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General Issues When Buying A Web Site

1:51 am on Mar 12, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have never purchased a web site. If one is considering buying any web site, it seems that in general there could be various potential concerns from the buyer's point of view. How does a buyer in this setting best protect themselves in any such transaction?
For example, is there a formal contract usually? How does a buyer know whether the web site itself owes any money or has any obligations that could transfer with the sale? How could a buyer know if the site or its owner was previously banned from say adsense or other service? What other issues should the buyer look into to protect themselves? How does the transfer of the domain name and the web site files and hosting arrangments proceed? Appreciate any input


4:56 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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You should check their past history and their documentation. You should consult your lawyer as well and should publish it in open press that you are going to buy this site.
5:09 pm on Mar 21, 2006 (gmt 0)

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How does a buyer know whether the web site itself owes any money or has any obligations that could transfer with the sale?

A web site itself is not a legal entity, so can not borrow money or enter into legal contracts.

The owner of the site may have legal/financial problems, but unless there is a lien placed specifically against the web site, there should be no affect on the transfer.

Obviously the main concern is that the "owner" really does have the legal right to sell the site. You have to do due dilligence to determine that the person is the actual owner and not just a disgruntled employee who's going to disappear with your money.

Do domain escrow services provide checking for these issues or do they just handle the money transfer?

As with any major sale, there should be a purchase contract stipulating exactly what you're buying. Are you just buying the domain name? Are also also buying all the content? What about the customer base? (Can the owner legally turn over all the customer data to you?)

7:21 am on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I have bought a site that sells products for a company and then I get 75% of retail profits. I don't need have access to the code but I know it works because it's been tested and products are received in over 40 countries. Sales of the products exceed $USD 1 billion every year.

The agreement I have with the company is that if someone buys from my site (that I bought from them for about $USD 250) then I'll get the 75% of retail profit. The biggest issue is getting folk to buy from my site.

Interestingly, the site also sells itself, in that you can buy the site and have your own site name!