Yes, forums are bought and sold all the time. Sometimes for small amounts of money, maybe a few hundred dollars, sometimes for many thousands of dollars.
Sometimes its just easier to buy a good forum then to start one from scratch. Or maybe you decide you dont want to own a particular forum anymore. Maybe you just need some money.
One good article to read was written by Floris, a member of the vBulletin Team. This article covers the things to consider when buying a vBulletin license:
Buying a vBulletin License: Be smart! Avoid piracy, fraud and fake sales!
But there are many other considerations when buying any website or forum. Here are a few tips to consider before buying an established forum.
Per vBulletin Policy, you cannot buy or sell a vBulletin license that is less then 3 months old.
Points to consider when buying an established forum
- How long has the forum been around?
- How many members does the forum have?
- How many posts/threads does the forum have?
- Are the posts in the ‘meat’ of the forums or in the ‘fluff’?
- How many posts per day does the forum get?
- Is the vBulletin License owned or leased?
What your looking for is a stable, growing forum, where the posting is occurring in the purposeful areas of the site. What I mean by that is this. If the main forum topic is ‘Web Hosting’, but most of the thread occur in the “General Chat” or “Politics” forums, then you have to wonder if the current members are really into the forum topic. The more posts in the ‘meat’ forums, the better value it is.
You also should place a higher value on a forum that is getting busier, not slower.
Basically what im describing is a strong and growing community that should continue to grow.
Other factors to consider as well.
What is the website’s income?
Generally, a good valuation starting point when buying a website is to pay about 12 months worth of income. So if the website makes $100 a month then you would start at $1200.00
What advertising is the website already committed to?
Some websites sell banner ads on an annual or semi annual basis. If a banner ad was sold for a one year term and has 9 months remaining, your stuck with that ad for the next 9 months.