How I Left $8k On the Table When Selling

So, it’s time to swallow my pride a bit and own up to a HUGE mistake I made on a flip that cost me at least $8,000 — maybe a lot more. Believe me, it sucks knowing I left a bunch of money on the table, and I take no pleasure in sharing this story, but if it helps somebody out, it’s worth it.

Back when I sold, a lot of people were interested in the auction. Let’s be honest, there’s a lot of crap sold on Flippa, so when a PR4 site with a nice design and good content, built on a premium brandable domain comes up for sale, people take notice.

The site wasn’t earning much — enough to cover any content I paid for (which was fairly minimal, since I was getting a bunch of content for free). In fact, the numbers were so mediocre that I listed the site with no revenue claimed.

Despite that fact, the auction was going great — I had lots of bidders and even more people watching the auction. During the last two days, the private messages started pouring in with higher frequency.

One message was from a guy who had been bidding — he was really interested in the site and he wanted to talk to me about it. The auction still had about a day and a half left when we spoke. Bidding on the site was around $4,200 and he offered me $8,000 to end the auction early. I said I’d need at least $10,000 to do the deal and he quickly replied that he’d take it. What I did next was smart.

I told him that I first wanted to contact the existing bidders to let them know that I had an offer on the table to end the auction early. I proceeded to send out the note to the existing bidders, and when I hadn’t heard anything back from them, we closed the deal.

Seems like I did everything right, doesn’t it? Except I screwed up. Within an hour after we closed the deal with a “Buy It Now” price on Flippa, I got a message from a guy who wanted to know what happened to my auction. He was waiting until the last day to place a bid and he was prepared to spend up to $18,000 on the site. I almost threw up all over myself when I read it. No lie.

Worse still — earlier in the week, I had received a message from a guy who hadn’t placed a bid in the auction but told me to contact him before I sold to anyone else. When I sent out the messages to all the bidders, guess who I forgot about? Yep, that guy. A few months later, I found out that he had real deep pockets and probably would have gone above the other guy’s $18k max.

Moral of the story? If you have an auction that’s generating a lot of interest, the “Buy It Now” option could cost you thousands. Also, be VERY diligent in your note keeping. It was my own disorganization that caused me to not email a bidder who was very interested in the site.

Anyway, I hope you can learn from my mistake.

10 Website Selling Mistakes You NEED to Avoid

Some sites with no revenue can sell for 5 figures while others (with a strong revenue history) can’t even get 2x their monthly net earnings.  So what’s the difference?  Why do some sites kill it and others struggle to pull in a solid sales figure?

The answer — website selling mistakes.

The information you provide in your listing, and the way you present that information can have an enormous impact on how much potential buyers trust you… and how much they’re willing to pay for your site.

Here’s a list of some of the major mistakes I’ve observed in some recent listings on Flippa that have caused sites to sell for way below their real value, or not sell at all because they stayed below reserve. Continue reading “10 Website Selling Mistakes You NEED to Avoid”

Flippa Introduces Confidential Listings

Two weeks ago, I posted about the importance of not devaluing a site in an undiscovered niche by avoiding marketplaces like Flippa.  There are a ton of people who visit these sites to mine niches, not to buy websites.  The danger for you, as a seller, is that you can end up introducing more competition into your marketplace — especially bad news if you can’t get a good offer for the site you’re selling.

Maybe the folks at Flippa were listening because today they announced a new way to sell websites online via their marketplace: confidential listings.

As of today, a website seller can choose to make their new listing confidential. This will result in the URL being hidden from buyers until the seller has approved the buyer’s signed NDA.

The announcement further details the information that will be hidden until a signed NDA is produced from the potential buyer and approved by the seller:

This will hide the URL and other site-revealing information such as the WHOIS, Ranking Keywords, Hosting and Wayback Machine details from everyone apart from the seller and approved buyers.

A New Revenue Stream for Flippa

Flippa is smartly offering this feature as a premium option, which has a charge of $100.  This fee ensures that the feature won’t be overused and means that the confidential listing feed will likely be of increased quality.

It’s a good business move for Flippa in that it adds a new revenue stream, but it also appeals to a class of sellers who previously feared using the marketplace.  I, for one, am pretty excited to see this put into action.

Sadly, enforcement of the NDAs falls entirely upon the seller, and with the ability to use private registration on domain names, there’s still serious potential for abuse in the way of niche mining.

What are your thoughts on this — is it a good move for Flippa?  Is $100 to high of a price for this feature?

When Less is More — Auctioning a Site in an Undiscovered Niche

In most cases, when you’re selling a website, you want to include a lot of data. Flippa’s sales statistics have already proven that more attachments = more $ for the seller, but there are some specific instances where it’s wise to hold back on some of this data, or to consider a completely different sales platform than Flippa and other large marketplaces.

If You Found a Gold Mine, You Wouldn’t Publish a Map to It

Frequently, when we sell websites, we’re really selling execution — good unique content, proper implementation of an SEO and link-building campaign, and conversion optimization.  Sites that get traffic and turn it into money.

For most of these sites, the market is well-known.  There’s no intellectual advantage owned by the site — it’s not in a brand new, untapped market.  It’s just been executed better than most of its competitors.

Sometimes, however, you find a keyword that’s basically untargeted organically.  It’s a profitable keyword (has advertiser competition if you’re an AdSense builder, or is a buying term in e-commerce sites), but you’re the only one who really knows it.  How you handle that situation is completely different from “regular” websites. Continue reading “When Less is More — Auctioning a Site in an Undiscovered Niche”

Tips for Maximizing Your Sales Price: Gather the Right Details

I have looked at thousands upon thousands of websites that owners want to sell. If you can think of it, I have likely seen it. As an internet business broker, evaluating thousands of websites, preparing them for sale, and matching them up with qualified buyers simply comes with the territory. When we run an advertisement to bring in new listings, we can easily net 700+ websites that are requesting our professional valuations. As I said, I have looked at thousands of websites.

After looking at all this data and after helping over 200 website owners sell their online businesses, one simple truth seems to be clear: most website owners have no idea what they need to do to maximize their sales price. Continue reading “Tips for Maximizing Your Sales Price: Gather the Right Details”

Knee-deep in Stats: Past Sales Teach You How to Sell Your Website

I recently gained access to Flippa’s archive of sales data (thanks a million to the guys at Flippa), and I’ve been having a blast pouring through the stats. I’m going to share what I learn in a regular segment called “Knee-deep in Stats,” where we’ll look at the trends and historic data that reveal how to get top-dollar for our website sales.

For the love of God, Put Analytics on Your Website!

Travis wrote a post some time ago entitled, “Hey Knuckle Dragger, Install Google Analytics Before You Sell Your Website!” so it’s not like this assertion is breaking new ground, but I think you’ll be surprised by the data.

I took a look at all sites sold since January 1 of this year with a claimed monthly net profit of at least $25 and at least 100 unique visitors per month (to weed out the startup sites that would otherwise skew the data). Here’s what I found. Continue reading “Knee-deep in Stats: Past Sales Teach You How to Sell Your Website”

My Watchlist: Some Interesting Auctions on Flippa

This is a guest post by James Frost who has over four years experience flipping websites. Among the many web properties he owns is Financial Services Review, a leading finance article directory. If you have a finance-related site to promote, consider submitting a unique article to Financial Services Review.

As an active website flipper, I constantly troll the auction listings on Flippa not just to find something to buy, but also to educate myself about different market niches. Studying the Flippa listings is like being able to look under the hood of a business and see how it all works – without even placing a bid!

Amidst the endless worthless auctions of autoblogs and zero revenue websites, there are always a few listings that I find interesting. Not necessarily because I think they are a great buy, but because they are different in some way. Here are a few auctions currently going on that you may want to check out: Continue reading “My Watchlist: Some Interesting Auctions on Flippa”

The Two Types of Websites That Sell The Best On Flippa Are…

I was wondering what types of websites sell the best on Flippa so I thought I would do a little research and find out. I had a pretty good idea which ones were selling well but I wanted some data to back up my hunch. It turns out I was right on the money.

According to Flippa’s clearance rate data going back to April 18th of this year, autoblogs and AdSense sites outsold all other types of websites. For those of you not familiar with what the clearance rate is, it is simply the percentage of sites sold. In the spring, these two types of websites had clearance rates of 75% and 73% respectively – well over Flippa’s overall average clearance rate of 56% at the time. Take a look at the graph: Continue reading “The Two Types of Websites That Sell The Best On Flippa Are…”

The First Bite Is With The Eye

The first bite is with the eyeThis is a guest post from Kevin Muldoon of WordPress Mods.

If you have kept an eye on website flipping over the last several years you will have noticed one thing – looks are important. Sites with good designs tend to sell for much more than those which use plain generic templates.

As a seller, it’s your job to make sure your site has a high quality professional design. In many respects, selling websites is no different to selling cars or houses i.e. you need to make your product ‘buyable’. It can sometimes make the difference between selling the site and not selling the site. Continue reading “The First Bite Is With The Eye”

What The Domaining Diva Has To Say About Website Flipping

Domaining DivaIt’s been a while since I’ve done an interview so I’m glad I finally have one to post! This interview was with one of the “original” website flippers. She was flipping websites before website flipping was cool. She has been flipping sites going back to the Sitepoint days!

Her name is Suzanne Bucciarel and no, that picture is not of her. You’ll learn more about that picture in a minute. I learned about Suzanne from the Warrior Forum. Whenever there is a question about buying and selling websites on the forum, you’ll always see Suzanne with a helpful reply. She has a lot of experience with website flipping.

She continues to flip websites today but her focus now is on selling established websites (i.e. websites that have traffic and revenue) and creating high-quality, niche blog packages that she sells on her website that she started over a year ago, Here is the interview I had with her just a few days ago… Continue reading “What The Domaining Diva Has To Say About Website Flipping”