Website Acquisitions Scams

A website acquisition involves a webmaster deciding to sell his or her website to an interested party, usually for money. Most website acquisitions go pretty smoothly, however there are some fraudulent sellers out there.

Here are some valuable tips to ensure you don’t get ripped off when buying a website:

1. Avoid buying websites from online auction websites. eBay is a great site to buy most things but when it comes to buying domains, we suggest you steer clear. Many of the sites advertised in reality are essentially overpriced glorified templates with zero traffic or sales. You won’t be earning thousands of dollars as some sellers might lead you to believe. If you’re going to buy a site, purchase one from a reputable webmaster forum such as the Sitepoint Marketplace, as an example.

2. Ask lots of questions: An honest webmaster will not hesitate to answer your questions simply because he has nothing to hide. A suspect seller may either avoid your questions or avoid an issue. Ask questions like: How many unique visitors do you get? What is your Monthly Sales/Revenue? Why are you selling? etc.

3. Do a WhoIs search of the domain: This is important because you can determine how long the site has been around and if the seller is the real owner of the domain.

4. Watch out for ‘black hole’ traffic. This is where a seller lists a site that may only be a few weeks old that is generating ‘thousands of unique hits a day’. This is used to justify a high selling price. But the details as
to where the traffic is coming from are very vague or illogical. Ask where and how they actually get the traffic and see if it’s legit.