As SEO professionals we get approached by many needing our help. In some cases a person will approach me with a profit-sharing offer. This is when I don’t get paid any money upfront, but instead I’ll get paid on the backend, when a profit is made, we share the profit. These are also commonly referred to as business partnerships.
Basically, I do all the work to get the website to the top of search engines and drive targeted traffic while my so-called “PARTNER” sits back, collects the checks and share the profits with me. Many times this is a face value trust relationship, because as the SEO partner I don’t have access to the personal PayPal/bank account of the business owner.
I’m sure you can see all the trouble in that. That’s why when I’m approached with these type of offers I first have to like the business idea and concept. Then if I decide to partner with someone there needs to be a way to confirm website sales, even if I don’t have account access or control. I just want to know how many sales were placed and how much money was made.
I also have another requirement that I deem important. The one main requirement for any website partnership is that I MUST have domain ownership. This is how I stay protected in cases like this and gain some control as a partner. If my partner every gets shady then I have the power in my hands to shut the business down by shutting down the domain or have the ability to sell the domain to recoup any loss monies.
If someone seems hesitant or unwilling to relinquish domain ownership to me, then it makes me question their motives about wanting someone to do SEO as a partner. If they truly are seeking a partner then domain ownership is the least thing they could do to show they are serious about having a true partnership.
I’m a business man first, so I would never abruptly shut a business down or kill a domain, unless there is an absolute good reason. If a partner trust you to market their website and build their online presence then there’s no reason not to trust them with domain ownership.
If you’re an SEO and find yourself in a situation like mine, then I suggest you too ask for domain ownership. Draw up a contractual agreement if you have to, just make sure you protect yourself. You don’t want to get caught with your pants down. You do all the hard work to grow a business then at the end you have nothing to show for it. You just wasted time and money, with no reward. Be careful, can’t trust everyone!!! Hopefully you have a partner who is on the up and up. Good luck!