A client recently purchased an entire online business, URL, Site and resulting income.
This reminded me of the importance of taking certain precautions and measures before and during such a transaction.
While in this case nothing went wrong, the potential for issues were a heaping pile of worry.
When buying a business, one of the most important things will be to ensure the keys are handed over at midnight and locks changed.
Even if the current management is to be retained for a transition period, that access can be added once all control is in the purchasers hands.
In this case a check for 20,000 was handed over and three weeks later the site and business are sitting on the original server with no access info handed to the purchaser. The URL is still in the name of the seller, and the seller is still running the business with the purchaser having NO idea as to what the income is or how, where, what will make it's way to him.
Again, the seller had no intention of making things difficult, and for that reason I was able to intervene and get these details sorted out as they should be. But what if the seller was less honorable? Having cashed that check leaves room for any number of underhanded maneuvers; even the possibility of outright refusal to change a darn thing.
So if you are buying or selling an online business, here are the steps (simplified) to expect or take:
1. Contact a company for the purpose of escrow services.
2. Give the funds to that company in trust.
3. Have the URL and site transferred to your name.
4. Get full root access to the server and any site access (IE Wordpress Login)
5. Log into all areas and resent the info for only your access.
Check for additional admin or publishing rights users and remove.
6. Re-add any users you deem necessary, using info you have chosen.
7. Have the domain record transferred to your own domain account
8. Have the domain record info updated to reflect you as owner.
9. Review any emails and forwards to reflect your needs.
10. Have the escrow firm release the funds to the seller.
The point of an esgrow firm is to mediate if there are any disputes. Funds are not returned to the purchaser if requested, but instead kept in trust and a legal format pursued should issues arise. Only if the funds are directed for release to the seller is all closed and transaction complete.
COOLCOM Premium has acted as Esgrow for many transfers of business and top shelf domain ownership transfers. Should you need services or advice on steps to take for selling or buying online business or URL assets, just ask our team.