Editor’s note: We’re a startup in the early days of building, well, everything. Our approach to reporting, as well as this page that publicly shares that approach, will continue to evolve over time.
Our approach to storytelling and data collection is rooted in journalistic ethics. We value accuracy and lean on experts for information.
For some deals we cover, details are private and confidential, and we might not have every data point. Yet we’ve found that through a combination of original reporting — going directly to the source, typically the founder or seller — and thoughtful aggregation of information across the web, we can paint a picture of the company and the deal that’s insightful.
When we combine all of these stories, we form a whole that’s worth pursuing: a new narrative around acquisitions of online businesses that sell for 6, 7 and 8 figures.
We typically tell stories of acquisitions from the seller’s perspective. The seller is often, but not always, the founder of the company.
Our reason for doing this is simple: it’s more helpful to entrepreneurs, the demographic we serve.
Focusing on the seller’s experience, not just at the point of sale but through the journey of building their company, offers lessons and insights for other entrepreneurs building companies.
We’re also creating resources that share the buyer’s perspective so founders can learn how to make their company attractive for an acquisition. And when we have a buyer’s perspective for a deal, we’re happy to add that context. But our main collection point for information on each deal is the seller.
For each deal we cover, we ask the seller to share what they can, confirming details and offering color that helps us put metrics into context. Some founders are excited to talk with us, while others aren’t keen to discuss their acquisition, sometimes because they have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) in place.
While it’s helpful for other entrepreneurs to learn as many details as possible about each deal, we understand most sellers are careful about what they divulge, and we respect that thoughtfulness. (Remember, our founder has gone through the acquisition process too, and understands first-hand how tricky these conversations can be.)
We encourage sellers to share whatever they’re comfortable with. We ask lots of questions to get at the heart of the value you’ve created, and we do our best to offer options.
For example, while we always prefer to get at the exact sale price for a company, a seller might only feel comfortable giving a ballpark range, and that’s OK. Or maybe, rather than sharing terms of the deal, the seller can offer other metrics of the company at sale, such as number of paying customers, email subscribers and/or revenue.
Sometimes sellers aren’t willing to talk with us even though information on their sale is already publicly available. In those cases, we go ahead with the story using publicly available information, adding a note that the seller declined to comment.
We consider our stories — and our database of acquisitions — to be ever-evolving.
In the old days of journalism, when circumstances required correcting, clarifying or adding information to a story that had already gone to print, the only solution was to run a correction in a later edition.
Now we can — and do — make updates online as we learn about them. If we publish a story that you have more information about, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. It’s never too late for us to add more context or data or a photo.
Accuracy is important to us. We know you trust us to share accurate information, and we don’t take that trust lightly.
Our team of experienced reporters and editors do everything in our power to share data, facts and stories that are accurate.
We’re also human, and we make mistakes. We believe in owning mistakes, not burying them.
When we need to correct inaccurate information, we do so within the story itself, and add a note about the correction at the bottom of that story.
Sometimes we have conflicting information about an acquisition.
For example, the seller’s version might not jive with the buyer’s version, or two co-founders might share a different version of events.
Whenever possible, we use third-party sources to corroborate information. However, since we’re tracking sales of private companies, sometimes the only record of truth lies with the buyer and/or seller. Sometimes it’s impossible to verify beyond those sources.
When there are discrepancies we can’t corroborate with a third-party source, we include both perspectives within the story and note the discrepancies. We provide all the information to the reader so you can make your own decision.
Our team is made up of experienced business reporters and editors, as well as researchers, designers and producers.
Want to read more about our team? About They Got Acquired.
Have information you’d like to see us add to a story?
Or perhaps you’re a seller who didn’t comment ahead of our publication date but would like to do so afterward?
We’re always keen to hear from you. Here’s how to contact us.