You will find ’em in many online marketplaces and forums – in Flippa, DigitalPoint Forums, etc. Screenshots are still considered as legitimate proofs of income. However, be sure to consider them as some of the proofs you need in your due diligence – don’t consider them to be the most important proofs of a website legitimacy.
Reason #1: Screenshots are easily photoshopped
You should know how they do it – smart, scammy people knows how to edit a screenshot in such a way that it’s undetectable. Some just do it poorly – real examples of photoshop fails. Some just do it in an outstanding manner, tricking even the most trained eyes.
And yes, it’s easy to create fake Paypal and AdSense screenshots. Be warned!
You need to be careful when evaluating screenshots. I’m not saying that all screenshots are fake- that’s ridiculous. There are still many honest website owners out there. However, in doing your due diligence in buying a website, you should not trust anybody.
Reason #2: Screenshots are snapshots – you need to think creatively beyond what you see
I encountered some website listings that use (should be) real screenshots. The buyer paid thousands of dollar only to find that the he has been scammed real bad. The culprit?
The screenshot is on earning claims made via ClickBank. The problem is, the screenshot is on his whole account, amounting thousands of dollars. The buyer has been tricked into believing that the thousands of dollars made by that particular website. He’s been punk’d!
Reason #3: What you see in income claim screenshots won’t guarantee you a thing
Especially Google AdSense and Paypal income screenshots, I don’t trust a thing in them; 100% of the site I bought in the past with AdSense screenshots makes way, way much less than what was claimed in the screenshots. Maybe Google implements double-pricing standard for account owners from different countries, but whatever – Google can do so, but proofs are proofs – they SHOULD show similar values in some way.
A couple of sites I bought in the past claimed to be making $50-60/month off AdSense. After the purchase, I found out that one is making $2-3/month and the other is making $15-20/month on relatively the same website traffic – and it’s a trend on the coming months, not a hiccup.
Here’s a recap plus some tips…
Screenshots are great for your consideration, but don’t trust your website buying decision on the screenshots.
It’s better to ask for access on “viewing-only” account (you can do so with Google Analytics – you can grant others an access to view the traffic stats,) grant remote access to your comput or any other assurance methods with regard to the site owners’ claims.
Fake income screenshots suck!