Selling Your Website
Ask yourself a simple question. What is the exit strategy for your online business? Are you going to take the business public, try to sell it or just run it until you’ve made so much money you can’t see straight? The answer for most website operators is…they haven’t given it much thought.
Practically speaking, most website operators face one of three exit strategies. The first is the site never takes off and is abandoned. The second is the site makes enough money that you just run it in perpetuity. The third is you sell the site. It is this last scenario where you can run into real problems with your site documents if you are not careful.
User Email Addresses
“We respect your privacy. We will never sell, rent or disclose your email address to another party.”
This statement is a quaint notion. It can also be a death blow if you try to sell your website. Why? The party buying your site undoubtedly wants all of the assets associated with it. These assets include the user email addresses that you’ve promised not to sell!
Plenty of Fish is an online dating website. The company recently sought to purchase the dating site known as True.com, which was available thanks to the bankruptcy of its parent company True Beginnings. Plenty of Fish agreed to pay $700,000 into the bankruptcy estate for all the assets associated with True.com.
“True does not sell, trade, or otherwise disclose customer list names, addresses, birth dates, email addresses or other individually identifiable information to unaffiliated third parties without your permission.”
How did Plenty of Fish react to the objection? In theory, they could have asked True.com to send out an email to all members asking permission to transfer the user data to Plenty of Fish. How many members do you think would have agreed to such a transfer? Plenty of Fish thought the percentages would be so small that it canceled the deal.
$700,000 Circles The Drain
Richard A. Chapo, Esq.