Opinion Issue 19-1

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Do you wonder why issue #17 stayed up for two years without being replaced until now with a new issue?

I, Jan Girand, began this Roswell Web Magazine in early 2002. Knowing nothing about websites, I found an able webmaster, Tony, who helped me design and build the site to my specs, and he patiently taught me how to operate it, to become my own webmaster. Originally its domain was hosted by a fairly local ISP corporation. An employee of that company, who had nothing to do with this website, unknown to me or Tony, registered it in his name (as the named registrant) effectively making him the controlling owner.

I later unsuccessfully tried, for months, to move the website to a different, more affordable domain. It was finally released so I could move it but only after I notified the corporate officers of my dilemma.

The person who helped me move it to the newer domain host/server then, again unknown to me, registered it in his name!

(Fooled once, shame on him; fooled twice, shame on me.)

Some time later, he apparently also changed the password so I was unable to even access my webmag. Then began another long struggle for me to regain ownership.

In December, I hired someone to put the contents of www.roswellwebmag.com onto a new domain, under the name of www.roswellwebmagazine.com, to make a few changes and make it again accessible to me and to help with minor problems. That process took far too long, and ultimately, that “webmaster” also left me hanging, unable to access my webmag. Once again I went searching for a webmaster with ethics. I finally found just such a person in late February and she helped me produce and publish issue 18. This time I am the named registrant and corporate contact or administrator. I am determined to be fully in control of my webmag this time! The new web-designer reworked the site, making it more user-friendly for visitors, but it is an all-new operating format for me to learn. Ultimately I hope to be able to complete publication of each new issue myself, without help. My new webmaster is working with me to accomplish that, but it will be nice to know she will be available whenever I need her to help solve problems.

All of this has been a very costly experience for me–in money, in time and especially in high stress levels.

The moral to this story is: Anyone who wants to own a website should first study to learn its important technical aspects, and above all, choose a web designer or webmaster with a reputation of integrity and assure from the onset that the site is registered in the owner’s name.

It was my friend, Bernice D’Abadie, who told me, a month or two before she died, that my webmag is a valuable intellectual property.

Many individuals and entities, including communities and corporations, have had their intellectual properties (websites) taken from them with a few clicks on the keyboard by unscrupulous webmasters who registered their websites in their own names. Website owners and producers, beware!

I hope you enjoy issue 19 as much as I’ve enjoyed producing it for you.