Golden Key to the city. Do not share this login with anyone.
I’ve given management access, but my developer says they need ownership access. Is this true?
With most services, management access is plenty for your digital marketer to be able to do their job effectively. If they don’t have enough access, clarify why they need higher access. If you’re unsure of sharing a higher level of access, ask to meet with them over Zoom or TeamViewer and do the tasks together. That way, you still retain ultimate control of the asset, and they are able to complete the tasks they need to do their job effectively. It’s less efficient than turning over access, but you need to protect your livelihood.