I was chatting to Luke a few weeks ago about an idea I had for buying established websites on the cheap. The premise was pretty simple, I’d use Google to try to find sites that were put up for sale by their owners informally through an announcement on their website.
For example if you do a Google Search for take over this site you are presented with 570 results, some of which are pages that have announcements stating that the website in question is up for sale. The reason why I’ve used take over this site rather than this site is for sale is that take over this site implies that money isn’t in question, the owners will often be willing to transfer the site over to you for a nominal fee providing you gain their trust (which is the hard part, after all they don’t want to see all of their hard work ruined by a babbling, incompetent lunatic who wipes everything and places ads everywhere.).
Lets assume that you’ve found a website that you like that’s still available. You can increase your chances of acquiring the site if you can prove that you’re passionate about the sites subject area. Itll help to have existing websites in this particular niche that you can forward on to the sites owner. A better approach would be to visit DMOZ and scour the niche directories for out of date yet popular websites that correlate with your interests.
For example I could visit the Dmoz Farting category and look for pages that haven’t been updated in the past few years and ask if they are interested in handing over their website in exchange for some money. Your chances of a successful handover are increased dramatically if the owner is unaware of the value of their site. You can gain a fair impression of whether this is the case or not by simply analysing their pages. If the site is well designed and features some variety of ad links then the chances of the creator handing over the site are remote since they are probably aware that there website is worth at least something.
Ideally the website should look horrendous, have no ads but a lot of content and backlinks. DN Scoop is your friend here.
Of course, part of the fun is typing in keyword phrases that webmasters will use to signal their disinterest with their current site. Here are a few ideas that return 50 or more results in Google.