Today I would like to share some advice with you regarding selling a blog. The new owner of JohnCow has reveiled himself to the public, so it looks I’m not sworn to secrecy anymore. The blog was sold at the end of April for an amount equal to 12.7 high-end macbook airs. Not that I would buy that many, I just grabbed one 😈 Even though it’s great to receive a big chunk of money, there certainly are drawbacks involved in any deal like that. I simply did not foresee some of the things that could go wrong because it was only the second blog I had sold.
Most of you have probably setup a snazzy IMAP or POP account under your blog domain. During the lifetime of your blog, you have most likely signed up for a bunch of affiliate programs, traffic exchanges etc, and I bet that most have been registered with that same snazzy email address. Sold your blog? Sold your inbox!
I had added several JohnCow related accounts to the sale (e.g Twitter, Feedburner, OIOPublisher, Gmail etc) and transferred these to the new owner upon completion of payment. Unfortunately for me, the new owner quickly found out that with getting the JohnCow hosting account, he also got my emails. Sadly enough I discovered that several of my affiliate accounts, like PepperjamNetwork and Entrecard, which were not included in the sale, had gotten their passwords changed. I was locked out and the new owner took full access to those accounts, and whatever funds and credits were left in them.
It’s like selling your house, giving the new owner a spare key, and when you want to go to pick your stuff up, he has changed the locks. Make sure you create a separate gmail or hotmail account to sign up for stuff like this. If it ever comes to selling your blog, it’ll save you a lot of work and frustration!
As the online persona of John Cow, I had met a lot of new and interesting people. My readers, the people on twitter etc. Once I sold the blog, the new owner wanted to keep the sale a secret, afraid it would backfire on the JohnCow image. I agreed to these terms and now feel this was kinda like selling my soul. He kept the persona alive, and I kept my mouth shut. I looked at how many of my online friends were getting ‘played’ by the ‘impostor’. Obviously this is my own mistake, and I should not have let it happen that way. On the other hand, I’m kinda glad it did happen, because it has clearly separated my ‘real online friends’ (as far as real goes online) and the leeches that were just trying to be friends with an influential blogger.
Be prepared to distance yourself completely from the brand you have carefully built. I’m the kinda guy that likes to call them as I see them, and this reflected in some of my posts, which by some would be labeled as ‘controversial’. By pure coincidence, I found out yesterday that the new owner has been deleting certain posts from the archives, most likely to keep the peace with someone else. I won’t mention any names here, but when I had published this post, the person in question even tried to bribe me with money to remove the post. I might not be the most diplomatic of bloggers, but I do like to keep my integrity. With the new owner applying ‘censorship’ to the content I had published, it just seems somewhat unsatisfying and pointless in hindsight.
The deal involved the ownership of a dedicated server, which was sponsored by my friends over at tophostingcenter.com. Besides the Cow, I obviously utilized the server for other sites too. Soon after the sale, I went travelling to get some things sorted, and had little to no Internet access. My plan was to get a new server as soon as I was back, to transfer my other sites, leaving the sponsored server in the hands of the new owner. A few weeks later I get a chance to get online, only to find all my websites were down. Quickly getting in touch with the host, it appeared the new owner had been either abusive or unreasonable towards the staff, to a degree where the sponsorship was immediately canceled and the server taken offline. Thank god they still had the backups after that while, it would have cost me weeks to get everything back up again otherwise!
I had to explain several times that I had sold the blog, and that I did not work, or was affiliated with the new owner. Luckily the CEO understood where I was coming from, and we’re on good terms again.
The main reasons for the sale were the fact that I have since moved from Europe to Australia, and that didn’t have enough time to work on the blog. Besides, that bag of money has made moving over here a lot easier 😈 If you are as passionate about your blog as I was, and yet you are looking to sell, try to take your time to make sure you are 100% happy with the potential buyer. I find that the blog has gone in a different direction. Instead of the using the parody factor, the cheekiness and controversy, it has turned into yet another MMO blog. Initially I was convinced that the new owner would pull it off, seeing the type of cheeky writing they use on dealdotcom, but to my disappointment he chose a different path. I guess everyone has their own expectation of what a blog should be about.
Something else which has let me down, is how I as the former owner am being portrayed in the ‘new and improved’ About Us page.
Over the first few months Bob was able to gain a lot of momentum with John Cow and with a new logo and new template it appeared like everything was going well… but the problem was Bob was not really earning a lot of money online and so how was he able to blog about it?
A perplexing question indeed!
Yes, perplexing enough for them to pay me a big chunk of change. There are a few more of those sort of remarks throughout the new content, I guess it’s his way of ‘payback’, because of a few things mentioned above, I decided to turn my back on the new owner. Technically, I still owe him 4 posts, but after all that’s happened, I doubt these will ever get written.
I hope this post will help you guys to experience a smoother transaction then I had when the time comes for you to sell your blog.
Come look me up if you’ve read enough about making money online today. 😈