Patricia Skinner is a hard working SEO with a dilemma: she has run into a few clients who never paid her for her services. She spent hours working on website development, design, and SEO strategy only to be promised fees that she never received. She found profitable keywords to help companies rank well against their competitors.
But her clients never actually paid up.
Sure, you probably had your own clients like this, and most of us are in a position where we could do something that would require them to hire a reputation management firm to fix. She's not entirely happy, and she's likely within her rights to expose them as bad clients, but instead, she ends her article with a good piece of advice:
If you’re reading this and you know you’re a shifty-eyed little bugger who owes someone money for work they’ve done, be a human being and pay them before your karma catches up with you.
The discussion has moved onto Sphinn where there's a lot of good feedback with regards to what should be done.
Barry Welford says that with the Internet being more open, we're held to higher standards and that "[i]t's better to create a good reputation than to have to manage your reputation in order to control damage caused by less than honorable acts."
Another suggestion is to strongly enforce contracts. If that fails, there's a small claims court. IncrediBILL gives some pretty good advice about the courts:
If you're in the US, small claims court is your friend. It's cheap, no lawyers involved, and most people settle right away once they know it's serious. Forget online reputations, most people don't want a judgement against them screwing up their credit.
Barry adds that credit agencies will also go after people who don't pay up, and they'll take a percentage. That's also useful to know.
Forum discussion continues at Sphinn.