I constantly advise my clients that the various aspects of their Web presence are business assets that they need to protect. When I recently assisted one of my clients with the transfer of their Web assets to the buyer of their business, I was surprised how long the list really was. I think both parties were also surprised because neither had considered every item on the list and thus had to engage in post-sale negotiation about the rest.
Some of this work involved changing vendors. For example, the seller's domain registration account included more than the domain names being sold to the new owner. As a result, it was not possible to simply adjust the account with the domain registrar to reflect the new owner, not that it would have been a good idea anyway. The new owner needed domain registration and hosting accounts in its name.
Here are the assets that may need to be transferred. Most of these applied to my recent transfer project.
- Domain name(s) - The seller will have its own registrar, to which the names will be transferred.
- Hosting - The site has to be moved to a new hosting account and in this case it will be moved to a new hosting company.
- Generic Gmail account - The seller had a Gmail account that incorporated the name of the business, so that needed to be transferred.
- Google Analytics - The Google Analytics account is associated with the generic Gmail account, but the buyer wants to use a different generic Gmail address. This will involve a new Google Analytics account and the removal of tracking from the seller's account.
- Facebook - The seller has a good Facebook account (e.g., www.facebook.com/xyz where xyz is the name of the business.
- Twitter - Ditto.
- Graphics - There may be graphics files that are not kept online with the Web site. Good examples are a logo file in Adobe Photoshop format and the camera originals of photos.
- Online Web Assets - If the business has posted content online, the new owner needs access and rights. Examples: videos at YouTube and images at Flickr.
Moving a Web site is more than just uploading a copy of the site to a new hosting account. Dynamic sites have a database that holds much of the content. Moving the database is a technical task but essential if you want the new instance of the site to match the original in every respect.
Fortunately, the seller and buyer in this case were on good terms and able to work out these additional details after the fact. It could have been messy. So if you ever consider buying a Web site from another business, make sure you consider all the elements that are part of the Web site and incorporate them into the purchase agreement.