A Website Seller Must Qualify & Know the Website Buyer

May 11, 2015  |   How to Buy & Sell Websites   |     |   Comments Off on A Website Seller Must Qualify & Know the Website Buyer

Selling websites and domain names pose unique challenges that are different from selling any other types of traditional assets. The biggest challenge for a seller is anonymity.

In order to sell a house, potential buyers have to visit the house and therefore meet the seller or his agent. In fact, even before the buyer visits the house, sellers and agents can require that all buyers be pre-qualified before they are allowed to see the property.

Unfortunately, this is not the case in online assets. Anyone anywhere sitting in front of a computer can place a bid on a domain name or website for sale. It is virtually impossible for the seller to know who the buyer is and whether they can actually afford to acquire the asset.

Anonymous Buyers

Some online marketplaces and forums do have a rating system for users. In this way, a seller can see the transaction history of a potential buyer. In addition, some marketplaces pre-qualify buyers. But this is rare.

As such, it is up to the seller to find out who the potential buyer is, get to know them, and qualify them. A good domain name or a website broker will generally have a database of buyers that he knows or the broker can pre-qualify potential buyers on behalf of the seller.

Regardless of who performs the pre-qualification, it must be done.

As website brokers, we receive inquiries from buyers and sellers everyday. The two most valuable assets we have are knowledge and time. As such, it is necessary for us to quickly eliminate anonymous buyers and sellers who may be wasting our time as they have no cash or valuable assets that require our expertise.

This daily experience has enabled us to develop very powerful tools to quickly qualify potential buyers for sellers.

A deal only closes when the cash is in the bank

Lots of domain name and website sellers receive anonymous offers or inquiries from strangers. On the Internet, anyone can send a message to anyone else. It doesn’t require any financial commitment on the part of the buyer. So the buyer doesn’t have to be serious to submit an offer.

An offer is not cash in the bank.

Until the buyer has signed, at the very least, a letter of intent, that buyer is not real yet. A letter of intent will contain the buyer’s name or company name, address, and other contact information. When a buyer is willing to share this personal information, then the seller can consider that the buyer is real and the deal process is moving along.

Anonymous tire-kickers disappear fast

As a seller, if you receive an anonymous inquiry from a buyer, you do have the right to find out who the buyer is. You should ask for that information as early as possible. It doesn’t matter if the buyer makes an offer in his first email communication. You must get to know who this buyer is.

Buyers who are not serious in the first place will immediately disappear when asked for further information about themselves. It is the fastest and easiest way to pre-qualify potential buyers.

Don’t waste time going back-and-forth exchanging business information or negotiating offers and counter-offers with an anonymous buyer.

If a buyer is not willing to disclose who he is, then generally he is not a serious buyer.

In some cases, the buyer may be an agent of the actual buyer. That’s perfectly fine. That agent must indicate what company he works for in order for you as a seller to check him out.

In conclusion, as a website or domain name seller, find out if your buyer is real or not as soon as possible.

Just like a buyer has to do due diligence on a domain name or website he is looking to buy, a seller must perform due diligence on a potential buyer he is looking to sell his assets to.


Kris Tabetando provides mergers & acquisitions (M&A) advisory and brokerage services to Internet companies. He also partners with investors to acquire & manage Internet businesses.

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