bombSo you’ve spent time, money, and energy to build a website, manage a blog, and create a Social Media presence.  But do you actually own and control any of it?  Typically, it’s not something business owners worry about until it’s too late.

Consider the case of  the Minnesota Lynx, defending WNBA Champions…

With a thriving Social Media fan base, they had well over 30,000 followers on the team’s Google+ page.  In fact, heading into the WNBA Finals for the second straight year, the Lynx had record setting web traffic and the first ever “verified” Google+ account for a WNBA team.

Then, suddenly, just days before the Finals were scheduled to start, the page was gone and with it went the database of 30,000.

Gone, nada, zero, bye-bye…

Why?  Because the email address that was used to set up the account was that of an employee who was no longer with the organization.  When the address went away, so did the page.

Google’s response…

“Start Over”

Yep, good old Google showed their typical level of sympathy as they plainly rejected any request to reinstate the page.

So if this can happen to one of the most successful Social Media pages in existence, what could happen to your online presence if you don’t pay attention to the details?

Here are a few tips to avoid disaster:

1.  Set up accounts in your own name and with your own email address.  This is something I stress with every client.  Whether it’s your web hosting account, Facebook page, or any other platform, make sure it is established in your name using an email address that won’t go away any time soon.

2.  Pay your own bill.  If you happen to set up a hosting account or any other online marketing tool that requires a monthly payment (such as email marketing software or domain registration) insist that your credit card gets used for the billing.  Why?  Because it’s the only way that you can be sure that the bill gets paid and your account, along with your website or database, doesn’t disappear or get shut down.  Forgetting something as simple as a $10 fee to renew your domain could cost you thousands of dollars if your website gets shut down.

3.  Remember that “free” means you don’t own it.  Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+ and even organic search engine rankings are all free methods of marketing. (Yes, you may pay someone to manage or build these things for you but the platforms are free.)  This means on any given day, you could wake up to find out your account has been compromised or that your rankings are gone.  Pleading and complaining won’t get you anywhere, so just know that it could happen.  Protect yourself by making sure you are marketing your business in many other ways and not just relying on the free stuff out there.


The time to take precautions is before disaster strikes, not after.  Take the time today to discover who owns your accounts and make sure they are set up and paid for properly.  Cover your assets and don’t let your hard work go up in smoke!