Having a website is pretty much essential for doing business today. Unfortunately, the internet is full of unsavory characters preying on new entrepreneurs seeking to buy websites. Their only aim is to scam them out of their hard-earned cash.
Scams happen all the time in the digital world so it’s important to be on the lookout so you don’t get burned. To avoid the getting scammed when buying a website, it is vital that you take into consideration these tips and remember, if something feels wrong then trust your instincts and walk away.
Do your homework right
Avoiding online scams begins with a little homework. You need to thoroughly research the website you’re looking to buy. Spend some time going through the website looking for areas of concern. Then ask the owner questions about the website and expect answers.
You need to know who owns the site. The internet offers plenty of tools like the WhoIs database that can help you identify who owns the site.
You need to know how the website was built, what tools were used and how old it is.
You’ll also need to get an accurate report on the website traffic sources. The seller may not provide an actual report, probably because they’re estimating or trying to make the website appear more popular than it actually is.
Make sure that the website owner has a traffic tracking script like Google Analytics and then you’ll be able to verify the site traffic.
Use Secure Payment Methods
One of the worst experiences you could encounter is the having the seller take off with your money before they even transfer the website to you.
The website owner will approach you saying that they have a website worth thousands of dollars but are willing to sell it in order to relieve the financial burdens they’re facing. The possibilities of getting a premium website for less money will attract many buyers, and the seller will try to sell the same site multiple times.
The scammer will ensure that each potential buyer has wired money to his account with a promise of completing the domain name transfer process upon the receipt of the funds. But unfortunately, the transfer process never actually happens. Instead, the scammer will empty their account and vanish into thin air, and because the account was emptied, the possibilities of a successful chargeback by the victim are zero.
Fortunately, you can avoid this scam using an escrow service. Using an escrow service will ensure that you only release the funds once everything has been transferred to your name. Most website scammers will refuse to use an escrow service, and this should be a huge red flag to you.
Verify everything for yourself
In most cases, a scammer will tell everything that you want to hear. They’ll even create fake screenshots for things like revenue, traffic, and other information.
There is one rule that you should adhere to when it comes to buying a website: verify everything for yourself. If you follow this rule, you’ll be able to filter out traps laid by these predators.
When you’ve found your ideal website to buy, get the seller to give you access to the website stat tracking software (like Google Analytics).
Alternatively, you can have a video chat with the seller and see them login into their stat tracking software and the software they’re using to generate revenues during the call. By doing this, you’ll be able to see them log in, access the dashboard, refresh the pages, and this makes it hard for them to fake the information.
If the seller denies you access to the traffic and revenue tracking software, then it’s time for you to run from the deal.
Hire a professional
If you find the process of avoiding getting duped overwhelming, there are experts available that can handle the whole process for you. There are professional website brokers who specialize in buying and selling websites every day. They know how to spot scams easily and how to verify everything.
You can consult a broker about a website that you’ve found, or you can buy a site through a broker. By hiring a website broker, they will not only ensure that you avoid getting scammed but also make certain that you buy a website for a price that it is really worth.
Buying a website can be an important investment in your business. It’s important to know what you’re getting before you embark on the process as there are millions of scammers out there who want to take advantage of your lack of experience.
That doesn’t mean that you should let fear deny you a chance of owning the website you want. You just need to understand the pitfalls so that you can get ready for them and handle them like a pro.
Follow these tips and you’ll be able to filter out scams in seconds. Being savvy will save you time, money and you’ll avoid the stress of getting involved in a shady deal.