Flippa is constantly changing the way sellers and buyers interact on their system. The optimist in me always believes they are making these changes to make their system a safer and better place to do business, but the pessimist (conspiracy theorist) in me wonders if some of the changes are to improve their bottom line.
In this post, I’ll analyze 10 changes Flippa has made from an exaggerated perspective of the optimist and the pessimist. It’s a bit of a (joking) rant, but perhaps can help us get a better sense of where the true motivations of Flippa lie.
#1 – No More Buyers Success Fees
The Optimist – Wow, great news for buyers! Now buyers know exactly how much money they need to buy a site and no longer need to consider a success fee in their buy/no-buy decision. This sure makes things clear and transparent for buyers.
The Pessimist – Bad news for sellers! Shouldn’t sellers have the option to choose who can pay for the privilege of buying their site? Sellers are about to get a bunch of money for their site and buyers are about to spend a bunch of money. Hmm…I wonder who will have the most cash and is most likely to pay Flippa their success fee?
#2 – Minimum Auction Duration of 3 days
This used to be a one day minimum auction duration, but they changed to a minimum of 3 days. I never saw a big announcement on this, but maybe I missed it.
The Optimist – Why would anyone run an auction for less than 3 days? You need time for people to see it, right? The only people using 1 day auctions were probably selling junk sites anyway.
The Pessimist – Everyone knows most of the bidding on a site happens in the last 24 hours. Why do we need to wait for 2 extra days to actually get some action on our auction. If I want to run a 1 or 2 day auction, shouldn’t that be my choice? Wait…Flippa has all those upgrades right? I bet people are more likely to pay for that “Featured” upgrade multiple times with a longer auction.
#3 – Amounts of Pending Bids Are Viewable By Everyone
Unless I’m mistaken, wasn’t it only the seller who could see the amounts of the pending bids? Now anyone can see the dollar amounts of pending bids. I also don’t remember seeing any announcements from Flippa about this one.
The Optimist – This is great for Buyers! Now I know exactly how much my next bid will need to be if that bid gets accepted.
The Pessimist – This sucks for Sellers! If I don’t accept a high bid from a bad bidder, I probably scared off other bidders because they saw an overpriced bid pending. It also limits my ability to rack up a bunch of small bids at the start of the auction. I can’t figure out where Flippa profits from this, but I bet it’s there somewhere.
#4 – Confidential Listings
The Optimist – This is great for buyers and sellers. If my auction doesn’t sell, I get to keep my “secret sauce” secret. If I buy a confidential listing site, there are going to be far fewer copycats trying to reverse engineer it.
The Pessimist – It’s a lot like their “Hide from search engines and non-logged in users” paid upgrade. If privacy is important to me, why should Flippa profit from that? If I had to pay my credit card companies to keep my social security number private, I don’t think the government would like that very much!
#5 – No More Trust Score
The Optimist – Trust scores were meaningless anyway. At least this way I know if the person I’m doing business with has a positive history on Flippa.
The Pessimist – Man those folks at Flippa are so smart. To not be labeled as “New” on their system, you have to have bought or sold a site on Flippa. Think of all the listing and success fees they’re getting just from people trying to get their trust up!
#6 – Sites Less Than 2 Months Old Can’t Claim Any Revenue
I never saw any announcements about this one, but is kind of a big one for people who are into the quick build and flip model.
The Optimist – How is it even possible for a site to be making sustainable revenue in 2 months time? Anyone claiming they are making revenue with a 1 or 2 month old site are probably lying anyway. This will sure keep buyers safe from those people claiming potential revenue as actual revenue.
The Pessimist – So, if I’m an expert at product launches and generate $10,000 in two months, I can’t claim that? I made the money and I can prove it, but Flippa won’t let me claim it. Wow, some potential buyers are going to be missing out on some amazing deals. Maybe Flippa got burned by a bunch of “turnkey” site sellers and decided to treat all sellers with new sites as liars.
#7 – Twitter Upgrade
The Optimist – Great job Flippa! You gave me another way to get exposure for my listing and increase the final price.
The Pessimist – Here’s yet another paid upgrade. I’d like to see a twitter stream that provides value, not one that is cluttered with auction notifications from people who paid to be there.
#8 – The Flippa A-List
The Optimist – Justin at FlipFilter provides a very balanced analysis and in some cases can be quite frank about the negative aspects of the sites. There’s a lot you can learn about how to analyze potential acquisitions even if you never plan to buy one of the sites.
The Pessimist – Flippa labels these as a trial valued at $100/month. Is it just a matter of time until they start charging people to subscribe? This also could be setting up a new paid “Upgrade” to have your auction considered for the A-List.
#9 – No More Buyer Guarantees
The Optimist – Seller guarantees are difficult to enforce legally anyway. This is a safe move to protect newbie buyers.
The Pessimist – I want to provide peace of mind to my buyers and I’m willing to stand behind my guarantees. I think I should have that right. Flippa was probably losing time and money from buyers who were disputing sales so this was a move to reduce the amount of work they have to do.
#10 – All Auction Links Are No Follow
Putting an auction on Flippa used to have SEO value because the links in the auction were do follow type links. Not any more!
The Optimist – Anyone putting up an auction just for a do follow link isn’t serious about selling anyway.
The Pessimist – Maybe Flippa plans to start charging for an upgrade for the option to remove the “No Follow” tag.
All joking aside, the fact that Flippa exists is a good thing for those of us who buy and sell websites as a hobby or as a business. Their positives far exceed any negatives in my view. They are the largest so they have the ability to set their prices as they see fit. If we don’t like it, we can choose not to use them.
However, based on some of the policy changes we’ve been seeing, I notice a few trends.
Trend #1 – Flippa seems to favor changes that benefit buyers even if it’s at the expense of sellers.
Trend #2 – Flippa is heavily favoring established rather than startup type websites, but still seems to tolerate brand new sites with no traffic or revenue.
Trend #3 – Flippa is not solely focused on making their marketplace a better place to do business. Generating revenue seems to be high on their priority list and they will continue looking for new ways to make money from buyers and sellers.
I invite you to share your views (optimistic and pessimistic) in the comments below.