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Thread: About to buy a site and I need some help

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    About to buy a site and I need some help

    In around 7-10 days I will be going into escrow to buy a site for high $xxxx. I'll post the URL, purchase price and revenue when it completes, but in the meantime I need a little advice regarding the purchase.

    First, I've never bought a site at this value before and I don't know what to do in terms of a contract of purchase. Flippa's template is useless because it's a private sale that I sought out directly (hat tip to ScottJ for the great info on how to do this). Do any of you have a template that could be modified for this or is it even necessary?

    Second, I'm prone to jumping into things head first when I have passion and I tend to forget basics. Do any of you use a checklist to keep track of what you need to transfer over? For example, hosting, email addresses, business contacts. I don't want to end up missing something important and having to rely n the seller to hand it over after purchase.

    Finally, do you recommend keeping a spreadsheet for each purchased site to track revenue/profit to know when you've paid off the initial investment or am I being too anal?

    Thanks for the help in advance chaps.

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    Ian,

    Congrats (almost) on your first website purchase in the $XXXX range.

    Regarding a checklist, you should certainly have a due diligence list you should go through. The list will change depending on the type of site you are buying (E.G. a drop ship e-commerce site versus a straight advertising/traffic type site). But, to keep it general, you should want to make sure you receive the usernames and passwords for all key accounts that are being transferred over, contact information for all key suppliers, a basic day-to-day instruction manual on how to run the site and perhaps some ideas the previous owner had on how to grow the site and the steps he would take to do it.

    Regarding keeping a spreadsheet to track profits......absolutely do this!!! When it comes time to sell your site down the road buyers are going to ask you what you have made in great detail. Proper record keeping is essential for this. Tracking for your own purposes is good too if it makes you happy once you know when you paid off your investment, but the true value is for when you want to sell it a couple years down the road.

    Hope that helps.

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    Congrats Ian!

    If it's not a UK domain then where possible I try and open an account at the same registrar that the domain is held at, that way an internal push can be completed within minutes after the seller receives the money rather than the days and days it can take during a transfer between registrars, you can move it on your own time once you own it.

    I always keep a note and watch the site head towards 100% payback, it's a nice feeling to see a site purchased go into pure profit still earning.

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    A simple list off the top of my head to keep an eye out is.

    Domain Name has to be transferred. Either to a new account on that registrar or another registrar.
    Hosting this is a bit more complicated as it depends on if the site just needs shared hosting or its own server.
    Depending on what happens with the hosting your Website may need to be transferred, ask what the existing hosting setup is, if it is Cpanel/WHM then your new host can organise a complete transfer including existing statistics.
    DNS settings changed to the new hosts.
    Sometimes a website uses data from other forms so you will need access to any of these data feeds.
    Any accounts such as monitization that you are taking over.
    Any accounts such as analytics/CDN that you are taking over.
    Access to any feeds that the site uses.
    If the site uses other peoples content with permission a copy of all written permission forms eg.. some of my sites use manufacturers images I have written permission to use all images.
    Passwords and Usernames for website, admin panels, statistic panels.
    Any social network accounts such as facebook, G+, myspace and twitter.
    Contact details of any contractors, employees, affilliates etc etc and an introduction email/letter
    Contact details of any suppliers and an introduction letter/email
    API details for any used for the site.

    I am sure I might have missed a few. Every website will have a unique set of things that you will need access to. If the site has been up for a long period of time some of these may only show there head once a year like domain registration, fees for data, programs and utils the site uses. With out a bit more info it is very hard to say. If the site sells products then you need all suppliers, if its an affill site you need all the affill programs and accounts and the list kind of goes on and on depending on what the site does.
    And they thought me broken, that my tongue was coated lead, but I just couldn't make my words make sense to them, if you only listen with your ears ... I can't get in
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    Here's a list of items to include in a contract as a buyer, as well as a link to a free contract you can use: http://experienced-people.net/forums...es-and-Caveats

    Here's a good list of steps needed to transfer the site: http://www.experienced-people.co.uk/...e-new-hosting/

    I would keep track of the revenue from the site so you can know what your RoI is, as well as have an estimate of the site's value.

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    Thanks guys, this is just what I needed. I'll post the details once the sale is complete.

    I've been chasing this site since the bidding for Clinton's ramblingsoul.com went beyond my means because it's in a similar market. If anyone has contacts with advertisers or media buyers in the web design/template world then let me know.

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    Oh, one last question. I remember a thread which talking about keeping whois details the same to avoid Google knowing that the site has changed hands. The site is registered in the site owners name rather than being protected by one of the many services that let you stay anonymous. Should I have him put privacy on the domain before transferring or change only the email address and keep him as the registered owner? Thoughts?

    I was reading on Escrow that they validate the sale by checking the whois so if it doesn't change, do they have another way to validate the sale?

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    Sorry, I'm a bit late to this, but it looks like you've received some excellent advice so far!

    Quote Originally Posted by ian View Post
    do they have another way to validate the sale?
    Yes, buyer acceptance. If you notify escrow.com that you've taken delivery they don't need to validate that the domain has transferred hands.
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    Awesome, thanks everyone. I'm just eager to get this sale completed now so I can increase the earnings, pay off the investment and make some profit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    Oh, one last question. I remember a thread which talking about keeping whois details the same to avoid Google knowing that the site has changed hands. The site is registered in the site owners name rather than being protected by one of the many services that let you stay anonymous. Should I have him put privacy on the domain before transferring or change only the email address and keep him as the registered owner? Thoughts?
    The thread I recall on this was specific to retention of PageRank when there was lack of content or a substantial change in content. Nobody knows the algos used by G, but I would certainly suggest supplying ICANN accurate ownership information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian
    I've never bought a site at this value before and I don't know what to do in terms of a contract of purchase.
    There are a couple of sources I've used to assemble contracts for online sales and purchases. Please be aware that any contracts drawn up should be reviewed by counsel prior to using them, and most can be broken by a decent attorney. I consider contracts to be a more professional way of conducting business, but they are still subject to the character of the individual signing the paperwork. The contracts for website development are usually more than sufficient to cover site transfer (with a couple of minor modifications).

    There are 3 books I have used for this type of contract, and just pulled them out to be able to provide a brief review. Ownership of the books is the permission to use the contracts supplied. Two are from Nolo Press and one is from Ladera Press. The Ladera is old, and the material is not as well-structured as that from Nolo, but I still consider it well worth the cost. There are more of these type books available.

    How to Get Your Business on the Web: A Legal Guide to E-Commerce has information on protection of trade secrets, legal research, and contracts. The third chapter, Creating Your Website, has a 14-page Website Development Agreement that is followed by details on proper use.

    Legal Guide to Web & Software Development is one I consider a must for the bookshelf of any online business-person. It covers IP and copyright, infringement remedies, trade secret basics, trademarks and domain names, software and website ownership (including transferring software and website ownership and use rights), and even details employment and consulting agreements. This book also contains a website development agreement that can be adapted to sale or purchase of sites.

    Last, but not least, even considering its age, is Internet Legal Forms for Business. Despite its age and changes to some of the laws, this book is worth the price. After an overview, the first chapter is development and transfer agreement, and a longer website development agreement is in chapter 6. This book also provides contracts for Internet Advertising, a decent structure for a Clickwrap, Linking Agreements between sites, and a domain name assignment agreement.

    None of this is a substitute for legal advice from an attorney, of course. It is also possible to go overboard, and I have never seen a need for a 14-page contract. A contract will keep honest people honest and the dishonest won't care, so contracts are not the perfect solution to avoidance of bad information or bad intentions.

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