Great question. As far as I know there are no ways to protect your idea. Because after all you have to tell them your idea in order for them to let you know if it can be done and the price involved. Perhaps see if there is a contract you can sign before speaking with them directly about your ideas that will protect you and your ideas. Best of luck!
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Go with someone who has an established history of creating large websites for their clients. Sign a contract if you are able. Just take little precautions like that and you will be much safer.
An NDA is a good idea but don't' rely on it to protect you unless you are specifically dealing with a local programmer. The legal expense of going after intellectual property theft in another country would most likely be cost prohibitive.
Its best to make an agreement which says that the ideas you mention are purely yours and not of the Programmer.
IBM used to do that for all meetings with its suppliers including Microsoft ! (Read that in a Book)
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Go with someone locally who has more to gain by building his or her portfolio than by stealing your idea.
NDA's are fine and good, but they really work better for major companies that have the legal muscle to enforce them.
I agree here. I've seen too many good ideas and trade secrets slip out into others hands. There's no safe way to protect purely online anymore so trust in a company with something to lose by breach, whether its local or not. Local is definitely more appealing so you can sit down and face to face with the folk you hire.
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When dealing with a companies idea which is of a delicate nature we sign a NDA before we meet up with the client to discuss the ideas.
A few issues which you may have not considered though.
1) Once your website has launched how will you protect your ideas.
2) If its a website to advertise a new product, is the product adequately protected through trademarks and patents.