Due Diligence 101 for Website Buyers: Tread Carefully With Trademark Domains

A while back there was an Internet Marketer who released a very popular ebook that extolled the virtues of building websites with product names in the domain. For example, if you were promoting the Amazon Kindle his whole deal was that you would register a domain with “Amazon Kindle” in it – say AmazonKindleToday.com. There were many people who jumped on this bandwagon but I never did because I could see legal troubles a mile away. I had never bought or  built a website with a product or company name in the domain and I never would – so I thought.

How I Got Screwed Buying a Website With a Trademark In The Domain

In November 2009 I found myself buying a website with a product name in the domain. I knew the risks going in and even though my gut was telling me to walk away, I couldn’t resist. The deal was just too tempting. This particular website was promoting a very popular fitness program and ranked very well in the search engines for the product’s name. It was also generating around $400 net profit every month in auto pilot. The icing on the cake was the seller was only asking $1,200 for it. Even though I had a feeling this website was trouble and I would likely get an email from a lawyer sooner or later, my thinking was I could milk it for a few months to recoup my investment and then everything after that would be pure profit. Surely I could get away with it for at least a few months, I convinced myself.

Wouldn’t you know it one week after I sent the seller the money I got a cease and desist from the company’s lawyer! I was lucky because the lawyer was actually a pretty nice guy. After I told him that I just purchased the website and stood to lose a lot of money, he was willing to let me keep the site up for a few weeks to recoup some of my losses. How nice of him, right? Actually, it was because it allowed me to get at least $400 back from my losses.

Within a month I went from buying what was going to be an auto pilot cash machine to having nothing and losing $800 after having to surrender it due to trademark laws. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say, laws are in place that make it very easy for a company to take a domain from you if you are using their trademark. Of course if you have money to burn and you’re stubborn, you could put up a legal battle but is any domain at this level worth the trouble -especially when there is almost an 100% chance you’ll lose it anyway?

You’re probably thinking the seller knew this website was a legal liability and was selling it for that very reason except you would be wrong. Before I agreed to buy the website I asked him if there were any legal issues I should be concerned about and he said no. I believed him because I had known the seller for a while through a private forum we were both active members in. But as Reagan always said, trust but verify, so I asked the lawyer if he or anyone else from his company had pursued this domain before. He said no. The company was just beginning their effort to pursue people using domains with their trademark in them. I was actually one of the first persons they had busted – lucky me:)

Lessons Learned: Due Diligence 101

1. Get Permission In Writing To Use A Trademark In Your Domain
It was an expensive lesson that could have – no, should have been avoided. I knew better and my gut instinct was right all along. If you are considering buying a website with a trademark in the domain do your due diligence. Contact the company who owns the trademark and get their permission in writing that you can use their trademark in your domain before you buy anything. Some companies are actually o.k. with it but 95% are not so don’t be surprised if you get the no-go.

2. Listen To Your Gut!
Another lesson learned is you should listen to your gut. Chances are if something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. There are plenty of deals out there to be had. There’s no sense wasting your time, money, and effort if you don’t feel 100% confident in the website you are buying. As another Reagan once said, Just Say No!

Do You Have Any Due Diligence Tips To Share?
Please Share Them In The Comments Below

Website Flipping Market Snapshot: 2-14-10


The data for the Most Actives, Top Sellers, Top Selling Niches, and Most Active Site Flippers is based on the market activity at Flippa.com. As the largest and most popular marketplace for site flippers right now, the market activity there provides valuable insight on what people are buying and selling.

MOST ACTIVES

iPhoneToolBox.com – 49 Bids

Websites focused on the iPhone continue to be widely popular. This auction launched with a starting bid of $10,000 and received 49 bids – resulting in a sale of $39,500! This was a content-rich site that was monetized primarily with advertising – $750/month alone in banner advertising. The website was averaging 150,000 unique visitors per month with net revenues around $1,750 per month.

Given the fact that Apple recently won a lawsuit where they took 16 domains from a guy who owned iPhone-related domains, I’m not so sure I would feel comfortable paying close to $40,000 for a domain with an Apple trademark in the domain, but based on all the bidding on this auction, I’m in the minority with my concerns. See auction here.

www.BreastMassages.com – 44 Bids

Well the name of the domain alone certainly caught my attention only because I’m a slightly immature male – and apparently it caught the attention of a lot of other people as well with over 1,700 auction views and 44 bids. Looking closer at the auction, however, what you were mainly getting was a three year old two-word domain that was averaging around 8,000 unique visitors per month. The website was only earning roughly $50 in monthly net revenues. The website itself was just a squeeze page. It sold for $810. See auction here.

GoOnTo.com – 40 Bids

This social network geared for professionals started with a bid of $500 and ultimately generated 40 bids and sold for $3,700. This is another website where the buyer was buying purely on “potential” as the website wasn’t generating any revenue and was only a year old. It was averaging around 6,000 unique monthly visitors. See auction here.

TOP SELLERS

www.MyTopFans.net – $50,000

This was an interesting sale in that it wasn’t your typical website or domain for sale. This was a popular Facebook application with over 400,000 fans. The application was generating no less than $2,000 per month with the daily income in February averaging around $370. The revenue was generated exclusively via Google AdSense. See auction here.

iPhoneToolBox.com – $39,500

As the most active auction last week, it’s not a surprise that it would also end up in the top three sellers for last week as well. I’ve already covered the gist of this auction and I’m still not sure I would pay that much for a domain with a trademark in it. Would you? See auction here.

TopTorrents.org – $13,000

This torrent site was established over four years ago and was averaging around $1,400 per month in net revenues and 250,000 monthly unique visitors. I’ll be honest here, I don’t know much about torrent sites so I can’t really comment on them other than to say most torrent sites attract legal trouble given the nature on how they work (peer to peer file sharing). In this auction, however, the seller was explicit in stating that his site was completely legal and hasn’t had a legal issue since it was established in 2005. See auction here.

TOP SELLING NICHES

The Health (Diet) and Internet Marketing (Affiliate Marketing) niches continue to be the most popular from week-to-week. A new entrant last week was the Gadgets niche. These are the niches you should be concentrating on if you’re a regular website flipper.

MOST ACTIVE SITE FLIPPERS

These are folks that are obviously selling on a regular basis. And if they’re doing this on a regular basis, then they must be doing well or they wouldn’t bother. You should check out their profiles and see what they’re doing. As a buyer you may find a site that interests you and as a seller, you can see what type of site flipping business they operate to give you some ideas;)

*You can view the profiles for these sellers by clicking on their names but you need to be logged into your Flippa account to view them.
5RDesign – had 5 sites for sale
duncanmae – had 5 sites for sale
MxMedia – had 4 sites for sale

GLANCING AROUND OTHER MARKETPLACES

Warrior Forum

I think it’s becoming official, the Warrior Forum is your go-to-place for website packages for under $50. Most of the websites for sale here continue to be turnkey/template websites that come complete with keyword research, an ebook that you can sell, and other extras. Here is an example of one of these packages. The seller of that particular package is a very active website flipper and is selling a lot of her website packages.

Digital Point Forum

The bulk of the websites for sale continue to be under $150 although the clone script site in this auction sold for $950 in one day.

WebsiteBroker.com

This marketplace isn’t terribly active. There were only about 20 new listings in the past week. What gets listed here continues to be a mixed bag of interesting listings. You’ll find everything here from a $150 listing like this one to a $2 million listing like this one!

BuySellWebsite.com

This marketplace is similar to WebsiteBroker.com in that there isn’t a lot of activity and what gets listed can be interesting. Take this auction, for example, where a website is being sold that sells infrared saunas. According to the listing, it generated over $120,000 net profits in 2009. The owner is asking $120,000 for it.

Were You Flipping Websites Last Week?
Share Your Experiences In The Comments Below!

What Is Website Flipping Anyway?

What is website flipping, you ask, well – first and foremost it is a business. It’s imperative you have that mindset if you want to achieve any level of success flipping websites. Whether you do this part-time or full-time you need to approach it as a business if you want to make real money doing it.

The best part is it’s a fun business with unlimited income potential. Some of the professional site flippers are making six-figure incomes! Your earning potential is limited only by the time and effort you put into it. You may only be able to flip websites on a part-time basis but even then it’s possible to make enough money to pay for that monthly car payment or mortgage.

What Is Website Flipping?

If you are familiar with real estate investing, you know that flipping properties is the process of buying distressed properties, fixing them, and then reselling them for profit. When you flip websites, the process is exactly the same except you’re dealing with virtual real estate – websites and the domain the website is built on. A distressed property is simply a property that has the potential to be worth more by adding value to it.

This is where the business really gets fun – the fixing up part;) The value you add to websites can be all sorts of things. You may increase revenues by creating additional sources of revenue or improving conversions. You may add value by increasing traffic – be it paid or organic. You might build a mailing list or do a total redesign. If you’re real ambitious it might be all of the above and many other possibilities! The point is, you’re making the site more valuable so that you can eventually sell it for more than what you paid for it.

It’s important to note that flipping websites isn’t always about buying existing sites. In many cases it isn’t. Website flipping can also be the process of building sites from scratch and increasing their value over time so that you can sell them for profit. This is what I do primarily. I build and hold and I only sell after a website has generated consistent revenue for a period of time.

What Are The Benefits of Flipping Websites?

Low Barriers to Entry. I finally get to put my worthless Marketing degree I got at Augsburg College to use by talking barriers of entry;) Fun. Fun. I don’t mean to get all technical on you so let’s cut to the chase. Low barriers to entry simply means it’s a relative easy business to get into. The money required to get started is minimal (around $100 if you build from scratch and do everything yourself) and you can literally have a site up and running within a few hours!

Current & Long-Term Income Streams. Unlike real estate flipping and other buy and hold investing opportunities (i.e stock market) where you usually only make your money when you sell, flipping websites it totally different. When you flip websites you can make money month after month while you own the site (and this alone can be in the thousands) and you can make a killing when you sell the site! This is the primary benefit that got me into site flipping because it complimented my primary business perfectly, which was affiliate marketing. I could enjoy the monthly income plus make a lot of money when it was time to sell.

O.K. – I Know What Is Website Flipping But Isn’t It Just A Fad?

Absolutely not! This business is stronger than it has ever been and continues to get stronger everyday for a few different reasons. First, everyone seems to hurting right now given the current state of the economy yet many online businesses continue to do well. Just about any business model that involves making money online is going strong. No matter how difficult times get, people will always be using the Internet for information and will look to save money by buying products and services online.

Second, as it becomes increasingly difficult to make a living buying and selling domains, website flipping is the next best way to buy and sell virtual properties for profit. Back in the day you could make a great living flipping domains. You still can today but it takes a lot more work and a lot more money. You can flip websites with a lot less money and as I already mentioned, you can enjoy current and long-term income streams.

Finally, everyone from individuals to businesses are looking to get online! If you know how to build valuable websites and you know how to sell them, you’re going to be successful because the demand is only getting greater and greater everyday.

I hope I’ve answered the question, What Is Website Flipping, and that it interests you! Browse around this website to learn how to do it the right way so you can make good money doing it!

3 Keys To Successful Website Flipping: Relationships, Community, & Networks

Folks, I’m not going to lie to you here, but this is one looooong interview (my first two-part interview) but a must read for any website flipper! This is an interview I had with JD Carr, an experienced and successful site flipper who provides some incredible insight into what it takes to be successful. He stresses that the three keys to success are relationships, community, and networks.
In this interview you’ll learn how JD applies these to his businesses and how you can too. You’ll see the three keys in action with his newly launched website flipping community, DigitalFlipster.com, and JustClickAuctions.com, a marketplace for website buyers and sellers.

Tell me a little bit about yourself – what your background is, how long you’ve been an Internet Marketer and what specific areas of Internet Marketing you specialize in.

Well first off let me thank you Travis for taking the time to help us get our message out. I love what you’re doing with FlipWebsites.com because it’s so important to get the right message about our evolving industry out there. To answer your question, I’ve been involved in ecommerce and web development since the early days of the Internet. My first real online company was MDSI which was a portable and online electronic medical record system. Back in 1998, SanDisk created one of the first mobile medical record carrier devices called the P-Tag. They originally developed it for the Army but what we did as MDSI was build an online medical record management system around the P-Tag for commercial use. This was the early days of electronic medical records (EMR) so we played a small part in that evolution. We raised some money, did a field trial and sold the company. That was one of my first experiences dealing with large data warehousing projects, online development, and obviously the sell of a company I had created.

I really got into web development by building websites for my own ventures after MDSI. I learned that I really enjoy creating companies and selling them off and I especially love online companies. In the early days of the Internet, we had BBS and forums on sites like AOL. Back then it was primarily geeks like myself on them but we had a real sense of community. As the Internet evolved, we lost that for a while but social networking has really brought the community aspect to the forefront and so naturally I started figuring out ways to combine web development, selling, and social networking into a business model. That’s primarily what my company does today and how we came about.

I believe there are two types of site flippers – short-term flippers and long-term flippers. A short-term flipper is someone who buys (or builds) websites with the sole intent of adding value to them so they can quickly sell them for a profit. A long-term flipper is someone who buys (or builds) and HOLDS the property for a while (a year or more) and then down the road sells it. What camp do you fall in?

I agree with you. I know some that are short-term flippers and others that are definitely taking a long-term approach. Until recently I probably fell into the short-term category. I think either approach works well but my preference at this point is the long-term one because frankly there’s more money in it. Short-term flipping is exciting though and definitely a great way to make some fast cash.

How many sites have you sold in the past year?

Over the past year I’ve primarily been working with a company I started in September 2008. It was a niche network and online training school that I just sold a couple of weeks ago. So for the past year or so I’ve been focused on that as well as launching another niche company using the same business model. I have flipped a few blogs/websites though during that time. I maybe did 10 last year and have done 4 this year already. Certainly my focus however is on the longer-term projects as I mentioned earlier.

Can I ask you what general price ranges your websites have sold for?

On blogs and smaller websites I typically try to sell in the $250 – $1,500 range. I always focus on building traffic, readership, and some decent stats before I’ll even attempt to sell it. I’m a firm believer that if you build value in your sites, folks will pay for that value. Now on larger projects such as the one I just sold, the sale included a 5,000 member network and an online training school for that specific niche. I basically worked on the project for a year and the site along with the network netted just over $60,000.00. I could have probably held it a little while longer and gotten more but I was ready to move onto other projects including the one I’m working on now which I’ll talk about shortly.

Where do you primarily sell your websites – do you sell them publicly on sites like Flippa or do you sell them privately?

Thus far they’ve all been sold privately. Obviously now I’ll begin selling them on our new auction site.

How do you go about selling a site privately?

That’s a great question. I’ve worked hard to develop a large network to tap into when I’m looking for buyers. I think relationships are key to any successful flipper. Anytime I create a new site, network, or whatever, I’m always starting out with the assumption that I’ll be selling it down the road. This includes sites that I acquire to build up for later sell. So, for example if I’m working on a niche site in the pet sector, I make sure that I reach out to and develop relationships with folks in that space that I can approach when I’m ready to sell. Industry insiders always are interested in buying or if not, they usually know who is.

Go To Part 2 Of This Interview

3 Keys To Successful Website Flipping: Relationships, Community, & Networks – Part 2

Now I understand you have a very specific type of business model that you follow with your websites. It has to do with building a community around a product or service and then soft-selling the community various products and services. Can you talk to me about this and why it’s been so effective?

Yeah it’s one that works for us and I think will work for others if they’ll do it. As I mentioned before, community and networks are very important to becoming a successful flipper in my opinion. What I’ve discovered is that if you will take the time to develop relationships within a community, members are far more receptive to buying from you. Think about how many advertising messages are thrown at us on a daily basis. It’s in the thousands for a typical person. We’re constantly being bombarded with others trying to sell to us. I personally am more open to buying from someone I know vs. someone that is just pushing a product or service in my face.

That’s why I think it’s crucial for flippers to develop a large network. With social media today, it’s possible to develop one globally, online, for just about any niche out there. Taking this a step further, what I do in my own business is develop my own social network around a product. For example, right now I have a company called Greenergy2030.com that we launched a couple of months ago. We’ve developed a green business certification program that we sell but we’ve wrapped a social network around it. We have just under 700 member companies already on there and are growing weekly. What the social network allows us to do is to develop a dialog with these companies that join our free network. We’re able to reach out to them on the network forums, via our newsletters, and countless other ways. They get to know me because as they’re active on the network, they see my blog posts and receive regular network updates from me. These members are far more receptive to buying from me as a result.

Plus think about this. If you’ve got a niche network, the members of that network are highly qualified leads. For example, if you build a network focused on horse racing, who do you think is going to take the time to join that network? You got it…people interested in horse racing! More importantly, using invites, they’ll bring all of their horse-racing buddies to your network. Now think of all the ways you can make money off of this type of system. First off you can create products or services that appeal to horse racing fans. Plus, if you build a network up large enough, you can make even more money by selling advertising to others that are trying to sell to horse racing fans. That list of members has a lot of value as well. Obviously this is just one example but this business model can be applied to virtually any niche if executed well.

And with tools like Ning and SocialGo out there, building a social network around products or services has never been easier. The trick is to find a niche that isn’t being served well and building a community that benefits members. If you do that, you can sell your products or services to them because they know and trust you. You still have to offer a great product or service but the selling process is much more effective under this model.

Speaking of this business model, you just launched a site flipping community and a service – a website flipping marketplace. Tell me about it.

Yep you got it. We’ve just launched DigitalFlipster.com this week which is our online network for anyone that is active or interested in becoming a digital media flipper. We provide free training, resources and other tools designed solely to help flippers become more successful. Additionally we’re in the process of rolling out the JustClickAuctions.com marketplace which we’ve recently acquired. We’re working on enhancements of the site that will only further our goal of helping buyers and sellers in their deals. One of my major goals is to become a great information and networking source for all flippers that are serious about succeeding in the industry and that’s what we’re working towards with our new community.

There is no doubt that Flippa is the 800 pound gorilla and is essentially the “eBay” of the site flipping industry right now. How are you going to compete? What’s your USP going to be?

Yes Flippa has done a great job and certainly has been a pioneer in our industry. That being said, I think that a lot of things can be done better. It’s important to remember that this industry is only now really emerging and will only get bigger. There have been techies that have been flipping for years but what is really exciting right now is watching it go a little more mainstream. Because of this progression in our industry, I think buyers and sellers will need options and my goal is to make JustClickAuctions.com one of them.

We’ll compete on price to a point but more importantly, we’re going to really focus on giving our community members the tools they need to really become successful flippers. So we’re really focused on things like education, networking and new technologies to give our auction sellers the very best chance at success. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s not which auction marketplace is the largest. It’s the one that will get you the most money when you’re selling off a site.

JustClickAuctions.com is focused on enabling our sellers to do just that. We have some key technologies that we’ll be announcing in coming weeks and months but I can confidently say that our marketplace will be an extremely competitive one. Additionally, I feel that if our sellers are building better sites to auction, this brings more value to our buyers. As more and more people are seeking to start online companies, it makes sense to consider buying an existing site, community, or application to sell versus building from scratch. The better job sellers do of building great sites, the more successful buyers will be once they’ve bought through our marketplace.

We’re going to be offering our community members free listings for a while so that they can get to know how our system works and our community at DigitalFlipster.com will always be free. So we’re going to be doing things a little differently from sites like Flippa but they’re things that I think will only benefit our industry overall.

I get emails weekly from people who have either launched their own marketplace or are looking to launch their own marketplace. And as a site flipper myself, I’ve seen these marketplaces come and go. For whatever reason, nothing seems to “stick.” How do you plan to be the one that “works” and actually sticks around to be a viable alternative for site flippers?

Yes I have seen this as well. My experience has been that patience is needed when you’re entering a new space such as ours. These sites have come and gone primarily because their owners didn’t put in the time necessary to establish them correctly. I have a lot of patience when it comes to things I really believe in and digital media flipping is one of my passions. This is the first company I’ve launched in over a decade that I don’t intend to sell off within the next few years. So that’s one thing we have going for us.

More importantly however, I think differentiation is the key to any successful business. I don’t care about JustClickAuctions.com being the largest marketplace. What I’m mainly concerned with is creating value for our customers who are digital media sellers and buyers. This means I have to ensure that I have a great product, at a great price. I’m hoping that our sellers will use Digital Flipster to let us know what they need. That’s the real value of a community such as ours because we can collaborate together to make the marketplace, and the industry for that matter, what we all want it to become. If we do all of these things successfully, I believe we’ll be successful in our industry. I don’t care about becoming the Microsoft of our industry. I’ll settle for being the Apple of it however. 🙂

I want to thank JD for his time and for his invaluable insight on what it takes to be a successful website flipper. I hope his new businesses do well and I look forward to them becoming the next Apple of our industry!

Go Back To Part 1 Of This Interview

Creating a Mailing List Can Be a Boon For Website Flippers

Creating a mailing list is a requirement for any website flipper that wants to out hustle their competition and make more money. If you’re not building your own private list of website buyers, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot. Every major player in the website flipping business has their own list of private buyers and so should you.

The Benefits of Creating a Mailing List

The first thing you need to realize is that creating your own list of buyers is a major time saver. Instead of going through the hassle of listing your site on a public marketplace like Flippa, the Warrior Forum, and others, you can just fire off an email to your list that you have a website available for sale! Even if you’re only selling a couple websites per month you’ll save time.

Saving money is another benefit of creating a mailing list by not having to pay various listing fees. If you’re selling several websites, those fees can add up quickly. Not only do you save money selling directly to your own list, you also stand a greater chance of getting your websites sold because you’re not competing with hundreds of other listings.

Another benefit is that the selling process is so much easier and less stressful for both your list of potential buyers and you. Chances are, the buyers on your list have purchased from you before so they know and trust you. For those that haven’t, they’re on your list for a reason. They either like you or they like the quality of websites you sell. Hopefully they’re on your list for both reasons! Either way, your list consists of people that “know” you so there is a higher level of trust and a greater propensity to buy from you and not another guy down the street. As you can see, there are numerous benefits of creating a list so what’s the easiest way to do it?

Creating a Mailing List Is Easy

Creating a mailing list is not hard to do. The first thing you’ll need is a reliable auto responder such as Aweber. In theory you could build and manage a list manually but your time is better spent on your business – which is buying and selling websites. An auto responder will allow you to build and manage your list with very little effort.

The next thing you’ll want is a single web page where buyers can sign up to be on your list. We’re talking a squeeze page, here folks, as we want to give the buyer one option and one option only when they get to the page – to sign up to be on your list! While the page doesn’t need to be terribly fancy, it should be a clean layout and should look “professional.” First impressions are everything here. You want to give buyers the impression you are a professional that they can trust. A sloppy squeeze page with spelling errors won’t convey that message!

This page can be as short or as long as you want it to be. I’ve seen some website flippers who have a page with just a simple message like…

Do you like the types of websites I have for sale? I’m a professional website flipper so selling quality sites is what I do. If you’d like to get the first opportunity to buy any of my websites for sale, join my exclusive buyer’s list. You’ll be notified before anyone else when I have a site for sale.

And then following the message would be the form for your buyers to enter their name and email address. If you want to be more complex than that when creating a mailing list, you can do what “abisko” does. Abisko is the username of a highly successful website flipper on Flippa.com, the largest and most popular marketplace for buying and selling websites. Click here to see the squeeze page he put together. Pretty impressive, ey?

Once you have your squeeze page up and running, then you’ll want to promote the hell out of it! Put it in your email signature and forum signatures, have links to it on Twitter, Facebook, and any other websites that are appropriate. And do what abisko does – promote it on all of your listings. Here is a screen grab I took from one of his latest auctions on Flippa.com. This was the last part of his listing:

Creating a mailing list is a must for anyone looking to stay competitive in the website flipping market so get busy and start building your list!

Do You Know Anything About Creating a Mailing List?
Please Share Your Tips & Strategies In The Comments Below!

Website Flipping Market Snapshot: 2-7-10


The data for the Most Actives, Top Sellers, Top Selling Niches, and Most Active Site Flippers is based on the market activity at Flippa.com. As the largest and most popular marketplace for site flippers right now, the market activity there provides valuable insight on what people are buying and selling.

MOST ACTIVES

www.StressQuiz.org – 33 Bids

Does this guy ever stop? Here is yet another listing by the great “abisko.” He had another site for sale a couple weeks ago that was the most active on Flippa where the site got a staggering 82 bids! This latest site for sale by abisko didn’t yield as many bids but 33 still isn’t too shabby and was enough to put it as the most active auction on Flippa last week. You need to “study” this latest auction because you’ll see he’s doing some very unique things that I don’t see any other sellers doing. He’s now using his listing to funnel potential buyers to his own private buyer’s list. That’s brilliant. He’s also offering bonuses to buyers and he’s highlighting other sites he has for sale. This guy is good. If you want to know how to do this stuff the right way, keep an eye on him! See auction here.

www.AirportFact.com – 32 Bids

Sometimes sites come along that garner interest that you just scratch your head and wonder why. On paper, the seller of this site broke every site flipping rule. His title sucked, he listed it with a starting bid of $1,000, he listed it for a full 30 days, and his listing description wasn’t the greatest. And on top of that, the site itself wasn’t that great as admitted by the owner. Yet despite all that, it still generated 32 bids and sold for $8,600. See auction here.

www.TestMyStress.org – 32 Bids

Are you kidding me? “abisko” now has two sites that hit the most actives list last week on Flippa? Nothing new to say here as I’ve already commented on what this guy is doing. Although I will say this, take a look at the number of views his auctions are getting. This one had 1,576 views. How many potential buyers do you think that is? Let’s say on the low side it’s 500. Of those 500 buyers, how many do you think sign up to be on abisko’s private buyer’s list that he’s promoting on all of his listings? Are you starting to see the picture here? It won’t be long and he won’t need to sell anything on Flippa anymore as he’ll have his own list of buyers to sell to! See auction here.

TOP SELLERS

www.ConquerYourNiche.com – $144,000

Holy sh*t…$144,000? That’s crazy. I’m always amazed at how much much sites can sell for and that’s why I love this business so much! There’s never a dull moment. Still though, the site “only” sold for 12x monthly net profit. For a site that was established four years ago and that gets 17,000 unique visitors per month, I think the buyer got a good deal. I would have expected it to sell for more. The take away from this auction, however, is how the owner made his money – from his list! The gurus always tell you the money is “in the list” and this site is proof positive of that. See auction here.

www.MediaJobs.net – $35,000

Wow, did this guy catch a break or what? He puts this site up for sale a few weeks ago and it sells for a “measly” $10,000. He has to cancel the listing because he disclosed information in the auction that he wasn’t supposed to. I don’t totally understand it but the point is he had to cancel the sale and relist it. The second time around he gets 3 1/2 times more money for the site. Lucky guy;) Now thanks to him I’ll always wonder if I could have gotten more for my sites if I would have just listed it at another time. See auction here.

www.SmokePoker.com – $17,000

I love this auction and I’ll tell you why. The owner told a story about his site for sale and why he’s selling. He was honest about the history of the site, what his strengths were (writing) and what his weaknesses were (Twitter). After reading his auction, I didn’t even have to look at his trust score. I just had a feeling – based on how he described his site – that he was an honest seller and a straight shooter. You can learn a couple things from this auction. First, the guy built a successful site around something he was passionate about and knew something about – poker. And because of his interest and knowledge of the niche, he was able to write quality, unique, and USEFUL content. Second, he was able to “print money” with his list. Are you starting to see a trend here? The money is in the list! Check out what this guy had to say about his list: “When I’ve been in the mood to “sell stuff” I’ve often walked away with a $1,000-$2,000 payday, sometimes more.” See auction here.

TOP SELLING NICHES
Last week’s top selling niches were no surprise with the exception of the web directories niche. The Health and Internet Marketing niches continue to be the most popular.

MOST ACTIVE SITE FLIPPERS

These are folks that are obviously selling on a regular basis. And if they’re doing this on a regular basis, then they must be doing well or they wouldn’t bother. You should check out their profiles and see what they’re doing. As a buyer you may find a site that interests you and as a seller, you can see what type of site flipping business they operate to give you some ideas;)

*You can view the profiles for these sellers by clicking on their names but you need to be logged into your Flippa account to view them.
ippolito1 – had 12 sites for sale
htmlserver – had 9 sites for sale
Legend – had 8 sites for sale

GLANCING AROUND OTHER MARKETPLACES

Warrior Forum

I love the Warrior Forum and I had high hopes when the “Websites for Sale” section was created, but it has quickly turned into a marketplace of template and turnkey sites. Just glancing through the listings in the past week, I see that most of the listings are sites for under $150 – and the bulk are actually under $50. These sites can be great if you just want to pick a niche and be up and running NOW, but for the experienced and serious site flipper looking for a true investment, this isn’t the marketplace for you and will likely never be any time soon.

Digital Point Forum

For some reason there are a lot of tv websites for sale on Digital Point these days and last week was no different. One in particular that stood out was a TV show website that gets 519,000 unique visitors per month and $2,000 in monthly revenue. According to the forum post, there was a bid for $10,000 and it possibly sold for the BIN (Buy It Now) price of $15,000. If it did indeed sell at that price, that’s one of the more higher-priced websites sold on Digital Point in a while.

WebsiteBroker.com

There are always interesting listings on WebsiteBroker.com. It seems that most of the websites listed for sale there are aimed at the serious site flipping investor as you’ll often times see sites being offered for well over $100,000 but they produce no revenue. Take this listing for example that was posted last week; it produces no revenue but because of the potential I’m supposed to realize that buying it for $150,000 is a good buy. Don’t get me wrong, it may be a great investment for the right buyer but it isn’t going to appeal to the average Joe site flipper. You really have to know what you’re doing when buying into speculative opportunities like this.

BuySellWebsite.com

There wasn’t a whole lot going on last week at this marketplace but there was this listing that sparked my interest only because the asking price was more in line with what the website actually earns. Many times you’ll see websites for sale on this marketplace where the seller is asking way more than the site is worth. This guy has a network of AdSense sites that generate $250/month in revenues. He’s asking $1,500 or best offer for them. That’s a reasonable multiplier of six months.

Were You Flipping Websites Last Week?
Share Your Experiences In The Comments Below!

Website Flipping 2.0: Selling Websites Online Through Craigslist

Online business models are quickly evolving, my friends, and the website flipping business is no different. As professionals who buy and sell websites, we’re all familiar with the usual marketplaces like Flippa.com, the Warrior Forum, etc. but I’ll bet not too many of us think of Craigslist as a viable marketplace for flipping websites. I welcome you to Website Flipping 2.0!

Just as Web 2.0 changed the way we used and experienced the Internet, Website Flipping 2.0 will change the way we sell our websites online. It will give us another avenue to reach highly targeted buyers – specifically local businesses.

In this interview with William Schueddig, a fellow Warrior Forum member, you’ll learn how he utilizes Craigslist to sell his websites to local businesses and even to general website buyers. He provides some incredibly useful information here that you can take and run with to start making money selling websites online through Craigslist!

FW: I read several of your posts on the Warrior Forum and it was apparent to me that you were a regular site flipper. Was my assumption correct?

Actually, it is part time. I work full-time as an IT Administrator and do all of my personal home business stuff (Internet Marketing, website flipping, product creation, website hosting, etc.) on the side.

FW: What’s your style of website flipping – do you buy websites and then flip them or do you build them and then flip? What type of flipper are you?

I do not buy websites – never have and never needed to. I have acquired domain names, but not that many – probably 20 or so. I’ve never spent more than $50 to acquire a domain name, but I only buy domain names if I know I can flip them.

What kind of website flipper am I? I guess I’d call it Opportunity Flipping. I sell many types of websites – locally targeted, quick MRR sites, established and profitable websites, software I’ve developed, and of course just domain names.

FW: You do something I suspect not a lot of site flippers do and that is you sell websites online through Craigslist. Tell me more about this.

Craigslist is just another way to get the word out, but it has several benefits:

  • Many times, I get to talk to potential buyers. When I’m on the phone, I can answer any question they have, express myself so the potential buyer can hear my excitement and confidence. Right away, they can tell that I’ve been doing this a long time…which builds trust. Once someone trusts you, they are more likely to buy from you.
  • It’s FREE! No spending a dime to post a website for sale in ANY city or state.
  • It’s easy. I can create an ad and post it in a few minutes. At the end of the time period, if the domain name/website hasn’t sold, it’s just a few clicks to repost it – again for free. I can also add to the description at any time.
  • It’s great for SEO. If I optimize my ad, then it gets found in search engines, which brings in even more potential buyers.

FW: Give me a sense of how successful you are at selling websites online through Craigslist?

Not as successful as sites that specialize and target websites for sale (Flippa, Warrior Forum, Sedo, etc). People visiting those sites are looking to buy. There isn’t a “Websites For Sale” category on Craigslist, so you have to put your ads in a relevant category and wait for someone to come across it in the jungle of other ads that people post there every day.

FW: Are the websites you’re selling on Craigslist geared towards local businesses, and are they fully developed with content or are they more template-driven?

Selling a local website to a local potential buyer is easier, but I’ve sold general websites that had nothing to do with locality, too. It all depends on what catches the buyer’s attention, but in order to sell anything you have to get in front of people so they know it’s for sale. Craigslist does that very well.

The sites I sell are always developed – even if it’s just a WordPress blog with a few posts. It should have some content on it so potential buyers will have something to look at when they visit, relevant content so they can see potential, and to up sell them on other things (web design, hosting, seo, etc.)

FW: The websites that you do sell that are targeted towards local businesses, are they content sites or more directory-style websites?

If I’m selling a local website, yes, I add targeted content about the location so a potential buyer can see the potential of the website. Directory sites, yellow pages, review sites, etc. The content must match or be relevant to the domain name.

FW: Can I ask you what the average selling price is for the sites you sell on Craigslist?

Not sure of an average, but I’ve sold sites from $100 to $3500. Most are under $500.

FW: Do you offer hosting to potential buyers?

I always include free hosting with the website sale. It’s just one less thing that the potential buyer has to worry about. I normally include 3 months, but if I’m asking for a larger amount, I’ll include 12 months. I’m a hosting reseller so once their free hosting period is over, I still get paid if they continue hosting through me, which is about 90% of the time.

FW: Are there specific businesses that you build your websites around to sell online through Craigslist? For example, do you build mostly plumbing business websites?

It can be a variety of domain names. It all depends on what domain names I can find to register. I try to stick with two-word variations [city][keyword].com or [state][keyword].com so it’s easy to remember and better for SEO.

FW: Do you list these sites in multiple cities on Craigslist or do you just list them in one city?

If it’s a general, non-local website, then I’ll post in several major cities. I’ll only post a locally targeted website in that city or surrounding cities.

FW: Do you build exclusive websites for sale? For example, if you sell a website to a dentist on Craigslist, will you sell another dentist site or do you pitch your site as being “one of kind?”

I do build exclusive sites, but I make sure that is mentioned in the sales description. This makes it more appealing to the buyer so they know I won’t just copy the site and resell it over and over.
Local sites are different. If I can sell the same website on a different domain name in a different city, then it saves me time.

FW: Can you describe how you structure your Craigslist ads?

I keep it simple. I’d rather have someone contact me to ask for more information. That way I can sell them over the phone or email them better details. A lot of times, they just want to know they are dealing with a real (possibly local) person. I’ll add a detailed paragraph that explains what the domain name could be used for, some good bullet points, and a relevant image that adds a visual appeal. I also put the asking price in the ad. That will weed out looky-loos and attract real buyers.

(Click here to see a screenshot of one of William’s ads)

FW: When you post the ad, what category do you list it in? Do you put it in the “For Sale” category, the “Business” category, or do you put it in the category the business falls in?

I post it in the Business or Computer category under For Sale.

William Schueddig is a long-time Internet Marketer, Online Entrepreneur, and has authored several ebooks. He is the webmaster of many websites including:
www.onlinemarketingideas.com
www.instantpaymentprofits.com
www.wordpressartist.com
www.videoprofitmarketing.com

Are You Selling Websites Online Through Craigslist?
Please Share Your Experiences In The Comments Below!

Website Flipping Market Snapshot: 1-31-10


The data for the Most Actives, Top Sellers, Top Selling Niches, and Most Active Site Flippers is based on the market activity at Flippa.com. As the largest and most popular marketplace for site flippers right now, the market activity there provides valuable insight on what people are buying and selling.

MOST ACTIVES

www.SnoringSolutions.org – 52 Bids

Good to see someone I know have so much success. “Nichescape,” the seller’s Flippa username, is a guy I’ve known for a while now through a couple private forums I used to belong to. This guy is a real pro and an all around good guy. At any rate, I see he’s applying the same selling methods taught in the very popular ebook, “Sell Your Site For More.” Unfortunately, the ebook is no longer available. The seller took it off the market. I won’t divulge everything in the ebook but suffice to say, if you have a quality site and you start your auctions at $1 with no reserve and keep the auction under 7 days, you’ll get plenty of bids. As you can see here, nichescape garnered 52 bids applying this strategy and sold his site for more than 22x monthly revenue! See auction here.

Nichescape did the same for another auction he ran back in the beginning of January where he got 61 bids and sold the site for more than 66x monthly revenue! That’s insane. See auction here.

www.SmellsFunny.com – 41 Bids

Now this is an interesting site. It’s purely monetized by ads and in the first 18 days of January 2010 alone, it received over 330,000 unique visitors! That’s a lot of traffic. With that much traffic and starting the auction with a low bid, there’s no wonder it got 41 bids. See auction here.

www.RussianGirlsCQ.com – 35 Bids

O.K, as a guy and as someone who has a good friend who’s wife is from Russia (who he met online), I have to admit I spent a little more time than usual “analyzing” this site…lol. Let’s just say there is a lot of good looking women featured on this site;) But back to why this site got so many bids. The seller, “ispyppc,” did everything right. He started the auction at $1 with no reserve and he over delivered in his listing. It has every detail imaginable including plenty of screenshots and videos. You can learn a lot studying this listing. See auction here.

TOP SELLERS

www.BloggingTips.com – $60,000

This auction was all the rage last week. I saw a couple tweets about it and Justin over at SiteFling.com even mentioned it in one of his recent videos. This site sold for a whopping $60,000 – almost 55x monthly revenue! Kevin (aka “fonzerelli_79 on Flippa) was the owner of the site and he built one hell of an asset. The site had over 8,000 RSS subscribers and received over 150,000 unique visitors per month. With a great two-word domain and a hot niche (blogging), it was the perfect storm. See auction here.

www.RussianGirlsCQ.com – $14,495

Well I already told you I enjoyed this site, but let’s talk about how much it sold for. At $14,495 it sold for almost 10x monthly revenue. The site’s monthly revenue of $1,500 was mostly from affiliate sales but also had some AdSense revenues as well. The site was established in 2006 and received around 17,000 unique visitors per month. The dating niche is always strong so given the age of this site and the solid traffic and income, I’m not surprised at how well it did. See auction here.

www.SmellsFunny.com – $11,000

I already briefly touched on the insane traffic this site gets but consider this…the site “only” had around 133,000 unique visitors in December 2009. Then in the first 18 days of January the traffic more than doubled to over 334,000 unique visitors. If that isn’t a traffic explosion, I don’t know what is. With monthly revenues of $1,750, the site sold for a little more than 6x monthly revenue. See auction here.

TOP SELLING NICHES

The top selling niches for last week didn’t change that much from the previous week. The Health and Internet Marketing niches were selling well as usual and knocking Investing off the top 3 for last week was the Movies & Entertainment niche. I guess when the economy isn’t doing so hot people turn to movies and entertainment instead of investing.

MOST ACTIVE SITE FLIPPERS

I’m adding a new category to the weekly Market Snapshot – most active site flippers. These are folks that are obviously selling on a regular basis. And if they’re doing this on a regular basis, then they must be doing well or they wouldn’t bother. You should check out their profiles and see what they’re doing. As a buyer you may find a site that interests you and as a seller, you can see what type of site flipping business they operate to give you some ideas;)

*You can view the profiles for these sellers by clicking on their names but you need to be logged into your Flippa account to view them.
htmlserver – had 11 sites for sale
diwi – had 7 sites for sale
duncanmae – had 7 sites for sale

GLANCING AROUND OTHER MARKETPLACES

Warrior Forum

Blog packages seem to be very popular right now on the Warrior Forum. If you take a look at the recent sites for sale, you’ll see most of what’s available are pre-built blogs that come loaded with all kinds of extras (ebooks, unique and exclusive articles, etc.). And most of these packages are selling around $37 each. “Back in the day,” these were called turnkey sites. These are sites that are basically nice-looking templates. Granted, the packages being offered on the Warrior Forum right now are pretty nice. You not only get a great looking site to get you up and running immediately, but you also get the extras mentioned which help.

Digital Point Forum

The Digital Point forum usually isn’t the place to find high-dollar sites for sale but every once in a while something interesting pops up. Last week DropConf was listed for sale for $33,250. There were a couple things that stood out. One, why was it listed on Digital Point? Two, it always floors me when people leave stupid comments on people’s auctions – particularly when they bash the seller’s site. You’ll see what I mean when you visit the listing. Just a tip for you site flippers, please heed your mom’s advice: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all! If you don’t like what’s for sale, move on. Do you really need to waste everyone’s time sharing your negative opinions? See listing here.

WebsiteBroker.com

NichesInABox.com was listed for sale on WebsiteBroker.com for $1,000,000! The site was fully launched in December 2006 and has generated an average of $500,000 in yearly sales. See listing here.

BuySellWebsite.com

Here’s an interesting twist on website selling. The owner of LostLetterman.com owns the UK domain version of this website. His US-based website is doing very well. It’s so successful that he has all that he can handle. That’s a nice problem to have in this economy! He promises that the UK site will generate at least $2k-$3k per month in time. He’s asking $10,000. For this price the owner will build the UK site for you and share his marketing and ecommerce knowledge that made his US-based site so successful. If what he says is true, snapping this up for $10,000 would be a decent bargain – only 3-5 times monthly revenue. The problem is, selling a “promise” isn’t always the easiest thing to do. See listing here.

Were You Flipping Websites Last Week?
Share Your Experiences In The Comments Below!

Site Flippers: Make Money with Affiliate Marketing Today & Even More Tomorrow!

O.K., O.K, I admit the title is a little cryptic but let me explain. What I’m suggesting by the title is that site flippers can make money with affiliate marketing while they hold their properties and then they can make even more money when they sell them. The name of the game when you’re flipping websites is to get the absolute top dollar for them when you sell. In most cases you can only do that if your websites are making “good” money.

Affiliate marketing is a simple way to monetize your websites and to get them generating revenue as quickly as possible. Now it’s not as quick and easy as monetizing with AdSense or other advertising opportunities, but once you get it going you’ll make significantly more money. As an example, I owned a popular supplement website that was getting over 10,000 visitors per month. I was initially monetizing it with AdSense. At its peak, it was bringing in around $250 per month. I dropped AdSense completely and strictly promoted supplements as an affiliate. After that my revenues were consistently over $1,200 per month!

Here’s where it really gets good. I hung on to the site for a couple years because it was a total cash cow. I was making over $14,000 a year doing minimal work to the site. I eventually got bored with it and I knew sooner or later I was going to have to put more work into it or sell it. I chose to do the latter. Because it was such a solid earner, I was able to get over 10x monthly revenue for it. Granted, I probably would have gotten 10x monthly revenue if it was strictly an AdSense site but at only $250/month, I would have made a fraction of what I actually got when I sold it.

How To Master Affiliate Marketing

While it’s simple for site flippers to make money with affiliate marketing (and a lot of money at that), it isn’t necessarily easy. I have been a successful affiliate marketer and I owe ALL of my success to Site Build It! (aka SBI!). Ironically, I would never recommend SBI! for site flippers because it’s cost prohibitive. However, if you are struggling with making money as an affiliate marketer, than I have the best FREE resource you’ll ever find on the topic.

It’s called Make Your Site SELL! (MYSS!). It’s a 1,500+ page ebook that was coined, “The BIBLE of selling on the Net,” when it debuted over 10 years ago. It was updated in 2002. When I first started as an Internet Marketer in 2005, it was the first ebook I ever read. I practically memorized it. To this day I continue to refer back to it. I am not exaggerating when I say I owe most of my affiliate marketing success to this one ebook. It’s that good. You can get your copy by clicking here.

If you really want to make money with affiliate marketing, then do yourself a favor and download the book. It’s free and you have nothing to lose. And for you skeptics reading this, I am not an affiliate for SBI! The link I have to the book is a straight link. I just believe in it and I think it should be a required read for anyone new to Internet Marketing or anyone who is struggling to make money with affiliate marketing.

As a site flipper, you can dramatically boost your income and your business’ bottom line if you can “master” the art of affiliate marketing. You may never monetize your websites with AdSense or advertising of any kind again!

Do You Have Any Tips or Resources On How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing? Share Them In The Comments Below!