Buying websites is not something you would do with no preparation at all. To elude being scammed by fraudulent individuals, you have to go through the due diligence process, and step one is to do some ownership checks of the site and of the domain. This step is probably the most important and if anything wrong comes up during this process, at least, you’d still have the option of just withdrawing your bid from buying the site altogether. That is, if there really no plausible explanations to any of the concerns you come across.

Check the Site Ownership 

The most basic step in checking the ownership of a site is to use the WHOIS tool offered by DomainTools. The service is free and provides useful information critical to the verification process, although there’s also a paid version that offers more detailed information. At the very least, you should have access to the domain registration data and contact details of that specific domain. Check the data you obtain from your WHOIS inquiry with the info provided by the seller, and make sure that they are the same.

Look for Information on the Site Owner

The next step in making sure that the transaction you are entering into is absolutely authentic is by checking the reliability of the owner himself. In widely-used marketplaces like, you can access the seller’s info which can give you an summary of how long the seller has been a flipper and if he has a solid history. You could also do an internet search for the seller’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or LinkdIn accounts, and get more information from them. If you don’t have his complete name, you can put in the name he uses as a seller in your online inquiry and see if anything comes up in internet marketing blogs or forums.

Check Domain Status, Registrar History

From a basic WHOIS search, you’ll also get crucial information on the registrar history and the status of the domain. Take note that if a site has just been transferred to a different registrar, it cannot be transferred again within the next 60 days. This is because for domain transfers, there is a waiting period of 60 days. When you do a check on the status of a domain, it would most likely be in a “locked” mode – meaning, the site or domain owner will have to “unlock” it before he can give the ownership to the buyer.

Are There Any Trademarks?

A website may contain trademarks such as Microsoft in a site, or Apple in a If you see potential in these kinds of websites, you need to be certain first that the seller has the lawful right to use the trademark, if the site isn’t being sold by the companies Microsoft or Apple themselves. Further, the seller should have the legal papers to support such claims.

Only after you’ve completed the above suggestions in confirming the legitimacy of the site ownership and the seller himself, can you continue on with the next steps in the due diligence process when buying websites. Whether your are doing website flipping full-time or part-time, check us out to get all the steps involved when researching a prospective website to buy so that you avoid being scammed!

About Ryan Perry

Ryan Perry has taken his 10+ years of business ownership and hands-on marketing skills and focused them on online marketing. In April of 2009, he started Simple Biz Support with an emphasis on Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Ryan is propelling local business websites to the top of Google, Yahoo and Bing resulting in increased market exposure and revenue for his clients using a variety of internet marketing tools including blogs, article submissions and video. Additionally, Ryan speaks and vlogs (video blogs) about internet marketing, educating business owners how to effectively use various SEO tools and techniques to promote their business on the internet. Ryan currently resides in Santa Rosa, CA. Connect with Ryan on Google+