Website leasing is one of those ideas like mobile gaming or video calling before smartphones and faster broadband came along. It’s been possible for ages, but has failed to take off without certain key elements all coming together at the same time.
The idea is simple; instead of selling your site, you (the lessor) agree to lease the site to an end user (the lessee) for a pre-agreed monthly or yearly amount. The lessee retains full ownership of any data exchanged in this time – most commonly leads, or email signups for example, but sometimes product sales too. At the end of the agreement, the site is still yours and you can choose to extend the lease, sell the site or continue to operate it for yourself.
The benefits to the lessee are obvious – leads or customer acquisition at ‘wholesale prices’ less than their current PPC costs, the tax benefit of capital allowances (UK companies at least), reduced risk of traffic loss versus owning the site and no responsibility for SEO and marketing.
To you as the seller / lessor you have the overhead and risk of operating the site, but this is usually more than offset from the benefit of being paid for the asset on a monthly basis and still owning it at the end of the term, hopefully with some capital appreciation to boot.