Flipping for little to no profit?

29 replies
I'm rather new to flipping websites. I've been checking out the sites that have sold on Flippa. I noticed that some of them are selling for $20 or less. I saw one that sold for $1!

How is anyone making money from doing that? It's a few bucks for domain registration. Then there's the cost of listing the auction ad on Flippa for $19.

Is this a marketing strategy? Perhaps, selling sites for no profit but getting customers to sign up for updates to future site sales?

Please help me understand.
#flipping #profit
  • Profile picture of the author WilliamBerg
    I think they usually sell without reserve, hope to get more, but sometimes have to sell for very low sums.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jonet Bradley
    I also wondered about this as well, since I was interested in adding website flipping into my revenue streams. Perhaps more established people build up a list of contacts that are willinging to pay larger sums of money for a quality site, and just sell to them.
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    • Profile picture of the author Coby
      Originally Posted by Jonet Bradley View Post

      I also wondered about this as well, since I was interested in adding website flipping into my revenue streams. Perhaps more established people build up a list of contacts that are willinging to pay larger sums of money for a quality site, and just sell to them.
      I think this is exactly the case. As there are some warriors who do this. Also, sometimes ppl are just clearing out projects, just like selling an old 'junk' car or having a yard sale. People just want to cut their losses or clear some room for some new projects.

      I just acquired three sites that all rank on the first page of google for a very very very good price due to fact that the previous owner just had a baby and wanted to clear out projects and pay for some diapers at the same time. So it was a win-win, I got some sweet sites at a killer price and they 'cleaned their project plate' and bought some diapers. Everyone's happy :-D

      Also, I'm thinking less successful (new reputation to earn) people want to get their name out there and also start building contacts for future business. For example, lets say you bought an adsense site on flippa for 20 bux and the site make 10 or 20 bux a month in adsense income. If the designer emails you a few months later with a similar type site for a good price (maybe $30 this time) you will probably buy it no questions asked . . . see where I'm going with this.

      Hope this helps
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  • Profile picture of the author noble
    I think a lot of it has to do with starting the price low and hoping to entice a bidding war. Obviously, as you've seen, this sometimes backfires when only one guy bids and gets it for a low low price.

    I would imagine that some people do this in order to build contacts and upsell things as well though.
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  • Profile picture of the author MidnightMarketing
    Thanks for all your answers. It makes sense
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  • Profile picture of the author dzinerfusion
    I think why people sell them for so cheap is because they are trying to upsell hosting, seo services, which will bring them much more money than just a site sale. Hosting can easily bring them residual income.
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  • Profile picture of the author unimaru
    I am not very familiar with the flippa.

    Originally Posted by MidnightMarketing View Post

    I'm rather new to flipping websites. I've been checking out the sites that have sold on Flippa. I noticed that some of them are selling for $20 or less. I saw one that sold for $1!

    How is anyone making money from doing that? It's a few bucks for domain registration. Then there's the cost of listing the auction ad on Flippa for $19.

    Is this a marketing strategy? Perhaps, selling sites for no profit but getting customers to sign up for updates to future site sales?

    Please help me understand.
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    • Profile picture of the author MidnightMarketing
      Originally Posted by unimaru View Post

      I am not very familiar with the flippa.
      Flippa is a site where you buy and sell sites as well as domains
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Ranger
    Flipping sites on Flippa used to be so lucrative. These days the only sites worth selling are ones with proven income over a few months. And the proof has to be impressive (screenshots, videos etc..).

    I don't think they're upselling anything such as hosting - I just think they're perhaps listing lots of sites, selling some at a loss and then making small profits back on the odd site that shoots up with bids.

    It's a horrible business model!
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    • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
      Originally Posted by Steve Ranger View Post

      Flipping sites on Flippa used to be so lucrative. These days the only sites worth selling are ones with proven income over a few months. And the proof has to be impressive (screenshots, videos etc..).

      I don't think they're upselling anything such as hosting - I just think they're perhaps listing lots of sites, selling some at a loss and then making small profits back on the odd site that shoots up with bids.

      It's a horrible business model!
      Oh darn! Just when I thought about joining in the fun!
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    • Profile picture of the author Aaarrrggghhh
      Originally Posted by Steve Ranger View Post

      Flipping sites on Flippa used to be so lucrative. These days the only sites worth selling are ones with proven income over a few months. And the proof has to be impressive (screenshots, videos etc..).

      I don't think they're upselling anything such as hosting - I just think they're perhaps listing lots of sites, selling some at a loss and then making small profits back on the odd site that shoots up with bids.

      It's a horrible business model!
      You will ALWAYS make more money on sites that have MORE ASSETS, such as traffic, revenue, ranking, etc. but that is nothing new.

      Any established business with assets will always (well most of the time) outsell a start-up business just getting started.

      However, start-up sites are very lucrative IF you can add solid value to your business model and give the new owner a SOLID foundation to build on so they can focus on growing and marketing their new business.

      The money is in the list. The money is in the hosting. The money is in the service upsells. The money is in content development. The money is in your exclusive content distribution services, etc.

      Their is unlimited money in flipping websites and in helping others succeed online. Focus on helping others overcome their technical challenges that they have absolutely no interest in learning so they can focus on starting and growing an on-line business and worry about the $$ secondary...it will follow if you stay focused on helping your customers do what they need to do.

      To say that it is a horrible business model in general is incorrect. It may not be the right one for you personally, but it is not a horrible business model IF you have a proper business model in place and over-deliver for your customers...your customers will take care of you if you take care of them.

      HTH - Leah
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  • Profile picture of the author cashcow
    I don't think they're upselling anything such as hosting - I just think they're perhaps listing lots of sites, selling some at a loss and then making small profits back on the odd site that shoots up with bids.

    It's a horrible business model!
    I agree.

    While some of them might be selling hosting, that's not really that profitable as most people usually only stay for 3 months and then move to their own shared hosting accounts. And how much can you charge for hosting anyway?

    Getting a list of buyers is good, but if you are getting a list of people that want to buy sites at $20 a pop that doesn't sound so profitable to me. In my experience bargain hunters rarely want to pay full price for a site later on.

    Now selling sites that are making money is a whole 'nother story all together and sure, there are some that just want to get rid of them and don't really care if they make anything. In fact, I myself, just gave a way a PR1 domain (not at Flippa) simply because I don't have time to do anything with it but couldn't see just letting it expire!

    Lee
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    Gone Fishing
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  • Profile picture of the author dremora
    Listing the sites for $1 is dumb, especially in the established section.
    These guys don't know what they are doing, a lot of them are newbies and they waste a ton of money on flippa fees before they learn better.

    I recommend newbies to sell on forums where it's free to list.
    Watch and study flippa for a few weeks but don't sell there until you gain experience on other free places first, and you start to recognize patterns.

    A lot of the unsuccessful sites have something in common: bad sales copy+lack of quality.

    You can't expect to sell a starter site built around an extremely oversaturated niche (like weight loss or fitness) with no traffic/revenue.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    It's not a business model at all. Listing costs $29 on Flippa. There's some jerks on there that buy $2 PLR sites and get a domain for them and list them and sell them for whatever they can get for them and there are people who believe that "no reserve" is the way to go. When I list a site, I always have a reserve ... but I don't list real cheap sites and I'm not willing to let them go just to sell them.
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    • Profile picture of the author MidnightMarketing
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      It's not a business model at all. Listing costs $29 on Flippa. There's some jerks on there that buy $2 PLR sites and get a domain for them and list them and sell them for whatever they can get for them and there are people who believe that "no reserve" is the way to go. When I list a site, I always have a reserve ... but I don't list real cheap sites and I'm not willing to let them go just to sell them.
      I thought listing costs $19?
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by MidnightMarketing View Post

        I thought listing costs $19?
        You're right. I always buy two enhancements that jacks it up to $29.
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        • Profile picture of the author WilliamBerg
          all these small sites also make it very hard to find nice well established sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author jideofor
    wow! This is revealing to me what I never knew before. But I have one question: how much does a blog that could make only one sale over a 3 months period worth,with a traffic of 300 visit? How much would you pay?
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  • Profile picture of the author raj5151
    Originally Posted by MidnightMarketing View Post

    I'm rather new to flipping websites. I've been checking out the sites that have sold on Flippa. I noticed that some of them are selling for $20 or less. I saw one that sold for $1!

    How is anyone making money from doing that? It's a few bucks for domain registration. Then there's the cost of listing the auction ad on Flippa for $19.

    Is this a marketing strategy? Perhaps, selling sites for no profit but getting customers to sign up for updates to future site sales?

    Please help me understand.

    I think they usually sell without reserve price.
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    • Profile picture of the author tpw
      It could also be the wife nagging, "You wasted money on that darn domain... Try to get something back on that money you pissed away!!!"

      While getting the domain may have been a bad idea in the first place, selling it on Flippa only compounded the first mistake... LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author dremora
    Like I said: If you are a newbie, don't sell on flippa. Sit there and learn what kind of sites sell successfully. Sell on forums, preferably free ones where you don't pay listing fees. Get your feet wet on the forums before jumping to flippa if you love your wallet and your sanity!
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    • Profile picture of the author paulie888
      Originally Posted by dremora View Post

      Like I said: If you are a newbie, don't sell on flippa. Sit there and learn what kind of sites sell successfully. Sell on forums, preferably free ones where you don't pay listing fees. Get your feet wet on the forums before jumping to flippa if you love your wallet and your sanity!
      Excellent advice there. A few years ago, when flippa was still sitepoint, it was cheap to list there and even newbies could make quick, easy money flipping sites there. When it changed to flippa, they increased the regular fees AND added that 5% success fee, and from then on it became a whole different ballgame. Flippa's not for newbies anymore, so observe and learn BEFORE you wander blindly into there, hoping to flip a site easily and profitably on your first try!
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  • Profile picture of the author InitialEffort
    1. Buy websites on Flippa to learn someone else's strategy to help you learn how to make money. 2. Buy as an investment, but be careful. Make sure you are getting a site that it going to work in the long run. 3. Buy a site that has backlinks or age to speed up the development when you make improvements to the site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Benjamin
    Reminds of when auto-union workers were getting paid
    unfair amounts of money $25-$50+ per hour to do work
    that's worth no more than $17-20 an hour (leaving the
    auto-industry enough room to profit from the labor)

    The market always corrects itself. With the auto-industry
    it was slower to change because of the reserve capital
    funds in a major corporation carried the weight over the
    years.

    Online it's different.

    It's much faster, and people catch on quicker to what's
    valuable and what's not.

    It shocks me how some people "b**tch" about people
    wising up to buying websites for $100-$300 when they
    were worth no more than $20 at best.

    I saw it coming a long time ago, even when ppl where
    selling WSO's on how to game the system just that way.

    Well, it all caught up to them. Now, you have to give
    REAL value to make it worth their while to pay you more
    than $100 for a website.

    Just the way it should be.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaarrrggghhh
    Originally Posted by MidnightMarketing View Post

    I'm rather new to flipping websites. I've been checking out the sites that have sold on Flippa. I noticed that some of them are selling for $20 or less. I saw one that sold for $1!
    Those sites that sell for $20 or less is because that is all they are worth.

    Originally Posted by MidnightMarketing View Post

    How is anyone making money from doing that? It's a few bucks for domain registration. Then there's the cost of listing the auction ad on Flippa for $19.
    Typically they are not making money, but hopefully learning from their mistakes and moving forward by learning about what NOT to do.

    In order to make money for long-term profits, you need to provide value, both from the sites you deliver and to your customers.

    I've said it thousands of times and I'll say it again, over deliver on value and treat your customers like the gold that they are
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  • Profile picture of the author THK
    It very likely was a loss. Maybe a noob testing the water or an expert experimenting something that didn't go so well.

    Tanvir
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinDupre
    I doubt selling it for cheap is a good marketing strategy. Depending on many factors on that site like plugins, alexa rank, unique visitors and etc is how much your page is worth. Learn from your mistake and don't give up. I'm sure you'd be able to make profit if you keep at it and learn the market.
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  • Profile picture of the author DannyBatelic
    I don't think anyone wants to sell a site for $1 or $20
    If you study flippa's just sold, you'll notice that some people will sell the same looking site for $347 whilst others will only get $11. They are the exact same thing.
    0 traffic, 0 income, 0 age, 0 PR and the same template.
    What I've noticed is that sellers with history and a ton of positive feedback have placed themselves as authorities on flippa and can ask for outrageous prices for these sites and they get them.
    It's basic psychology. "These people must be selling great sites, because they sell lots of them, so I'd better buy one before someone else does."

    These sites are the same useless junk as the $1 sites that don't sell.
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