I am an interested in buying a website that already exists. Not just the domain name -- I want all the existing Wordpress infrastructure and content + its social media presence (Twitter and Facebook). Basically, I pay for all the admin passwords and takeover. The thing is, I know the owner and I think our professional relationship is somewhat tenuous, so I'm not sure how to go about making an offer. I'm also not sure what a good offer would be or how to go about doing it. Sorry this is so long, but here's the situation:
posted by AppleTurnover to computers & internet (19 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The owner: I know the owner, but I don't really trust her so I wonder if I should make an offer anonymously through a broker. I have contributed to this website and worked with the owner, but generally have found her to be very unprofessional and quite frankly, the value I've brought to her website is above the effort or standards she has set. I am a paid professional at this and have been doing it for her site (for free) for fun. Now I want more control over the product to raise the quality and get more out of it. For background: a new market, essentially, was created last year by the founding of a new professional organization and this woman founded her website immediately to get in at the ground floor -- that was about a year ago. Now when you google this organization, her website is at the top of results and people in this industry follow it. (I am sorry for being vague about what the website is about, but I'm afraid if I get too specific, it could tip her off in case she reads AskMeFi. This market is covered by a lot of websites and outlets, but this is the only website I know of devoted entirely to this new market.) I think the woman who made the website did it really as a content mine and for all I know, her plan all along was to eventually sell the site after the market had a few years of growth since it's a great domain name. (That's speculation on my part.) I'm not sure she'd be willing to sell, but maybe. The owner seems to build websites that are designed to just sit and collect traffic, like a website that will convert a file for you or a website with some sort of niche calculator on it. The site I want to buy is one where she has copied sites kind of like Deviant Art or Bleacher Report by having other people produce content for the site -- she doesn't actually do anything herself. Recently, she's gotten even lazier, having the homepage of the site aggregate links to other websites with new posts related to the site's topic.
The website: I don't want to pay more than it's worth. (Obviously, I could start my own website, but I don't know how to build websites and I am not really interested in designing from scratch, starting with zero content and earning new readers one by one. I like the idea of existing infrastructure and existing audience.) I've checked some sites that supposedly measure the values of websites to see what it's worth -- ValueSite says $250, mustat says $200. Alexa ranks the site around 3,000,000 globally and Alexa says it has 25 sites linking in, 2 page views per visitor and 10 percent search traffic. I don't know if I can see how many visitors it gets daily. Quantcast says the site's rank is about 600,000 (that might be in the U.S., not sure). The site has about 8,000 Twitter followers and 2,000 Facebook likes. I was thinking maybe I could offer like $500?
Buying: This is the part I'm especially clueless on. I'm not sure whether if I do it anonymously, she will think the website has a lot of potential value and hold tight. Similarly, maybe having a fancy brokerage company make an offer on my behalf might make her think someone with deep pockets is offering and try to get more money. I do not have deep pockets. On the other hand, I'm also not sure if she would take me seriously if I reached out to her directly and asked about buying -- besides, as I said, I don't trust her (...she has lied to me when she hasn't made updates or posted content I created, but then has seemed annoyed that I have started producing content for other websites that pay me, even though she doesn't pay me). Could I go through a website brokerage company and buy it anonymously? Should I ask a friend or colleague to make an offer in their name by reaching out casually? I don't know if she'd be willing to sell or not, but how could I approach her? Would $500 be reasonable? Too high? Too low? I could spend $500 for something like this but much more than that seems like a lot. I'm afraid she'd want like $1000-$5000, which seems like a big investment since I don't even know if this site would ever make money. I don't it generates much advertising revenue. And then, I see these website brokerage companies offer website escrow -- I have no idea what that means. So the buying process is a mystery to me.
I'd love any sort of guidance, advice, experience, analysis, etc. I'd love to make this happen. Thanks.