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sold website - new owner wants email history

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by steviemac, Feb 9, 2018.

  1. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64
    I'd love to know others opinions on this.

    I recently sold a website. The new owner has his lawyer involved in the sale. Now I have sold (and bought) many websites over the last 18 years, but I encountered a new issue in this one.

    The new owner (and probably more specifically his lawyer) have asked me to send the email history in the website business, ie all the emails I have exchanged over the last couple of years (from the domain email of course).

    I was surprised at this as I've never been asked to send any email history of any site I have ever sold.

    The lawyers assertion is that there could be important agreements contained in amongst the emails.

    I have explained any agreements ( and there are very few in legal terms) have been contained amongst other documents I have sent them .

    I don't want to get too bogged down in the nitty gritty of this, but has anyone who has sold a business, especially a website, ever been asked to hand over their email history pertaining to that business? It's a completely new one to me, and I'm not too happy about this....someone reading all my email history for several years .
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #1
  2. kulture

    kulture UKBF Legend Staff Member

    7,636 2,080
    Where in the sale agreement does it say you have to transfer these e-mails? I would counter with an offer that you will archive the correspondence and if there is a legal query where the individual correspondence is required you will release the relevant e-mails at that time. I would also repeat that you have passed across all the legal agreements.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
    #2
  3. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64

    I had initailly thought of something like that,and it's a very good idea...thanks
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #3
  4. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,206 8,620
    Email =/= website

    They are totally different components. All they have got is the domain name transferred and a copy of the website code/content. The copyright remains with you (unless explicitly passed across). They have not brought the email account or your support history with the hosting company or even your cPanel. All thay have is the domain name and a copy of the website.

    Any agreements you had are null and void after the sale.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #4
  5. MikeJ

    MikeJ UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,468 1,544
    Brought =/= bought.

    Two different words.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: MikeJ Member since: Jan 15, 2008
    #5
  6. KAC

    KAC UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    932 205
    Just to clarify - How does the sale/purchase agreement describe what is being sold?
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: KAC Member since: May 7, 2017
    #6
  7. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    5,985 1,656
    They might have done, it all depends on the sale & purchase agreement. If the purchase was viewed as the purchase of a business as going concern, then it could be totally reasonable to have all historic business data in the agreement.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
    #7
  8. SamLH

    SamLH UKBF Regular Free Member

    166 17
    If he just bought the website/domain then that doesn't cover email.

    If he bought the whole business then it depends whats in the terms.

    And for your question, I would always ask for history of emails, its like social media profiles, advertising campaigns, analytics for everything.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: SamLH Member since: Jun 3, 2016
    #8
  9. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64
    That's interesting, you would seriously ask for someone's entire email history during the time they ran that business?

    They may contain emails out to friends, to your wife, personal
    stuff. I do not see emails as similar to social media contacts etc, at all. That's completely different in my view. Social media is for posting stuff you are happy for the world to see, not so with emails
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #9
  10. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64
    'email accounts' was mentioned in the sales agreement, however I presumed it meant ongoing use of the email accounts.

    I never imagined it meant the new owner wanted access to all the emails I had ever exchanged in the past. I've never heard of that practice at all in my life - buying a business and then saying ,now give me all your emails , I want to read all your personal emails for the last 2 or 3 years !
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #10
  11. DontAsk

    DontAsk UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    924 119
    Tell he can have the "account" but it's empty.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: DontAsk Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #11
  12. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    29,206 8,620
    An email account is just something you create as part of the hosting.

    If the contract said the business email history was to be transferred then that’s different.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #12
  13. kulture

    kulture UKBF Legend Staff Member

    7,636 2,080
    Who is to say how much e-mail history you kept? Unless it is detailed in documents and in the agreements then what is to stop you saying that you never kept e-mails after the order/service was complete. I am not suggesting that you actually say this, but I cannot see how they can demand what was never itemised.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: kulture Member since: Aug 11, 2007
    #13
  14. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64
    thanks for all your replies guys, its much appreciated., Gives me some useful advice and opinions!
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #14
  15. steviemac

    steviemac UKBF Regular Full Member

    427 64
    good point :)
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: steviemac Member since: Nov 20, 2007
    #15
  16. sirearl

    sirearl UKBF Legend Free Member

    29,798 6,640
    How did the world manage without you.;):)
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: sirearl Member since: Apr 23, 2007
    #16
  17. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    5,985 1,656
    Raises a good point. Delete all your un needed email history before you sell a business / website. Avoids a problem.

    Of course if they don't actually know what is in the email history or put conditions about deleting, nothing stopping you deleting stuff now.

    Personally, I have always segregated my business email from personal email by running separately, probably harks back to my corporate career and early email policies, where you could get sacked for using emails for personal purposes.
     
    Posted: Feb 9, 2018 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011
    #17
  18. pelparc

    pelparc UKBF Regular Free Member

    242 27
    Unless it's in the sale agreement then why have they stopped at emails? Why not ask for letters, texts, phone calls etc. I can't see the difference between one form of business communication and another.
     
    Posted: Feb 10, 2018 By: pelparc Member since: Apr 10, 2017
    #18
  19. DontAsk

    DontAsk UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    924 119
    I download to local folders, only leaving mail on the server until it's been handled, so the "account" is always almost empty.

    That's because e-mail is electronic, it's just an easy target.

    I would print some e-mails, give them the (full) bin from your shredder and invite them to reconstruct whatever they want.
     
    Posted: Feb 13, 2018 By: DontAsk Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #19
  20. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    9,639 1,939
    For most people in business they keep company emails in a separate folder or domain email so ten min job to copy and send over

    The email history can help in dealing with some customers and it seems petty to make a fuss over your buyer requesting this information, maybe you have something to hide

    I would have thought you would be more friendly in helping someone who is buying your site
     
    Posted: Feb 13, 2018 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #20