The fansite can be an attractive investment, afterall, getting paid to run a website based around one of your favourite rock bands, tv shows, celebrities etc sounds like a dream world.
However, the reality is often quite different, and if you are not careful, you could be left heavily out of pocket.
So let’s get straight to the single biggest danger when buying a fansite:
Today’s news could be tomorrow’s chip wrappers.
Or in plain English, that huge boyband that everyone is talking about, may not even be together in 2 years time.
This means that fansites can be a ticking time-bomb investment… you are not only taking a gamble on the website itself, buy you are taking a gamble on the continued fame/popularity of the tv show, or celebrity in question.
Which leads us to the second major issue when buying fansites…
The Expiry Date
Unlike most other sites, fansites have an invisible expiry date, after this point the traffic will drop to a trickle, and so will the value of the site.
Even huge tv shows like LOST carry an expiry date, afterall, there is going to only be 2 more seasons, so you have a max of three years to make your money and get out… but how can you sell the site when there are no more seasons left?
The result is that you are left with a nostalgia website, and trust me, there is not much money in those. I would much rather have a website on a hot-topic.
Owning a fansite can bring a whole host of legal issues… infact, it can be a real minefield.
For a start, today’s celebrities trademark their name, they also have copyright over all logos, images, art work, lyrics and videos. So simply by having the celebs name in your URL, you could be in legal trouble.
If you are lucky, the management team will realise that you are promoting their artist, and they will leave it at that, at worst, you will be taken to court for damages and your site will be shutdown.
Fansites can be a great way to make money from a subject you are passionate about, but you must factor in the above when valuing a potential investment, and always look for the REAL reason the site is being sold.