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JV Security Urgent Help!!

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by SecretHimitsu, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    Hi, I can't seem to post in the JV section so I suppose I will post here instead.

    I recently was asked to be the third partner in a fast growing website/niche, and I have been regularly writing articles and working hard to promote our site, with excellent results (we are making a few hundred a month, and it's climbing fast).
    I don't personally know any of my other two partners, and I have only spoken to one of them (the other one is silent and is providing funding) via email.

    I don't want to work my balls off to help this site be successful, only to get "das boot" but I do not have sufficient knowledge of legaleese to draft out an agreement, nor can I afford a lawyer.

    I have requested Cpanel and FTP access to all of our sites files in a bid to gain some security, but I really don't know what the heck I am doing.

    Can anybody here please tell me what steps a Man in my position should take in order to ensure that my newfound partners aren't going to "take the money and run"?

    The matter is somewhat urgent as I am wary to continue until I know I am not going to be scammed. I certainly don't want to quit as I can see the potential in the site, and I am willing to work full-time on it's success.

    Thank You.
     
  2. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    55 views and not a single reply?
    Do none of you really have any idea what I should do?
     
  3. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    Partner and never talked to them? Ummm...that's not a partnership.

    There is no contract, no legal binding "partnership"- and until there is one you have nothing.

    Sorry, but that is the truth.
     
  4. evilclown

    evilclown Senior Member

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    With all due respect this is why I don't deal with everyone in BHW. Kids with no business experience thinking I m gonna hit it rich for been cool on the web. You have no leverage, no legal contract, nothing.

    Learn from your mistake Oby One Kenoby.
     
  5. illfounded21

    illfounded21 Senior Member

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    If you're gut-feeling is correct about them doing a runner on you once the site is complete - you need to become more 'valuable' to them to stop this happening.

    Add more to the site than just content (I don't mean literally), if you become synomously linked with the websites rise/success, they won't want to ditch you. Think hard how you can bring something to the table that they currently lack, or only you can provide, or have more experience & skills providing it than someone else (prevents the outsource).

    If you cannot do the above, make sure the content you're providing is hands-down the best content available.

    Always ask yourself the question, how can I make myself more valuable?
     
  6. cyrix

    cyrix Junior Member

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    Just like illfounded21 was saying if you want to keep them from running then they have to need you. You have to be the one providing something the site requires to be successful. Without that they have no reason to keep you around.
     
  7. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    Ok, first of all thank you all for the replies. I will make a couple of things clear that perhaps I should have in my first post in my replies below.

    Don't assume that because I am in new territory I am a kid with no business experience (I am moving up on 40 years quickly, and this is far from my first website). This is just my first time in embarking on a joint venture for a website in which I do not have a personal connection with my associates. Nobody said anything about 'being cool' on the web (I stopped caring about 'being cool' many years ago), the niche is virtually untapped and we have already gone from making a small handful of sales monthly to dozens, and that number is rising very quick (and this is all within a couple of months of the sites inception). We have also received nothing but good praise for our venture, and our feedback has been excellent (we are being told we are by far the best website on the web for what we provide). Why shouldn't I consider the possibilities? Were I naive I wouldn't have posted here asking for help.

    I never said I never talked to them, I said I have only spoken to one of them via email. I have been speaking with him regularly for some time.

    Since my last post earlier today I received an update email with FTP info to the site, as well as log-in info for our affiliate accounts. I have also been told I will receive CPanel access tomorrow.
    I have also been made manager of all related accounts, and have top access to our Twitter accounts, Google+ accounts and the like.

    To be clear I never said I had a gut feeling or a bad feeling about it, I actually feel great about it all. I just wanted some advice on what other people would do in my situation to ensure they have some security.

    Do you guys think that having CPanel access, FTP access, and login info for all affiliate and related accounts buys me that security, or do you think that I am still leaving myself open for undue risk in the future should the site become very profitable?

    I don't want to pass up the opportunity, so I appreciate all the insight I can get.
     
  8. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    Honestly, that access doesn't mean jack sh#t in the grand scheme of things. If sh#t hits the fan they can say "He was just some worker we found online" - and you don't have a legal leg to stand on. Not trying to sound like a dick, but access and some log ins don't mean a thing.

    To company: "Ummm, you just sold this site for $100 million but Billy over here says he was a 'partner' and wants his cut"

    Their response: "Who is Billy? Show us a contract and/or agreement that show she is part of this"

    Seriously, when it boils down to it you have nothing. Get a legal contract drawn up. Not something you find online (they have more holes then cheese) - one from an attorney in your State/Country/ etc - I know you said you can't afford that now - but that is the ONLY way you will be protected. And I would get that done sooner than later - before you waste time on something that you legally don't have a stake in.
     
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  9. MadStacks

    MadStacks BANNED BANNED

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    legalzoom.com and many more websites can draft something up for you and give you
    real legal advice.
     
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  10. noseo

    noseo Regular Member

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    (1) Get a contract.

    (2) Put into the contract that your articles are (c) Copyright you and that you are giving them a revocable license.

    (3) If the **** hits the fan, at least you have the leverage that you can DMCA the site and get your copyrighted content off.

    (4) Look into better sources of legal advice.
     
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  11. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    Thank you for the help guys.
    The log ins are the same log ins that my associates are using, does that make a difference? They are not secondary accounts or user logins, they are their own personal accounts.
    Without trying to sound facetious and in all seriousness, what could stop me from taking the money and hiking off?
    I have all of their personal login info for everything from our affiliate accounts down to the websites twitter, and everything in between.
    The only thing I don't have is the password for the domain registrar really.
    I'm not trying to be a jackass, just asking for a little clarity.
     
  12. MadStacks

    MadStacks BANNED BANNED

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    Changing all the log in information and secret questions answers basically cancelling you out.
     
  13. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    Listen, you have nothing without a legal binding contract. You are asking for clarity from people that can not give that to you. You need professional legal advice. Not sure what else you want to know. Someone to say, "Oh yeah all will be fine!" - because that is not going to happen.

    That is like saying, "Hey I have a red ball in my hand. What color is it?"

    ...and when everyone tells you it is a red ball you ask again hoping for a different answer. It isn't going to happen.

    You are obviously worried about it, and rightfully so. But you need to get legal advice. There are so many "what if's" and different possible scenarios. Consult with a local attorney and get it handled. Don't these other "business partners" of yours want a contract as well? I have never once seen a business deal go off successfully with no issues down the road that didn't have a contract. When $$$ is involved original intentions change. And they change MUCH quicker when there is nothing legally binding handshake deals or in this case a virtual handshake.
     
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  14. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    I'm not hoping for a different answer to the same question, each question is a somewhat different scenario.
    I would liken that more to asking about a ball that is indeed changing colors, though subtly. :)

    Thanks again for the help netmoney1, I have spoken to my colleagues and although they are wary to enter into a contract with their legal names (there is a conflict of interests between our niche and their lifestyles), they are willing to form an LLC and I will enter into a contract with that LLC.
    How does that sound to you?

    I will also see if I can find some free legal advice online, I may have a facebook friend or two who happen to be lawyers.
     
  15. netmoney1

    netmoney1 Executive VIP

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    Sound to me? You need to ask these questions to an attorney. I gave my input. The fact that they don't want to use their legal name is a red flag. But hey, good luck.
     
  16. SecretHimitsu

    SecretHimitsu Registered Member

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    If you don't want to give your opinion that is fine, or if you don't have the knowledge to make an informed suggestion that is fine as well, I only asked for your input; and I do appreciate what you have said so far, so thank you.

    It turns out I have a paralegal friend who will be willing to talk to me in the week so I will see what she says. From my perspective it looks pretty safe. There is always a risk involved and I understand their desire to keep their names separate from this niche.

    Should I ever need to go to court I have a month of email conversations with this fellow from an email address that is served from the website, as well as proof of my access to all accounts and wherein that access was given, as well as their agreement to enter into a contract between the LLC and myself which lists me as 1/3rd owner of the website, as well as local copies of the website in it's entirety which I obtained through the FTP credentials I was given over email, as well as all relevant logs; and they have agreed to allow me a disclaimer in the tos claiming all of my material as copyright © to myself, that should the need arise I could apply to take it all down.
     
  17. prospect7

    prospect7 Regular Member

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    Tell them you want to have a quick meeting on skype or over the phone. Ask questions that revolve around the partnership and the work you've done, how you will be compensated etc. Record the conversation. This is essentially a verbal contract. In some states it maybe illegal to record without consent (?) Once you have that (obviously don't tell them you have it and show your cards) ask for a written contract. If they try to screw you at least you have possible leverage at this point.

    Also you could put a shell on the server in case SHTF. But that's at your own risk obviously. Recording a verbal contract then using that as leverage if they try to screw you should be good enough IMO.
     
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