Common Flippa Scams and How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

by sbucciarel Banned
152 replies
I'm sure most of you are aware that Flippa is a popular marketplace for buying and selling sites. In fact, I used to buy and sell a lot of sites on Flippa. It is far more difficult to find sites to buy without getting scammed than it used to be, IMO. The Flippa marketplace is a minefield of scams, and if you don't know what to look for, you could end up getting scammed. I'm not going to link to any individual listings or sellers, but give you ideas of what to look out for.

SELLING "EXCLUSIVE" NETWORK OF SITES/AUTOBLOGS


There are sellers who are purchasing the PLR blogs from the Warrior Forum with personal rights only and reselling them in batches of 25-40, and calling them Exclusive. First off, there's nothing exclusive about a network that one seller has sold many times over and over. There's also nothing exclusive about selling PLR blogs that have already been sold legitimately by the site owners. Of course, the buyer is not aware that he/she is buying PLR blogs that have been sold at a very reasonable price with Personal Use Only rights. They are also not aware that they will most likely receive a DMCA notice when they, in turn, attempt to list the blogs on Flippa.

Not only do the blogs not have resell rights, but the premium theme is being sold without a developer's license. The original owner who is selling with personal rights only has a developer's license, but the scammer who buys them to resell most likely has not bothered with that little detail. One scammer in particular has been making $1500-$2500 for these "Exclusive" networks of autoblogs that they have no rights to sell in the first place.

Several of these auctions were reported to Flippa and the seller was suspended. Sadly and inexplicably, they unsuspended him and let the auction proceed. In the meantime, he had created another account selling the same PLR sites that he purchased here on the WF with personal rights only. Flippa suspended that account, but the main account is back in business.

SELLING "GOOGLE NEWS READY" AUTOBLOGS

Anyone who knows anything about getting a site accepted by Google News, knows that you need 100% unique news articles. Some clown (and probably not just one) is selling a site "Google News Ready" website with WPRobot articles that are spun to be unique. This site will likely sell and some unsuspecting buyer will think they're getting a real bargain ... a real Google News site for only $300. Wow. What a bargain. They are in for a big disappointment when Google News tells them to take a hike.

HIGH PR SITES THAT WERE JUST REGISTERED A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO

I've seen sites sold with Pagerank 5 that were registered just before the listing appeared. Anyone in their right mind knows that a brand new site will not get a pagerank of 5 in a couple of days. The seller has registered a dropped domain that used to have a website with pagerank 5. Domains do not have pagerank. Web pages do, so buying a dropped domain with high pagerank is futile. It will lose all of that pagerank during the next Google update. I know ... I have bought a couple of high PR dropped domains ... by the next update, they were PR0.

SELLING SITES WITH CLAIMS OF "POTENTIAL INCOME $XXX"

Yep, these are fresh, brand new sites, but miraculously, have the potential to earn $1500 a month. Why? Because the seller says so. There's one listed right now with a BIN of $25,000 that was built last week. His selling point? MASSIVE POTENTIAL. Lol.

SELLERS WHO SELL THE SAME SITES OVER AND OVER AGAIN


This one is a biggie on Flippa. There's so many sellers who sell the same sites over and over and over again. One very common type of site for this kind of seller is Traffic Reseller sites and iPhone hacking sites. But they're not the only types .. movie, celebrity, dating and game sites are common for this type of seller. There's one particular seller on Flippa who's only business is selling the same crap sites over and over again. He was banned from one account, opened a new one and back in business just like that. There's a nifty site to check for sellers selling duplicate sites, here: Flippa Leaderboard. In the first listing, that's just a buyer who uses the same title over and over but the sites are different. Not the case with many of the rest of them.

SELLERS WHO BUY CHEAPO MRR PRODUCTS AND RESELL THEM FOR BIG BUCKS

Another common Flippa scam is sellers who buy get cheap ($5) minisites from places like tradebit, put them on a domain and resell them for at least $100. I've seen so many of these, it's not funny. A simple Copyscape report on these sites turns up the original tradebit sites that have sold a million times for $5.

SELLERS WHO BUY FAKE TRAFFIC TO INFLATE TRAFFIC STATS

This one got me once. Site had great traffic. Stupidly, I didn't insist on seeing referring urls. I bought the site and checked where the traffic was coming from. It was ALL coming from traffic sellers who sell fake traffic. It most likely was autoclicks rather than actual visitors. At any rate, it wasn't traffic that would have been remotely interested in the visiting the site or purchasing anything from it. Make sure that the seller has Statcounter enabled for you to check the traffic stats yourself or has uploaded Google Analytics.

The above are just a few ways to get scammed when buying sites on Flippa. If you're thinking about buying a site on Flippa, take a deep breath before hitting the BIN button and do some research, and if you're buying high end sites for really big bucks, use Escrow.com. Escrow protects both buyers and sellers and is the safest way to make sure that you actually get the site you've paid for. There are buyers out there who will buy a site and as soon as it all is transferred, file a Paypal dispute. With Paypal's lack of protection for sellers who sell digital items, you could lose your site, the domain and the payment.

For high end sites, I also recommend having a website sales contract. It's basically a contract stating that the sale has taken place and what it includes, etc. It's a good document to have that can be given to Flippa if the buyer files a dispute. One buyer did this to me and I won the dispute because I had the website sales contract.

For sites that claim revenue, just be aware that it is so simple for sellers to fake income screenshots and it is done all the time. Some will offer a video of their Paypal account. I've heard that even this can be faked, but it seems a better option than just relying on screenshots.

Before buying, contact the seller and chat about the site. You can often get a feel for a person's honesty or dishonesty through communication with the seller. Also check their feedback. It's important, but don't rely on it 100%. In at least two of the cases above, the seller has great feedback. Why? BECAUSE THE BUYERS DIDN'T KNOW THEY WERE BEING SCAMMED. Also, take a look at Flippa's meaningless rating criteria. A LinkedIn acct? Really? Like scammers can't get a LinkedIn account? A Facebook Acct? Same thing. Serial killers can get a LindedIn or Facebook acct, so I'm sure that Flippa scammers have no trouble getting a high Flippa rating by getting them too.

The same due diligence needs to be done wherever you buy sites from, whether it's on Ebay, DP or other sites. Flippa just happens to be the most popular of these for buying and selling sites.
#avoid #common #flippa #ripped #ripped off #scams
  • Profile picture of the author PhodM
    This is extremely useful!I have decided that Website flipping is my area for the next 6 months and this info will definitely save me a lot of money not to mention TIME.

    Thanks Suzanne!
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    • Profile picture of the author Mo Goulet
      Originally Posted by PhodM View Post

      This is extremely useful!I have decided that Website flipping is my area for the next 6 months and this info will definitely save me a lot of money not to mention TIME.

      Thanks Suzanne!
      Same here...The annual pilgramage to godaddy to renwew is getting old and there are over 50 names I'll just drop this year but maybe flippa will be a good alternative. How do new websites do on Flippa?
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      • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
        Banned
        Originally Posted by proapc View Post

        Same here...The annual pilgramage to godaddy to renwew is getting old and there are over 50 names I'll just drop this year but maybe flippa will be a good alternative. How do new websites do on Flippa?
        If they are in competitive niches, they might sell ok. Not big bucks for newer sites with no traffic or revenue. The money is in the traffic and revenue. When you consider the time to build the site and the listing fees Flippa charges, make sure it will be worth your time.

        If you want to get a good idea of what is selling on Flippa, just click on their Just Sold or recently sold tab. I don't bother listing new sites on Flippa anymore. You might also consider just trying to sell the domains. In WF Complete Sites for Sale, you could list all of them to sell in one listing.
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  • Profile picture of the author GoGetta
    Great post and 100% true!

    I have seen so much C*** on Flippa lately that has lots of bids. Some of the sites are blatantly scams, but still bids. Hopefully this post educates a few that are unaware!

    Good Stuff!

    GoGetta
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  • Profile picture of the author luckystepho
    Thanks Suzanne, very useful information here, I have had some success selling sites I've built from scratch on Flippa but like someone else said there seems an awful lot of rubbish on there at the moment and plenty of suspect listings.
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  • Profile picture of the author stingrays06
    Nice post Suzanne!

    I've seen people selling a lot of MRR garbage on Flippa. All they do is create a new domain name, upload the files, and slap a huge price tag on there. Makes me sick!
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by stingrays06 View Post

      Nice post Suzanne!

      I've seen people selling a lot of MRR garbage on Flippa. All they do is create a new domain name, upload the files, and slap a huge price tag on there. Makes me sick!
      Makes me sick to see that too. Not a thing you can do about it though. If you leave a comment, they delete it. If they don't claim that it's unique, they're allowed to sell that garbage. Just like they're allowed to sell the same sites over and over again.

      Take a good look at seller's profiles and look at all of their listings before you buy a site from them. You can spot the ones who just sell clones very easily.
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      • Profile picture of the author londoncoffee
        Some helpful tips here thanks.
        I am still puzzled how many sellers are claiming that their sites are making $150 - $500pm and they're selling for similar BIN price.
        I have just discovered a helpful site at web-woth.com which evaluates any site, showing estimated worth, page rank, daily views, monthly views, monthly earning etc. Anyone here using it?
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by londoncoffee View Post

          Some helpful tips here thanks.
          I am still puzzled how many sellers are claiming that their sites are making $150 - $500pm and they're selling for similar BIN price.
          I have just discovered a helpful site at web-woth.com which evaluates any site, showing estimated worth, page rank, daily views, monthly views, monthly earning etc. Anyone here using it?
          Web-worth.com will only give views, but those views may be coming from a fake traffic source, so without seeing the referring urls, you can't rely on that information. Automated websites estimates are pretty useless too because of limited information. They don't know if a sites makes money or has any other valuable assets, like a list, exceptional design, programming, etc.

          I take income claims with a grain of salt, especially with fairly new sites like you're talking about that don't have a history of provable earnings and are selling fairly cheap.
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  • Profile picture of the author gabwilliams
    This is a really useful post. I have also realised a certain seller selling PR6 and PR7 directories for upward of $1000. The main selling point is that all of these sites have traffic in excess of 50,000 visits a month. This is "proven" by showing Awstats statistics which can be easily manipulated by buying large batches of fake traffic and blasting the site with them over a month. I wouldnt buy any site claiming to have large traffic without first seeing Google Analytics as proof.
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    • Profile picture of the author Karen Blundell
      Originally Posted by gabwilliams View Post

      I wouldnt buy any site claiming to have large traffic without first seeing Google Analytics as proof.
      some people, like me, choose not to use Google Analytics, because often times it slows down the site. I rely on Awstats. Awstats does show where the referrers are coming from and a whole lot more, and I can prove it.

      Honestly the mis-information that floats around this forum sometimes boggles the mind.

      Google is not the be-all-and-end-all, people. They aren't God

      stop buying into the crap that you have to have Google this or Google that...a lot of what you read is simply a load of crap
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  • Profile picture of the author bagpuss0001
    Very useful Suzanne.

    I have been thinking about flipping a few sites or offloading some of my own for a while. Cheers for the info!
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  • Profile picture of the author g36
    I never played around website flipping and I didn't know there were a lot scams happening.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marhelper
    Good tips. I have sold a lot of sites on Flippa but never bought one. The main reason(s) is for some of the above mentioned.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick
    Nice post and 100% true...The most unfortunate situation is when they sell the same site to different people in different places.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by schwarzes View Post

      Nice post and 100% true...The most unfortunate situation is when they sell the same site to different people in different places.
      Yeah ... but they also sell the same sites over and over again right on Flippa. A look at their profile will point that out pretty easily. But these same people are listing the same sites also on Ebay and DP and other places. It is never spelled out in their listings that they are selling these by the hundreds.
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      • Profile picture of the author Patrick
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Yeah ... but they also sell the same sites over and over again right on Flippa. A look at their profile will point that out pretty easily. But these same people are listing the same sites also on Ebay and DP and other places. It is never spelled out in their listings that they are selling these by the hundreds.
        I found out about this so-called money making stunt just a couple of weeks back, when someone in Odesk posted a job offer, to transfer a wordpress site to 4 different domains. I just out of curiosity, asked the buyer why is he transferring the same content, same site, to 4 different domains. He told me that he is doing some viral marketing crap.

        But, thanks to google, I did some searches regarding those domains, and came to know that he was flipping the same site at 4 different places and he even sold them all !!!

        Before buying any site on flippa or any other place, use google and your search skills and do some research on the keywords used in the sales letters.
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    I buy website businesses but am actually close to abandoning flippa as a marketplace due to the large number of crap sites for sale. Finding a good web business with decent earning at a sensible price is becoming impossible on there.....
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by colinph970 View Post

      I buy website businesses but am actually close to abandoning flippa as a marketplace due to the large number of crap sites for sale. Finding a good web business with decent earning at a sensible price is becoming impossible on there.....
      I used to buy as many sites from Flippa as I sold. That was when it was on Sitepoint. I still search occasionally for the same kind of gems I used to be able to find, but they aren't there. The pricing structure probably left those sellers in the dust and it has really been overrun by the build a fast site make a fast buck crowd.

      Try looking for a site with unique content. I used to get them all the time. The big buzz word is AUTOBLOG and AUTOPILOT... which basically means all scraped content. Who can't do that themselves?
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    • Profile picture of the author JeffH
      Originally Posted by colinph970 View Post

      I buy website businesses but am actually close to abandoning flippa as a marketplace due to the large number of crap sites for sale. Finding a good web business with decent earning at a sensible price is becoming impossible on there.....
      I am interested in buying too. Do you know of a better place to find decent sites?

      Jeff
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  • Profile picture of the author colinph970
    Agreed.....I have paid decent prices for lots of original content but no real earnings from a site. If it has lots of original content then there is a good chance it will be starting to rank for keywords.....
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  • Profile picture of the author shuvo
    I did not yet sell any of my site in Flippa.But these tips are surely for helpful for those want to sell their money site.Till now I have heard all sorts of positive reviews about Flippa of being a good place to sell websites at a good price but these are the things I think everybody should know before selling a website in Flippa.

    So thanks for your tips.
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  • Profile picture of the author azmanar
    Hi Suzanne,

    Great tips.

    Flipping sites is a risky business.

    The one that frightens me most is after the buyer bought it and was given all the site materials, he files a dispute with PayPal.

    The one I hate most is buying a site template from a person who has Personal Use Only rights only, which he bought from WF.

    Really a heart-ache dealing with such scammers.

    Your tips are really telling me to pay attention on what I do best, rather than dirty my hands on something I know less about.

    Really appreciate it.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by azmanar View Post

      Hi Suzanne,

      Great tips.

      Flipping sites is a risky business.

      The one that frightens me most is after the buyer bought it and was given all the site materials, he files a dispute with PayPal.

      The one I hate most is buying a site template from a person who has Personal Use Only rights only, which he bought from WF.

      Really a heart-ache dealing with such scammers.

      Your tips are really telling me to pay attention on what I do best, rather than dirty my hands on something I know less about.

      Really appreciate it.
      That one almost got me on a pretty big sale. Fortunately, I had a website sale contract and I took screenshots of the domain in my registrar acct and then the new whois info to prove the domain had been transferred. I had to escalate it to a claim and submit those documents and fortunately, I won.

      Another thing you can do is get an address from the buyer and put the whole site on CD and send it via certified mail. That makes it a physical product instead of a digital product.
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      • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        That one almost got me on a pretty big sale. Fortunately, I had a website sale contract and I took screenshots of the domain in my registrar acct and then the new whois info to prove the domain had been transferred. I had to escalate it to a claim and submit those documents and fortunately, I won.

        Another thing you can do is get an address from the buyer and put the whole site on CD and send it via certified mail. That makes it a physical product instead of a digital product.
        When I talked to Paypal about buying/selling websites, I was told that if a seller sells a website and the buyer pays but claims they did not get it, THEY are out of luck (since it is a digital product) not the seller unless the buyer claims unauthorized transaction.

        Is that true at all?
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        • Profile picture of the author C3
          I've been caught like this on eBay and would definitely go with Suzanne's advice to put it on a CD and ship it, and make sure you use a tracked service too!

          Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

          When I talked to Paypal about buying/selling websites, I was told that if a seller sells a website and the buyer pays but claims they did not get it, THEY are out of luck (since it is a digital product) not the seller unless the buyer claims unauthorized transaction.

          Is that true at all?
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        • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
          Originally Posted by LilBlackDress View Post

          When I talked to Paypal about buying/selling websites, I was told that if a seller sells a website and the buyer pays but claims they did not get it, THEY are out of luck (since it is a digital product) not the seller unless the buyer claims unauthorized transaction.

          Is that true at all?
          Paypal in my experience is not consistent - so you need to cover your bases as Suzanne and others have suggested. If you treat flipping like a business then do so - get contracts, use escrow etc.

          I've always looked at flipping sites as selling a business more than selling a web site. Selling a business should be done in a professional manner, not as a hobby.

          best,
          --Jack
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          • Profile picture of the author BigGameHunter
            Originally Posted by jacktackett View Post

            Paypal in my experience is not consistent - so you need to cover your bases as Suzanne and others have suggested. If you treat flipping like a business then do so - get contracts, use escrow etc.

            I've always looked at flipping sites as selling a business more than selling a web site. Selling a business should be done in a professional manner, not as a hobby.

            best,
            --Jack
            It is AMAZING to me buyers don't protect their their money.

            Jack is right... This is business! Before you learn about blogging, SEO, Social Media, conversions or anything else in IM... learn about business first.

            I was the high bidder on flippa for a site about 3 yrs ago. The site sold for 5 figures. The seller was in Las Vegas and I am in Southern Va. We didn't use faxes, emails or texting, I scheduled a meeting with the seller, booked a room at the Venetian, got on a plane in Raleigh and went to meet the seller.

            Good thing... During the first half hour of our warming up conversation the seller told me he wanted me to pay the money into his fathers pay pal account. See...He couldn't take the money because he was in the middle of bankruptcy. RED FLAG!!!!!

            If this guy is willing to cheat the federal gov't he will cheat me. At that moment the transaction had nothing to do with his site... I didn't like the seller. You don't find these things out with an email.

            I was in a gambling town. I was not in the casino but I was gambling all the same. Helps to know you don't have to be in the casino to gamble.

            Partner, this doesn't just happen on the internet... It happens buying offline businesses too. Cooking the books is a favorite among offline business sellers and is an old school trick. Been doing this for over 30 yrs.

            It doesn't matter if it is Flippa or Remax both are out to make a commission helping others sell something. If you purchased a restaurant from a Remax agent it is not the agents responsibility to make sure you do your due diligence about the business. You can't shirk that responsibility. IT'S YOURS!

            We all make mistakes in business.

            Moral: Treat Little Deals Like Big One's and you will eliminate mistakes.

            Super post!
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Just an update. The dirtbag that inspired this post has finally been permanently banned, along with his other fake account.

    Reporting the scam auctions to Flippa does work (maybe not first time around, but eventually), so when you see one, hit the report this auction button and present your argument and any proof you have that the auction is a scam.
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  • Profile picture of the author wackiin
    wow really great post i was looking at buying on flippa but never have.
    Ive only used it at this point to find whats hot and making money etc.

    Never knew there was so many scammers on the site but i have seen 100s of the autoblogs yall mention for sale what a bunch of crap
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  • Profile picture of the author David Best
    Susanne,
    Thanks for taking time to write such a detailed post re best practices for using (or not!) Flippa. Very helpful.

    Kind regards,

    David
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  • Profile picture of the author TryBPO
    Great info, OP. As a regular seller on Flippa now, we really wish they had a way to better police the site as well. It's bad for all of us if Flippa continues to fill up with junk. The more buyers have a bad experience, the less they'll be willing to go back to Flippa...bad all around.

    I think as sellers, if we can do a better job of educating new or potential buyers as to the risks we'll have a better shot at earning their trust and (hopefully) helping them avoid scam auctions and sellers.
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  • Profile picture of the author frankl
    Great post. Thanks for the tips
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  • Profile picture of the author ColinChia
    Hey Suzanne,

    AWESOME POST and deservedly "Thanked"

    It's always GOOD to educate consumers and potential buyers of the SCAMs going on - where no real value is being added to the product and demanding high ticket values.

    This is not just happening in the domaining industry but various walks in Internet Marketing too...

    SCAMMERs BEWARE - CONSUMERS WISE UP!
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    • Profile picture of the author gammon
      Thanks for this greate Info,just looking for this.
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  • Profile picture of the author londoncoffee
    Great Post Suzanne thanks!
    It's so good, i've copied it and printed it out and stuck on my wall above my PC, just in case i ever forget that FLIPPA is a Friendly Bottle nosed Dolphin LOL!
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  • Profile picture of the author CoolWarrior
    No one ever wants to or deserved to be ripped off! Sadly many sellers out there with so little business ethics. Thank you for speaking up!
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  • Profile picture of the author shane_k
    @ sbucciarel

    thanks for this post, I have been considering buying websites for cashflow, but I wouldn't know how to go about it, how to value a site, and make sure the cashflow is accurate, etc.

    Seems like you have a lot off knowledge on this, maybe you or anyone else could set up a WSO on Evaluating and Buying undervalued websites for cashflow.

    I would be interested in that.

    Thanks

    Shane_K
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathy Curiel
    Thanks for the warning. Reading this I am glad that I never buy there .
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennis Gaskill
    Great post, Suzanne. I'm not a Flippa user, but it's still good to keep up with how people are scamming others. I'm sure this thread is pure gold for anyone new to using Flippa.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tobarja
    There is a site for sale here on WF that lists XXX income it's first few days. When queried about it, the poster admitted to spending XXXX for that traffic.


    I expect some of the flippa sites are the same scenario.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    I 100% agree with Flippa. I wouldn't touch any sites there with a barge pole. Unfortunately what I think you have done is open the eyes of 1,000+ scammers who will now use these methods....

    The net is sooo fraudulent i am getting a bit tired of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author sloanjim
    Do Flippa give a jacks sh** about users being scammed or do they turn a blind eye to it? I would never touch it.
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  • Profile picture of the author codenaam
    Hi Suzanne,

    Probably the best post I've seen on the matter... In my opinion Flippa has been rendered useless basically because I spotted so many conflicting facts, it isn't even funny... You've just confirmed what I already suspected but couldn't really put my finger on. Thanks a lot for that (and I have given you a "thanks" below your post as well and advise anybody to do so).
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  • Profile picture of the author Anthony Rohn
    yes, agree that there are a lot of scam in Flippa. This is especially true when it comes to web directory. Most of the time, the sellers merely buy a dropped/expired domain name with high PR at a cheap price and install a PHP directory script and call the brand new web directory as a "HIGH PR GOOD ALEXA" web directory and sell it at a very high price. All are scam!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Anthony Rohn View Post

      yes, agree that there are a lot of scam in Flippa. This is especially true when it comes to web directory. Most of the time, the sellers merely buy a dropped/expired domain name with high PR at a cheap price and install a PHP directory script and call the brand new web directory as a "HIGH PR GOOD ALEXA" web directory and sell it at a very high price. All are scam!!!
      Same with domains. Before I knew better, I bought some domains on Flippa that were supposed to have high pagerank. They did ... for about a month or two. They were expired domains with pagerank but Google soon dropped the pagerank to zero.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Westbrook
    This is great, I had my suspicians. I've been ripped off before too. In my case the sales were jacked up by running wso's!
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  • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
    Suzanne,
    Great post and deserving of a stickie in the all-in-one thread.

    It still amazes me folks don't treat this like a business with a sales contract or even NDAs - do your due diligence folks. Plenty of times I've had people ask me what an NDA is when I've offered to sign one or asked them to - Its a Non-Disclosure Agreement and is a legal document saying you won't spill the beans on what you're about to learn.

    The mark of an amateur is a reply along the lines of "If you can't trust me we can't do business." Well - exactly - and we don't do business.

    Using fax machines is a little dated in today's world but nothing wrong with signing a document and scanning it in (before snail mailing it ;-) ) before emailing it.

    As Suzanne indicates folks - its a business - we may not like the additional paperwork but its there for a reason. You're either running a business or just running a hobby otherwise....

    best,
    --Jack
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    • Profile picture of the author Mutt Media
      Thank you for the very good information!

      I've been following sites on Flippa for a while, looking for something of quality to purchase in the 4k range. Very rarely do good sites come up for sale and to find them you have to weed through so much garbage.

      You've opened my eyes up to a few other things I will have to look to avoid.

      Thanks again!

      Eric
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    • Profile picture of the author arttse
      People need to buy sites with extreme caution. For example, a websites with legitimate high page rank and/or ranking is obviously going to have quality backlinks. A scrupulous seller (after the sale) could very easily remove the backlinks and re-direct them to one of their other sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author centextkt
    I am not trying to pick a fight at all, so please excuse my ignorance -- but can you explain the difference between this:

    Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post


    SELLERS WHO SELL THE SAME SITES OVER AND OVER AGAIN


    This one is a biggie on Flippa. There's so many sellers who sell the same sites over and over and over again. One very common type of site for this kind of seller is Traffic Reseller sites and iPhone hacking sites. But they're not the only types .. movie, celebrity, dating and game sites are common for this type of seller. There's one particular seller on Flippa who's only business is selling the same crap sites over and over again. He was banned from one account, opened a new one and back in business just like that. There's a nifty site to check for sellers selling duplicate sites, here: Flippa Leaderboard. In the first listing, that's just a buyer who uses the same title over and over but the sites are different. Not the case with many of the rest of them.
    and what is sold in many of the signatures of posters in this forum, including the OP?

    I just can't wrap my head around the difference in a free market economy of the problem with selling similar sites with different domain names to different people. Aren't they just providing a service that people don't want to do themselves? Your thoughts???
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by centextkt View Post

      I am not trying to pick a fight at all, so please excuse my ignorance -- but can you explain the difference between this:



      and what is sold in many of the signatures of posters in this forum, including the OP?

      I just can't wrap my head around the difference in a free market economy of the problem with selling similar sites with different domain names to different people. Aren't they just providing a service that people don't want to do themselves? Your thoughts???
      Duh ... that's a no brainer. PLR blogs that are advertised as PLR blogs and sold for anywhere from $11.75 to $25 as opposed to duplicate sites being listed with the implication that it is a one off sale and sold for around $300.

      You want to buy a duplicate site, which is the obvious better choice? You can easily take a PLR blog with it's excellent design, premium theme for pennies and rewrite the articles and have a unique site for a small fraction of the duplicates being sold on Flippa.
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    • Profile picture of the author stephenwaldo
      Originally Posted by centextkt View Post

      I am not trying to pick a fight at all, so please excuse my ignorance -- but can you explain the difference between this:

      ...

      and what is sold in many of the signatures of posters in this forum, including the OP?

      I just can't wrap my head around the difference in a free market economy of the problem with selling similar sites with different domain names to different people. Aren't they just providing a service that people don't want to do themselves? Your thoughts???
      The difference is that those folks advertise and sell their websites/blogs as PLR, these people sell them as unique websites that are identical in both form and function.

      In my case I thought that I was receiving 2 viable business opportunities, and I paid for them as such, it was only later that I discovered that I actually already had 10+ direct competitors who are not only reselling the same thing from the same source, but look the exact same while they're doing it.

      If I'd known I'd need to unique-ify a website that doesn't mean I wouldn't buy it, it just means I'd pay less.

      That's the problem.

      They're withholding information that affects YOUR valuation of their auction, which should be frowned upon if not against the rules.

      Sorry, had to get that in real quick.

      - Stephen
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    • Profile picture of the author sparish75
      How trustworthy is "Verified Google Analytics"?
      I just purchased a site and my main attraction was the search engine traffic with "Verified Google Analytics PDF". But now I have the site the traffic is just a trickle compared to what was promoted.
      How could I have double checked the so called "Verified Google Analytics"?
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      • Profile picture of the author OLechat
        Hi sparish75 -- one thing to watch out for is purchased traffic. Some sellers will buy traffic for a few weeks leading up to the auction, to make their site more attractive, then stop once the site is sold.

        Verified Google Analytics can't be modified by the seller, but purchased traffic can still mislead prospective buyers.

        The best way to protect yourself against this is to look for stable traffic over a long time, with traffic coming from many different countries.

        If you'd like, send me the seller's Flippa username via PM and I'll have a look. This isn't the kind of thing we want on our marketplace.
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  • Profile picture of the author newbieproject
    Hey Suzanne,

    I think I remember seeing that 'eye-catching' logo of yours, but I don't recall every reading much of buying anything of yours, but I gotta tell you, that's a very good expose' if I do say so myself...and I do!

    I had just stumbled across a couple sites (1 being yours) about Google News sites. WOW have I been dumb. I've had one or two news domains for a long time...I'll ask a question related to that on that thread.

    Back to this one, I was just thinking about trying to raise some quick cash and actually build some sites and resell them. This info is a huge help along with some other material I have yet to go over.

    Thanks a bunch,

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author maleeqa
    Hi Suzanne,

    Thanks for heads up. Really good information especially for whoever just got in flippa for buying a website. and its remind me too to be more careful in selling and buying website/blog at flippa.

    I' have had an experienced with flippa, and luckily i didn't jump into the autoblogs, news, and paid traffic (mentioned as 'referred site' at google analytics.).

    As a buyer actually you have the rights to know everything about seller's web before making a bid. and don't forget to check everything before making any moves.

    Anyway, thanks again Suzanne...
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  • Profile picture of the author Lori Kelly
    WOW. Thanks so much Suzanne. Your post is extremely helpful, as always. I have been thinking about getting into website flipping but doing my research first. This helps tremendously and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to write such an informative post.

    You saved me from a potential great loss of cash.

    You should probably send me a bill for your consulting services.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elsoft
    Thanks Suzzane for an elaborate post.This is the best post I have come across on the subject.With so much of scamming around.How do we know which one is a genuine website,which we can buy,especially with new websites on sale in flippa.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamtan
    Awesome post you've got there Suzzane.

    And a big SIGH~~ All these scammers cranking up cr** sites and selling it at dirt-cheap price are hurting genuine site flippers.
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  • Profile picture of the author SuiteJ
    Great tips, and thanks for being a voice in matters like these, Suzanne.

    You can imagine the turmoil in my stomach when I saw that the sales you're talking about were often including 20+ PLR packages that I personally created - many against the terms of my PLR license.

    When it was brought to my attention, I contacted Flippa. I had explained that the sale was against the PLR terms of use, and sent links to my products/offered a copy of my license as further proof. I got a generic response to fill out a bunch of forms, etc. to start an investigation of some sort and I didn't follow up...

    I never filled them out as I was super busy at the time, and also felt a tad dissed by the generic response after I had explained myself/the situation in the initial message. I appreciate you following through.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be even more of this going on over there now, am I right?
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  • Profile picture of the author Jack01
    There is no concern however if you do not violate the NDA. Because the seller's listing is confidential and there is an NDA to find the details does not prevent you from speculating... Again, one of the problems with Flippa's confidential listings is that they only keep the listings confidential to novices in general. I am sure almost anyone here can look at the listings and figure out within minutes what site is being sold (speculate).
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  • Profile picture of the author dagaul101
    Nice tips, it's great to be able to protect yourself from these scams, as many people try to benefit from one's ignorance
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  • Profile picture of the author minisite
    Whats Up sbucciarel?

    Thanks for the heads up. You really laid out many very important points regarding different types of online transactions and how to do it correctly. This particular post of yours will most likely save online buyers and sellers alike hundreds if not thousands of dollars simply because you've pointed out how to avoid some of the most common online scams out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author barbling
    Excellent tips you shared so I blogged about the thread. Thanks for sharing!
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  • Profile picture of the author Manoj V
    I have been browsing the Flippa marketplace with the intention of purchasing a few ready made sites but your post makes me pause and think. Like many other areas connected with IM Flippa is also becoming saturated with scammers. Whether you're buying or selling a website it's good to follow some basic precautions to save yourself from these scammers. Thanks for the useful information!
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    • Profile picture of the author C3
      Wise words! Both buyers and sellers need to be aware of scammers on sites like Flippa and eBay. I sold some great (unique!) digital content a few months back, only to have the scammer then claim that he knew nothing about it and that his credit card had been used without his permission - had to refund him in full (£400+ ) as I'd made the mistake of doing everything online and hadn't sent a copy of the files on DVD/CD. Was able to prove that content had been received and that the address he'd registered with was temp holiday apartment, but PayPal didn't want to know So BEWARE!
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  • Profile picture of the author stephenwaldo
    Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

    SELLERS WHO SELL THE SAME SITES OVER AND OVER AGAIN

    This one is a biggie on Flippa. There's so many sellers who sell the same sites over and over and over again. One very common type of site for this kind of seller is Traffic Reseller sites and iPhone hacking sites. But they're not the only types .. movie, celebrity, dating and game sites are common for this type of seller.
    ...
    Ha, you know, I actually fell for this the first time I tried buying websites, although they weren't on Flippa.

    I bought a traffic reseller website and a backlink reseller website...Whoops. My bad. About 2 days later I happened to be looking around and saw like 10 identical sites to each one that I'd bought.

    And I never tried flipping again.

    Sad.

    But my point is that this is really spot on...This stuff happens, and it could happen to you!

    Thanks for making this post...Bookmarked!

    - Stephen
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  • Profile picture of the author nicolas simpson
    priceless info..

    thank you.
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  • Profile picture of the author salegurus
    Thanks for giving everyone a heads-up.
    IMHO flippa is a rats den scamers, crooks and conmen and i place just as much blame on the site administration/owner's.

    They don't seem to be to worried about providing a platform where the scamers operate with impunity.
    I just think they could do more to protect buyers, but that's me.

    Im sure others will disagree...
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  • Profile picture of the author eibhlin
    GREAT post!

    I'm selling sites on Flippa, and it drives me crazy when I see people selling the same old PLR sites, over & over again, and often selling them for more (per site) than I do.

    Not long ago, I took a course -- it was a WSO -- and the guy told us to indicate "unique content" among the Flippa choices, even if we were using PLR. He suggested that we spin it, of course, but still... I wanted to gag.

    If the "pros" are telling people to do that at Flippa, it's not just their students who are to blame for the problem.

    (Don't get me started on the subject of derivative content, badly-spun articles, and digital garbage.)

    I don't know what the answer to this Flippa issue is, except -- if you're bidding -- check Copyscape for the originality of a few articles. Also, I like the idea of contacting the seller to get a sense of his or her integrity.

    Though I recently sold one site with (legal) PLR content, I was up-front about it. I didn't pretend it was unique or original or anything like that.

    And honestly, I felt sleazy enough that I probably won't sell another site with anything except original, unique articles. The site sold for a fair price, and it was all above-board, but still... it bothered me just enough not to do that again.

    Meanwhile, the economics are troubling. I'm working crazy hours to write well-researched, original content... and I'm left in the dust (financially speaking) by someone currently selling his fourth, nearly-identical Forex site or bodybuilding site, or whatever.

    In most cases, the competitor's sales copy is better than mine. I know that. And, I can't say that he's flat-out lying about his sites, but... yeah, it's a fine line.

    I know the marketplace will get smart about this, sooner or later. At that point -- assuming I'm persistent -- I'll be in a good spot with a great reputation.

    Meanwhile, I'm delighted to see this article. It's exactly right about the scene at Flippa.

    Con artists can be smooth talkers. I've seen that more often than I'd hoped.

    However, I think it's a very good idea to get in touch with the seller ahead of time, to get a sense of his or her integrity. If someone contacts me, I'm happy to talk with bidders, even during a busy week.

    (But, just so you know, my Flippa name isn't "eibhlin." That lovely Irish name is too hard for people to remember at a site like Flippa.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Aarin86
    GReat post for me,I need to learn something like this(article by suzanne)before selling on flippa.
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  • Profile picture of the author Adie
    Signature



    Moderator's Note: You're only allowed to put your own products or sites in your signature.

    Signature edited.
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  • Profile picture of the author Arthur Barn
    Thanks for sharing this Suzanne! This is very useful and helpful.
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  • Profile picture of the author sal64
    Great work Suzanne. Much appreciated.

    Sal
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    Suzanne, seen this clown? Registers a domain 6 weeks ago...puts it on Flippa claiming it has a Verified PageRank of 9. https://flippa.com/2664311-fantastic...ine-to-have-it

    The Cache shot of the homepage brings up an entirely different site - the one with the PR9.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      Suzanne, seen this clown? Registers a domain 6 weeks ago...puts it on Flippa claiming it has a Verified PageRank of 9. https://flippa.com/2664311-fantastic...ine-to-have-it

      The Cache shot of the homepage brings up an entirely different site - the one with the PR9.
      Hey Mal ... long time no see.
      Good to see you back. Yeah, I just saw another thread about that Flippa listing.

      Definitely glad that someone started commenting about the pagerank being fake.

      How to Fake Pagerank

      In order to make it look like their site has a high pagerank, they will redirect the site to a page with high pagerank and it will appear that their site has high pagerank.

      How to Detect Fake Pagerank


      Type the url into Google and then click on the cache for the site. The cache will be the site that really does have the high pagerank. As an example, say they redirect their site to Google. The cache will be Google, rather than their site.

      I recommend not buying domains for pagerank. I stupidly did just that some time ago and the domains lost pagerank within a month after buying them, even though I added content to them.

      Buying a site with pagerank is ok if the site pagerank is legit. Make sure you check.

      But seriously ... even Google now says that pagerank is irrelevant. I don't pay any attention to pagerank at all. Other factors like traffic and revenue are more important.
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  • Profile picture of the author MrJohns
    Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. Now I can buy and bid with confidence!
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  • Profile picture of the author Kal Sallam
    Wow scamers work hard to be scamers,but then It's all for short term purposes.
    I can never understand these people it runs in their family I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
    Flippa doesn't give a **** about people getting scammed as long as they are making a quick buck, and they do make a lot of money. For them it's more profitable when these scam artists sell one site after the other.

    Come on, you mean to tell me that you don't know who these dirt bags selling crap for a lot of money are? How long have you been selling sites for Flippa?

    I"m truly disgusted by the level of scams that are taken place and it's so obvious to anyone with some experience on how to spot these scams... well it's obvious to some but apparently not to Flippa and their money grabbing cohorts.

    Anyways it's part of the IM game - so be it.
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  • Profile picture of the author jayman
    Seems like scammers are everywhere and we don't want
    the internet to be a place where the only one making money are scammers.

    Thanks Suzanne.

    Great info from your own experience and one of the best post here in WF.
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  • Profile picture of the author MoneyMonster
    Its funny i have an auction ending in 4days time and i am scared as hell of someone buying my website and raising paypal dispute...Unless the buyer is a scam buyer and had initial plans to file dispute after he gets the website from you..Else i beleive a buyer should only go ahead to file dispute only if he/she feels theres something fishy after about the 1st month of buying your website...How can the paypal dispute thing be resolved easily
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  • Stay away from the websites that have high page rank and are only 2 months old, especially the ones that are claimed to have high income potentials without actually being monetized. Also the old " I have too many good sites in my portfolio that I need to focus on" reason for selling seems strange if they claim that the site they are selling can make $1500 a month with a little bit of work. I guess they must have some really good sites that they aren't selling. I usually check the keywords that are bringing in traffic to the sites, this is an indication if the site is about piano lessons and the traffic is coming from free internet tv. I use Alexa as a really quick way of looking at a site.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Perry
    Thanks Suzanne for the great post!

    You mentioned putting the webfiles/databases/etc. on a CD and sending it to the customer. Would you also send the files digitally to speed up the process and just use the CD files to give it the 'physical product' designation?

    Take care,

    Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Yeah .. definitely give it to them digitally and on CD.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Perry
      Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

      Yeah .. definitely give it to them digitally and on CD.
      Thanks for the clarification. I'm selling my first high-profile site and I want to make sure everything goes smoothly.

      Take care,

      Kevin
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  • Profile picture of the author RySpencer
    Here is another scam I have seen on Flippa that I dub "The 8 Day Scam"

    The title tends to go like this "Facebook Like Reseller Business, Made $456 in 8 Days!"

    These site were set up 8 days ago and they already made $456, and the owner is selling them for $1000. Of course there are screenshots to go along with these.
    You will find the seller will NEVER tell you what traffic source or marketing he uses, unless of course after you buy the product.

    What these guys do after the sale of "Facebook Like, Youtube Views, Twitter Followers etc..." is be the middle man or actual wholesaler of the product. So already they have ways of driving traffic (or sales) to any paypal account to make it look like they are making the sales.
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  • Profile picture of the author Russel Mogul
    A lot of what has been mentioned here is just straight up arbitrage. If a person buys a tradebit site for $5 then sell for $100 then ain't that good profit? People can be dumb sometimes, let them use due diligence to research fals claims etc .....

    Great post though
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Russel Mogul View Post

      A lot of what has been mentioned here is just straight up arbitrage. If a person buys a tradebit site for $5 then sell for $100 then ain't that good profit? People can be dumb sometimes, let them use due diligence to research fals claims etc .....

      Great post though
      Good profit for the seller and big loss for the buyer. A lot of the buyers are newbies and don't know what due diligence is or what to look for to avoid gettign ripped off. Posts like this one hopefully will help them to know how to avoid the scams.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanjm
    Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post


    HIGH PR SITES THAT WERE JUST REGISTERED A COUPLE OF DAYS AGO

    Domains do not have pagerank. Web pages do, so buying a dropped domain with high pagerank is futile. It will lose all of that pagerank during the next Google update.
    This is false. I have bought hundreds of high PR domains that have retained their PR through multiple updates. The key is understanding how PR works, and finding the domains that will retain PR.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eddie Titan
    Thanks for the info Suzanne.

    More people should know about this and with this comment/bump a few more people will become enlightened
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  • Profile picture of the author Tadresources
    well my favourite one is when they buy off newbies to flippa and say the transfer of the site cant be completed without their full hostgator control panel log in details that would give them access to all of their sites and is a classic scam.

    You have been warned girls and guys.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Tadresources View Post

      well my favourite one is when they buy off newbies to flippa and say the transfer of the site cant be completed without their full hostgator control panel log in details that would give them access to all of their sites and is a classic scam.

      You have been warned girls and guys.
      If you buy a site and you want the transfer to be done by the seller, the seller does require your cpanel login to transfer the site. If you don't want to give out that info, then you will need to transfer it yourself.

      I have transferred many hundreds of sites for people and have had their cpanel login info to do that. I'm not in the least bit interested in someone else's sites on their hosting package. Webmasters/designers do the transfers a lot so you need to deal with people you trust.

      Looking at their feedback is one way or learning to transfer sites yourself is another.
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  • Profile picture of the author JackieGold
    Thanks for this useful post!
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  • Profile picture of the author OLechat
    Hi everyone, Ophelie from Flippa here.
    Suzanne -- that's a great post. We actually published a similar one as a two-part blog post on the Flippa Blog (can't post a link yet), and I would welcome your input there in the comments.

    Regarding PayPal and scammers -- this is one reason we strongly recommend that buyers insist on using Escrow.com. We also encourage sellers to accept payment via Escrow in order to attract higher-quality buyers.

    And regarding scammers in general -- there are over 1500 live auctions at any time on Flippa. We do keep an eye on them, but we appreciate it very much when someone takes the time to point out a less-than-honest-looking listing.

    Finally, we regularly feature case studies of successful auctions on our blog. These can be a good place to see what worked in other cases, and what to stay away from, both as a buyer and a seller.
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    • Profile picture of the author beachblade
      I was recently poking around flippa and you would find a lot of fishy things in what they claim.

      My favorite was a blog that looked really good with lots of posts going back four years but later on I was researching the site and found it was created just a year ago. Hmmmm how could you have posts going back before the site was even created.

      It's mostly garbage but there are some gems here and there but you really have to know how to research what's going on with the site. Even then I would be very cautious and I wouldn't spend a lot of money.

      There's also a lot of cookie cutter websites that a person will crank out one after another.


      Gary
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      • Profile picture of the author 330AT20
        /flippa.com/2690948-exclusive-pr-2-established-press-release-business-1100-per-month

        This is the auction I was just scammed out of. Unfortunately I did not find this thread first. I have disputed the transaction with Flippa, Paypal, and my credit card company. Flippa responded saying if the performance of the website doesn't match the claims of the seller, it doesn't matter. How and why are they willingly letting scammers get away with this crap? Paypal cancelled my dispute because it is "intangible". What are my options? What have other victims done?
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        • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
          Banned
          Originally Posted by 330AT20 View Post

          /flippa.com/2690948-exclusive-pr-2-established-press-release-business-1100-per-month

          This is the auction I was just scammed out of. Unfortunately I did not find this thread first. I have disputed the transaction with Flippa, Paypal, and my credit card company. Flippa responded saying if the performance of the website doesn't match the claims of the seller, it doesn't matter. How and why are they willingly letting scammers get away with this crap? Paypal cancelled my dispute because it is "intangible". What are my options? What have other victims done?
          Hopefully your credit card company will come through, but they might not. I looked at the other listings of this seller and noted that they sell the same site over and over again, just with a different domain. That's one of the things I tell people to look out for.

          I know it doesn't help now, but here's an article I wrote for Flippa on due diligence.

          http://flippa.com/blog/guest-post-th...due-diligence/

          Unfortunately, with Paypal closing the dispute, this might come down to an expensive lesson.
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          • Profile picture of the author 330AT20
            The seller of this listing provided the following information for the initial Dispute lodged for this transaction ;
            " Basically, he is claiming that no sales are coming in. I obviously have no way to prove this, although I can't imagine anyone wanting to lie about receiving sales. My only hesitation is that every other established website I have sold on Flippa has had no complaints. Everyone else that I have followed up with are saying the sales are maintaining as they would expect. I offered to do some backlinking or advertising to help boost his sales, to no avail. "


            The guy wouldn't respond to my messages in the "post-sale discussion" page but this is what he told Flippa after I opened a dispute. Any ideas on how to convince Flippa this guy is a scammer? I noticed the possible links to a suspended account and this one was just signed up for a month ago. Is Flippa clueless? Do they not care? Are they in on it because they collect a success fee off each sale? I still have yet to talk to Paypal or my credit card company in person. I've been hoping Flippa will side with me before I make in person phone calls.
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  • Profile picture of the author iyerkedar
    gr8 post. I was going to sell my 1st website in flippa without ESCROW. Now i will make sure i enable it.
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  • Profile picture of the author BellaB
    Where can one find a good website sale contract? I am interested in selling my e-commerce business on flippa and am soooo glad I found this post first. Thank you!
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  • Profile picture of the author specialized
    Yeah I paid $13 or something for a webinar a couple of months ago about flipping on Flippa, and in it the presenter actually said something like "Yes, I do sell the same low-cost site over and over. There's a demand for it, and I'm willing to fulfill it. If any of you have a moral objection to doing that, then... maybe site flipping isn't for you." (subtext: "If you have a problem ripping people off, you're wasting your time learning from me").

    At that moment, I decided that suite flipping probably wasn't for me, unless there was a segment of it that didn't rely on deception.
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    • Profile picture of the author SandraLarkin
      Banned
      Originally Posted by specialized View Post

      Yeah I paid $13 or something for a webinar a couple of months ago about flipping on Flippa, and in it the presenter actually said something like "Yes, I do sell the same low-cost site over and over. There's a demand for it, and I'm willing to fulfill it. If any of you have a moral objection to doing that, then... maybe site flipping isn't for you." (subtext: "If you have a problem ripping people off, you're wasting your time learning from me").

      At that moment, I decided that suite flipping probably wasn't for me, unless there was a segment of it that didn't rely on deception.
      Well that really isn't site flipping..at all. That was just some $13 guide where the guy sold the same plr site over and over again.

      Really, really dumb business model.
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  • Profile picture of the author RhondaMac
    "A Facebook Acct? Same thing."

    You can get ten Facebook accounts complete with profiles and profile picture for $5 on fiverr.

    Likely the same for other sites.
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  • Profile picture of the author ry6782010
    You know.. After reading this.. I realllly think I'm gonna try and start up my own Flippa like company one day. One without scammers of course. I actually wrote out a ton of ideas for verification processes and etc a few nights ago on a legal pad with all my ideas on it. Would I try to compete with them?.. Not really. But, I would create a private network site that would charge a one time fee of $19.95-29.95 to get into and would have no listing/success fees. Further more, using Paypal as an option for payment?..eff that. I'd most likely use an alternative to Escrow.com. Yes, I'm a 23 year old kid with big dreams/ideas . Can't blame me though. When I first got into IM, SEO from Brad Callen's 7 day course and site flipping is what I studied the hell out of.
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    • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
      Thanks, Suzanne, for the great article.

      Timely too (though the thread is now getting a bit long in the tooth, but what the heck, I'm glad I found it tonight). That's because I'd like to start selling a bunch of my websites (and build new ones on some of the numerous domains I have.

      My question: Will going through Escrow.com really protect me as a seller, especially from credit card disputes?

      I've been burned several times by scammers - for $17 ebooks no less, plus the penalties that PayPal charges for these things. And I don't want this to happen when I actually sell my websites.

      Thanks so much.

      Elisabeth
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      • Profile picture of the author tallman
        Suzanne, thanks for sharing this pertinent information. I had no idea
        this much stuff was taking place.

        By now, I would have thought there would have been a better
        "checks and balance" system in place to at least reduce or
        possibly eliminate the impropriety.
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    • Profile picture of the author TryBPO
      Originally Posted by ry6782010 View Post

      You know.. After reading this.. I realllly think I'm gonna try and start up my own Flippa like company one day. One without scammers of course. I actually wrote out a ton of ideas for verification processes and etc a few nights ago on a legal pad with all my ideas on it. Would I try to compete with them?.. Not really. But, I would create a private network site that would charge a one time fee of $19.95-29.95 to get into and would have no listing/success fees.
      You're not crazy, I promise. This is something we considered as well. In fact...I think if you did a really quality job vetting sellers (and charging them for it) you could even charge HIGHER fees to the seller. A marketplace that protected the buyers more and had less crappy sites and sketchy auctions/sellers would be quite popular, I think. Your initial problem would be attracting the BUYERS...you won't convince the sellers to go there if you don't have buyers waiting. We considered going this route ourselves, but thought we'd just be better off selling our own sites rather than allowing others to sell on our platform.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cataclysm1987
    Fake traffic seems like the most common one. You can even buy Alexa traffic on sites like Fiverr for dirt cheap. So easy to do.
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  • Profile picture of the author yurla
    Thanks for the great info, Susann. Too bad I discovered Warrior Forum way after I was repeatedly scammed on Flippa. Trying to resolve those issues with Flippa or PayPal didn't help. Flippa is too happy to get their fees, so they do not punish scammer sellers. After all, seller, even scammers, especially scammers, bring products to sell, and losers buyers way outnumber the sellers. So for them, scammer sellers are the cash cow. All the suggestions Flippa give for research, for example, using Escrow instead of PayPal, doesn't work, because when I was transferring my payment for a website that I bought via Escrow, Seller made a note in Escrow, that this payment is for DOMAIN only. Not for a "Fully Automated" deal aggregator, but for domain. Without proper knowledge, PayPal looked much more secured. Who knew, that all their protection goes down the drain, because it is a digital product, so they do not cover it.
    And Flippa itself, just closed disputes, without letting me know about their decision about that dispute, when I reopened same dispute, they send me a link to their Terms And Condition, and advised me that on that page they have certain conditions: "under Flippa's Terms & Conditions at we are not responsible for the failure of either party to follow through with their obligations, agreed or otherwise. As such, a Dispute cannot be lodged with Flippa". Search on this page shows this:
    1. Flippa and its Associates are not responsible in any way for the compliance by each Buyer or Seller with the Sale Agreement. Flippa do not guarantee and cannot ensure that a Buyer or Seller will actually complete a sale of a Website or act lawfully in their use of Flippa; and
    2. Flippa merely provides the software and website (being Flippa) by which Seller's may conduct their own Auctions and Private Sales.
    So, almost no one knows and realize it. And how hard is it to make sure that Seller or even Buyer for that matter Comply with their rules? Make me sick. Out of, I would say 7 sites I bought on Flippa, only 2 sellers bother to deliver, and transfered their sites to me. Other 5 don't even bother. They just collected money , rush me to leave a feedback and that's it. Arrivederci. And after my disputе with Flippa and PayPal, I knew there is nothing that I can do.

    So, it makes me wonder, How come there is no forum about flippa Sellers was build yet? Search reveal forum for Flippa Sellers, warning each other about scammer Buyers, but nothing about Flippa Sellers. And looking for all the services offered on Warrior Forum, it does looks like that that forum on Flippa Scammers wouldn't be very expansive to build and to rank? Am I wrong? I even want to invest my own money into it. Would you guys advise me to do so?
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    • Profile picture of the author Hobocat
      Good point ...
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  • Profile picture of the author yurla
    Plus, Flippa stated, that it is impossible to change sales page, or auction desription after the sale, when my seller completely changed his offer, so when I started the dispute, the auction page contained completely different information, according to what he did deliver. And all those options, that I was buying this site for, was't on that page anymore. Flippa denies that it is possible, but it was done.
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  • Profile picture of the author celente
    was ripped off flippa $900 back in 2010, and now I do not do sales without escrow.

    And normally when the other party says we do not do escrow is a big warning sign they are about to scam.

    I would say about even up to 30% of sales there are scams, probably even more. Sad, but true...alot of people in here will know what I am talking about.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ben Armstrong
      The latest trend seems to be selling ready to go SEO or traffic reseller businesses that have earned $XXX in the first month.

      It's bloody annoying trying to find something worth buying in amongst all the crap. The advanced search feature doesn't help either when so many websites are claiming revenue that the sites simply don't and will never make.
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  • Profile picture of the author tpcmedia
    I've bought a couple of sites off of Flippa. Ie a domain that matched my product name. No problems. Not a high volume purchaser though,... and I have never sold anything on there either.
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  • Profile picture of the author SocialFansExpert
    Wow this is great!!

    Thanks for the heads up, but how are they fetching such high prices? Is it possibly a network of bidders?
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  • Profile picture of the author SocialFansExpert
    What step am I missing to get top dollar on Flippa for my sites? I see lots of them fetching over $2000+ but mine are lucky to get $250+

    I basically sucks because I spent a lot of time and effort on every log, premium theme, plugins for SEO, and drive some moderate traffic to these sites.

    Please check out my latest one I listed last night on Flippa. All tips are welcome!!

    I only have 5 posts so I can't post the link here but search for "AutoBlogsPro dot com" on flippa. Thanks!!
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  • Profile picture of the author KeithSneed
    Thanks for this post! I've only browsed Flippa before, but I'm glad I didn't make any decisions before reading this...
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  • Profile picture of the author C29662C
    Banned
    pretty great report.

    I mean, i would like to see 'what to look for' over 'what to avoid' b/c this will scare people away from a lot of good sites as well.

    Negativity only produces further loss.

    As a person who's been selling on Flippa since ~2009/2010, i know i'm struggling to sell properties now-a-days and just wish we could help repair the community a bit via encouragement of what's real
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    • Profile picture of the author hihopes
      C29662C, I couldn't agree more. Positive results cannot come from negative talk. Sure, we should investigate fully before we buy - but that applies to every aspect of business and every aspect of consumerism. Information about possible scams is appreciated, useful and even necessary, but that doesn't mean that we have to dwell on all the bad out there.
      Maybe I am too much of a noob, but I don't see the problem with "cookie-cutter" websites, provided they offer fair value to the buyer. Does a website for a business based on selling services have to be unique in order to offer the buyer a viable business opportunity? I don't think so, as long as the business-op is genuine. Look at squeeze-pages. There are millions of them out there - many absolutely identical - but they do the job they were created to do nevertheless. They all rely on the owner sending traffic to them to do their job, as do service-selling websites.
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  • Profile picture of the author dmister
    Just wanted to thank you for this thread and particularly the first post, if I avoid getting ripped off once it will be fantastic!
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Thanks for the heads up. I do not like flippa anymore. Back in the day site point was awesome. Sadly, that is not longer our case. They are now full of crap pages. Yeah, hundreds of PR1 or PR0 even. All with no traffic as in zero. People sell this garbage to gullible novices. Folks, I can exhale PR5 sites with low alexa scores. What sites I see selling on flippa are not has beens, but more on never were.
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    • Profile picture of the author rankontop
      First I want to say thanks and I wish I would have seen this before listing on Flippa, I did make the right choice in doing the Escrow, but now I'm even scared to sell my site now & I just waisted $30.00 on listing it.
      what a shame.

      But now You got me thinking of going above this with my skills as i see a new way to help people and I might just do that.
      Any one interested in getting together to tackling a giant?
      let me know I have some ideas, but i never share unless your all in.

      @ seobro I'm letting mine go, its a pr6 about average of couple hundred visits a day and unique visitors everyday. 30k impressions last six months.
      I have posted a live video of awe stats and webmaster tools. there hasn't been any fake anything matter of fact i even tell the buyers that. because i took a year off and didn't need to get new customers. So i never monetized it.

      It ends in two days use may profile name here or sig. to check it out.
      I've have the domain for four years along with all my online accounts.

      Thank you all for the insight and knowledge this is a critical thread that the world should know about. they will soon!
      Cheers! Troy
      P.s. Rated excellent!
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  • Profile picture of the author drr
    I've always toyed with the idea of buying sites on Flippa but pulled out because of the obvious lack of transparency.
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  • Profile picture of the author Anita Zhe
    I read your post, and I agree with you about "SELLERS WHO SELL THE SAME SITES OVER AND OVER AGAIN."

    How could this happen?

    I think they buy Niche Blogs/PLR Blogs with resell right from WF or somewhere else for quick and easy profits. They sell these niche blogs in edited or unedited. They sell it over and over again.

    Does people who sell PLR Blogs with resell right under developer's license starts Flippa Scam? What do you think?

    Thanks.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Anita Zhe View Post

      I read your post, and I agree with you about "SELLERS WHO SELL THE SAME SITES OVER AND OVER AGAIN."

      How could this happen?

      I think they buy Niche Blogs/PLR Blogs with resell right from WF or somewhere else for quick and easy profits. They sell these niche blogs in edited or unedited. They sell it over and over again.

      Does people who sell PLR Blogs with resell right under developer's license starts Flippa Scam? What do you think?

      Thanks.
      Geee ... guess you missed a couple of important points about buying and selling on Flippa.

      #1: People who sell PLR blogs sell them very cheap ... much cheaper than you can get the themes and the PLR that they use if you were to buy them yourself, and they list them as PLR BLOGS.

      People who sell the cloned sites on Flippa are not advertising cloned sites and they are not selling these PLR blogs, although some of my customers do make customizations to the content and graphics and resell them on Flippa.

      If you actually do any browsing on Flippa for these cloned sites that are being advertised as if they are original sites, you'll see that they tend to be social media service selling sites, backlink selling sites, movie sites, etc and they go for a whole lot more than the average price of $17-$25 that the PLR site sellers sell their sites for.

      The people who buy PLR sites know exactly what they are getting unless they're dumb as a brick. The people who buy clones not advertised as being clones DO NOT know.

      I noticed you bought a How to Avoid Getting Banned by Flippa WSO and a Game Clone WSO ... oh, and a Movie Script WSO much like all the game and movie clones being sold on Flippa. Funny.
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      • Profile picture of the author Haroon Ballim
        Great and informative thread . No doubt will save a few from getting burned. Website valuation sites in general give highly inflated valuations so avoid using those to obtain a valuation. Flippa also has a valuation tool which gives a broad rating and valuation for your site . If you enter specific details they will email you a valuation , how good that valuation is will depend on the accuracy of the information you input.

        You can find it here : https://flippa.com/valuation

        On another note , the claim that buying domains with pagerank will automatically see those domains lose the pagerank at the next update is not exactly correct. It really depends on the domains you bought , and what you did with them .

        Overall a great thread . Well done
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  • Profile picture of the author napoleonfirst
    The problem with buying sites is that we need to know how to do the due diligence. For instance, SEMrush offers you a lot of data you can use to avoid scams. Most of the tools that Flippa uses are great to protect the money if investors.
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  • Profile picture of the author samjaynz
    Can someone tell me how many years too late I've come to the Flippa party? Every time I head there to look for decent websites to purchase, I come back empty-handed.

    I'm not interested in buying auto-blogs (I could set one up myself in minutes) nor do I want spun content, "high potential - but no real results" or any of that nonsense.

    Are there any "real" websites for sale on Flippa for less than a few thousand dollars?
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    • Profile picture of the author OLechat
      Originally Posted by samjaynz View Post

      Are there any "real" websites for sale on Flippa for less than a few thousand dollars?
      Absolutely. Here's a list of sites earning at least $200 per month, currently above reserve but below $2k.

      These might not all be to your taste, so try using the Advanced Search at flippa.com/search to find sites making more money, or selling for lower prices, or in different niches.

      The key to finding a great site for relatively little money is setting up these searches. The underpriced quality stuff isn't on the front pages; otherwise, it wouldn't be underpriced.
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      • Profile picture of the author carlamae
        Wow, I have bought and sold sites on flippa for a few years, but not on a huge scale. I was scammed before too. Are there any companies out there that can verify more of this information for us before taking the plunge? Even with Escrow, Google Analytics, etc. I'm still kinda scared!
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  • Profile picture of the author nietzsche
    I recently bought a network of 50 sites. Wishing I wasn't scammed.
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  • Profile picture of the author ValueSeekr
    I know that there are some gems on Flippa, but I really can't trust the business model. It seems to be a magnet for scammers. Best to just stay away.
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  • Profile picture of the author Heart Cardio
    Great tips that you have posted here. I did not know a lot of this but now I do
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  • Profile picture of the author dylan4f
    Great thread..btw, it's 2 years old and still living good info never dies
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by dylan4f View Post

      Great thread..btw, it's 2 years old and still living good info never dies

      Thanks. Here's a guest post I did for Flippa on due diligence that goes into basics of due diligence before you buy a site.

      Guest Post: the Domaining Diva on Due Diligence | Flippa Blog | Buy & Sell Websites
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      • Profile picture of the author Haroon Ballim
        One needs to be careful even from sellers with decent ratings . Often a buyer will give a rating immedaitely he receives his site , it often looks impressive visually but in reality they may have way overpaid without immediately realising it.

        A seller recently sold a site with basically 0 income on Flippa for $2300 and got 85 bids . How did he do it . He listed the site showing a nett profit of over a $1000 per month , but than within his description he stated he would not be handing over the existing clients . Now those existing clients were responsible for the nett profit he was advertising but yet he was not including them .

        I wrote to him stating that I felt it was misleading to advertise a certain profit but not include the assets that generated this profit . I even wrote to flippa as not only was he misleading buyers but he could also simply reclycle these clients to a new site of his , showing that income they generate than selling that site but but keeping the ,income generating clients again ,to himself and than repeating the whole process . My email to flippa was only a few hours before the auction closed so by the time they replied , the auction had just closed. And their reply was to that effect that its too late.

        I feel they could still have taken action and saved a buyer from what I think is unethical conduct

        Here is a link to the auction I am referring to : Flippa Auction
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  • Profile picture of the author Hobocat
    Thank you for excellent advice ... Just bought a set of 4 sites ... paid for sites to learn the ins and outs of the game ... not a big investment but hate to be played a fool ... nothing focuses the mind like money especially money poorly spent ...
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  • Profile picture of the author majestic12
    I have been reading this thread and have to say it is extremely interesting, the thing is though it seems to be talking about buyers being ripped off. Funny thing is I have been researching "sellers" being ripped off, I see many horror stories of good domains being sold and the buyer taking the domain and "not" paying.

    I myself have tried affiliate marketing however failed terribly, my thoughts were to build great looking sites with say 20 pages of good unique content. Then sell them as a starting platform to those wishing to market in a niche... example solarsay

    Is there a place where both sellers and buyers can operate however they show their past trading history? this way sellers can see buyers are genuine. Buyers also can see the seller has a good reputation.
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by majestic12 View Post

      I have been reading this thread and have to say it is extremely interesting, the thing is though it seems to be talking about buyers being ripped off. Funny thing is I have been researching "sellers" being ripped off, I see many horror stories of good domains being sold and the buyer taking the domain and "not" paying.

      I myself have tried affiliate marketing however failed terribly, my thoughts were to build great looking sites with say 20 pages of good unique content. Then sell them as a starting platform to those wishing to market in a niche... example solarsay

      Is there a place where both sellers and buyers can operate however they show their past trading history? this way sellers can see buyers are genuine. Buyers also can see the seller has a good reputation.

      Unfortunately, it's a two way street. Sellers get ripped off as frequently as buyers do. If you're selling a site for any decent amount of money, you should absolutely use escrow.com to handle the transaction. There's no guarantee at all that a "buyer" won't file a Paypal dispute after you've given him/her the domain name and Paypal will often side with the "buyer", even though it's an obvious fraudulent claim.
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      • Profile picture of the author majestic12
        Thanks for the reply, I will certainly check out escrow.com..

        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Unfortunately, it's a two way street. Sellers get ripped off as frequently as buyers do. If you're selling a site for any decent amount of money, you should absolutely use escrow.com to handle the transaction. There's no guarantee at all that a "buyer" won't file a Paypal dispute after you've given him/her the domain name and Paypal will often side with the "buyer", even though it's an obvious fraudulent claim.
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        • Profile picture of the author grafx77
          A lot of great information here (especially by Suzanne). I have been very well aware of what to look for when seeking Flippa listed sites to purchase. I have a few tools I use in order to verify the legitimacy of most sites. I can almost spot them instantly now, from just a few unique characteristics.
          However, there is one part of the Flippa process I can't seem to comprehend.....and that is the obvious fake, spammy sites that have been sold for 5k, 10k, even 20k+ (there are A LOT of them).

          Look under the "Just Sold" category on any given day and you'll see an entourage of sites with no organic traffic, 2-4 screenshots, low comments from potential buyers, Alexa rank well over a million, no PR, no incoming links, seller is from India/Indonesia/China, etc, etc, etc, and the site sells for some ridiculous price (again 10k+). How does this even happen?!

          It's obvious shill bidding by the seller, but don't they have to pay that huge fee at the end? So why would they shill bid their listing to ridiculous amounts unless it was actually REAL?!

          Sure there are a few "uninformed buyers" who may be scammed for a few hundred, but when someone purchases a site for 5k+ and doesn't do their due diligence, especially for sites that are obvious about faking traffic/income, I would think that most buyers spending these insane amounts would at least be able to decipher the obvious!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bsperling
    This is certainly useful information! This is a great source of information that will help me with my flipping business
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  • Profile picture of the author Igor Fridrihs
    Most of websites, incl. Flippa become a place for scammers. It's a pity, but it's true. In any case thanks for post. It is really useful.
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    • Profile picture of the author Meharis
      sbucciarel,

      You're always looking to protect warriors.
      I did learn few things from your information.


      Thank you again Suzanne for your excellent article!

      Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author curtcarr
    I too was recently ripped off by Flippa and a seller. You can do as much due diligence as humanly possible, but the truth is revenue and site analytics can be faked. The seller is only worried about his reputation on Flippa and will do anything to maintain his 100% customer satisfied review profile.

    Flippa doesn't really care due to they make $30 per site or domain being sold. From everyone I spoke with approximately 95% of the sites being auctioned on Flippa are bogus non $$ makers. Please be aware before shelling out your hard earned money.

    If anyone wants more information please let me know.
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