Flippa - Who's Buying and Why

by Jay F
29 replies
I've read a lot here about people building up websites to flip on Flippa. But, I haven't seen any threads on how to buy and profit from buying a site on Flippa.

This appeals to me because it would seems as if most of the work was done. If I buy a mature site, my focus would then be on marketing.

So, are there are stories of anyone who has purchased a site on Flippa and turned that into real ongoing profits?

Or, is buying on Flippa not really worth it?
#buy #buying #flippa
  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Dunn
    They're a diamond in the rough. Not easy to find, but every now and again a high quality site with a lot of traffic pops up where the owner just doesn't know how to monetize the site properly.

    I haven't bought many sites, but I sell a lot of my older properties. Most of them are under marketed and have huge potential, but I don't have the time or interest to work on anymore.

    I'd say it's hard to just randomly search the site and find big winners, but if you keep an eye on things, opportunities will present themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tadresources
    I've seen people have great success with this, but I haven't ventured into it much myself.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I've had a lot of success buying off-Flippa, building up & then selling on Flippa. Here's a guest post I wrote for Flippa's blog. It covers the basics of finding undervalued websites and building them up so they're worth some serious money.
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    StoreCoach.com- Learn How to Dropship the Right Way - Buy & Sell Websites - Partner with Coach
    My PROVEN ecommerce process, as seen on: Fox News, the NY Times & Flippa
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    • Profile picture of the author Johnny12345
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      I've had a lot of success buying off-Flippa, building up & then selling on Flippa. Here's a guest post I wrote for Flippa's blog. It covers the basics of finding undervalued websites and building them up so they're worth some serious money.

      Thanks, Dave.

      Your guest post was interesting.

      John
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    • Profile picture of the author Challendge
      Originally Posted by dave_hermansen View Post

      I've had a lot of success buying off-Flippa, building up & then selling on Flippa. Here's a guest post I wrote for Flippa's blog. It covers the basics of finding undervalued websites and building them up so they're worth some serious money.
      great post! I've had some success on Flippa and I'll be back on today looking for some more using your tips. Thanks Dave!
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay F
    Thanks Dave. That is a good starter article. The points are very similar to what Ryan states in his reply. Find traffic that you can monetize.

    The biggest challenge is doing your due diligence. I'm guessing you can spend hours digging through flippa and really find just a few nuggets. But, those nuggets could be gold.

    Unfortunately, it seems that Flippa is filled with very small niche sites. That's a lot of digging through to get to the good stuff.
    Signature

    I'm working on some new things. So, nothing to promote just yet.

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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Jay F View Post

      Thanks Dave. That is a good starter article. The points are very similar to what Ryan states in his reply. Find traffic that you can monetize.

      The biggest challenge is doing your due diligence. I'm guessing you can spend hours digging through flippa and really find just a few nuggets. But, those nuggets could be gold.

      Unfortunately, it seems that Flippa is filled with very small niche sites. That's a lot of digging through to get to the good stuff.
      Adsense sites are very popular on Flippa. Just click on the most active tab and you'll see what most are bidding on and commenting on. I also check out the Just Sold tab to see what people are buying and how much they're paying.

      Buyers love that passive Adsense income, but not all the sales are Adsense sites. This one, https://flippa.com/2722811-publishin...-2-m-vid-proof, went for $35K today and this one for 11K sells a physical product https://flippa.com/2715734-buy-a-mon...ck-the-details

      There are plenty of established sites on Flippa that are more than just small niche sites, but you do have to do some browsing.
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      • Profile picture of the author Premier Plugins
        Originally Posted by sbucciarel View Post

        Adsense sites are very popular on Flippa.
        I've noticed this also and have thought about getting into this in the future. I imagine if you have some money and are able to spot good value Adsense sites, you can build quite the income from acquiring Adsense sites.

        I imagine many people are doing the same. Which is why well built, well promoted Adsense sites sell so quickly and for decent returns.
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  • Profile picture of the author llank
    Finding diamonds on Flippa are hard. Went on a spree last year with about a dozen different purchases. One high profile purchase of $X,XXX amount for adsense sites. 1 month in they got hit hard by a Google update and for the most part only show up on Bing now.

    Bought some Amazon sites that did pretty well for a while as well until they got hit by an update as well. Was looking for passive income streams but they barely do anything now.
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  • Profile picture of the author JasonGiorgini
    I've bought 2 websites off of Flippa. The main thing I look for when buying is if the website has verifiable traffic. One of the websites I was able to turn profitable after only 3 months, the other had fake traffic stats, and I still haven't found out what to do with it. The seller disappeared. The one site I was able to make profitable I monetized via adsense. The main thing is don't pay too much for a website I think.
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    • Profile picture of the author HelenaB
      Originally Posted by JasonGiorgini View Post

      the other had fake traffic stats, and I still haven't found out what to do with it. The seller disappeared.
      Hi Jason - is there any way of verifying traffic stats prior to purchase? I'm guessing that unscrupulous sellers don't care about being reported etc - they just disappear?
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  • Profile picture of the author pwk2000
    Buying a diamond in the rough can provide an amazing ROI. For me, I only look for established sites with a track record. Sites that are missing an opportunity, where you can quickly profit from that traffic for a very fast and fat ROI. An example might be a car classifieds website that is not trying to promote car insurance. Or doing it poorly.

    I am not sure I would buy a site unless I knew I could amp up its earning quickly. That's how you can create value quickly.

    My advice, buy sites that have natural links; not manipulated junk.
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  • Profile picture of the author DanMurray
    Build your own assets i say.

    Flipping as a business can be lucrative and generate nice lump sums of cash if you get it right. But there's so many people flipping websites with no traffic or revenue, it's unlikely that it's possible to make money with them
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkUSA
    To be honest, I admire the people who are buying them for being so brave. Considering a site with decent traffic costs $1000+ and you're at the mercy of Google and could lose your rankings anytime, I couldn't force myself to click the button even though I have the money and the ROI seems good.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I like to find the niche market first & find the under-utilized website after that. Use a good niche finding tool (like this one that I designed) to find a market and then see if there are any under-performing websites within that market.

    Basically, what you're looking for is a website that's breaking one of the big conversion rate rules:

    - Not taking credit cards on site
    - No trust graphics in the template
    - Awful looking website in general
    - Has a clunky and/or out-dated checkout process
    - Has no phone number or live chat options available

    These are websites that are likely under-performing and the owners rarely realize the worth. The website I mentioned in that article was ranking #2 in Google for my main keyword phrase & they were rarely making sales. After I obtained the domain name and overhauled it, I was averaging at least 5 or 6 sales daily.
    Signature
    StoreCoach.com- Learn How to Dropship the Right Way - Buy & Sell Websites - Partner with Coach
    My PROVEN ecommerce process, as seen on: Fox News, the NY Times & Flippa
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  • Profile picture of the author Simmeon
    Small amounts of quality sites pop up every now and then.
    It's the most know place to sell and buy hence the high appeal.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brooke Milt
    I feel like a lot of the sites are cra**y over inflated bull. You really have to have a keen eye and do lots and lots of due diligence. I can't even begin to imagine who would be buying on Flippa but I would think it's newbies who don't know any better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jay F
    Actually, I had never really looked at Flippa until a couple of days ago. I thought they were mostly adsense or affiliate sites. I had no idea there were a lot of direct ecommerce sites.

    So, it's a fairly broad market. But, it seems as if everyone is saying buyer beware. That strikes me as ironic since it seems as if the model of many here are to sell on Flippa.

    I'll probably try a site or two. I'm curious about the whole process.
    Signature

    I'm working on some new things. So, nothing to promote just yet.

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  • Profile picture of the author jpete
    I also buy & sell on Flippa on regular basis... I generally look for good domains and poorly designed sites with potential...

    Important you must confirm traffic stats and domain age as there are some sellers out there who show fake statistics.

    Good Luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author Joan Altz
    A lot of autoblogs are sold on Flippa and turnkey websites that sell services, primarily traffic, backlinks, fan follwers....over and over and over....same people selling the same sites. Flippa is a boring marketplace imo, but I do continue to monitor it for discovering buying trends of niches and domains.
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  • Profile picture of the author blillard
    I wouldn't buy a site from flippa to try to resale there because people can just look to see if the site has been previously sold there and for how much? I would look to buy a site else where and add the needed changes if needed to add more value then try list it on flippa. But that is my approach to it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sparhawke
    How do you actually verify true traffic?
    Signature
    “Thinking is easy, Acting is difficult
    And to put one's thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world ~ Goethe”
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    • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Jay F View Post

      Actually, I had never really looked at Flippa until a couple of days ago. I thought they were mostly adsense or affiliate sites. I had no idea there were a lot of direct ecommerce sites.

      So, it's a fairly broad market. But, it seems as if everyone is saying buyer beware. That strikes me as ironic since it seems as if the model of many here are to sell on Flippa.

      I'll probably try a site or two. I'm curious about the whole process.
      Here's a post I did for Flippa on due diligence.

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

      Originally Posted by HelenaB View Post

      Hi Jason - is there any way of verifying traffic stats prior to purchase? I'm guessing that unscrupulous sellers don't care about being reported etc - they just disappear?
      Originally Posted by Sparhawke View Post

      How do you actually verify true traffic?
      Insist on seeing referring urls for the traffic. I bought one before I knew what due diligence was and it had great traffic. When I got it on my host and checked the AW Stats, all the traffic was from cheapo traffic resellers. None of it was from Google or backlinks or other legitimate sources.

      I had to contact her and insist several times that she stop of the garbage traffic so I could rehab the site and get real traffic to resell it.
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  • Profile picture of the author eibhlin
    I've bought and sold at Flippa, and I love both sides of the auction business.

    I'm going to assume that you're talking about getting started as a Flippa buyer, and you'll sensibly start with a couple of inexpensive sites, just to see how auctions work, what to look for... and what to look out for.

    At that level, I wouldn't spend more than $500 on a site unless it had years & years of solid numbers -- verifiable at Alexa, etc. -- and I was willing to put the time into maintaining it at least at its current level of activity.

    I'd also scrutinize the content at the Wayback Machine, to make sure the site didn't have a radical facelift for the auction.

    Yes, that sounds terribly cheap, but those rules apply to five-figure+ auctions, as well. The questions are: Are the numbers reliable? How much work is necessary to maintain the site at that level and improve it? Is this a genuine diamond in the rough, or is something not evident in the listing?

    After all, there's a reason the site is being sold, and it's a good idea to know exactly why.

    In most cases, the site is faltering due to one or more reasons:
    • The niche isn't nearly as strong as it once was, and trends are moving away from it. (The site may still be excellent, if it's tweaked to appeal to the buying audience that'll always be interested in it, regardless of trends.)
    • The site owner is stuck in a time warp and hasn't kept up with the niche. (This can be a diamond, if the site's older numbers were good.)
    • Outsourcing the work isn't as reliable or inexpensive as it used to be, or recent laws (or enforcement of old laws) -- relating to privacy, etc. -- are making outsourcing impractical. Medical transcription services/middlemen come to mind, in this category.
    • The site owner did something truly stupid, like pay someone at Fiverr for 10k backlinks, overnight, and the site is just beginning to plummet at Google, etc.
    • The site was built using content that's about to be its downfall... like illustrations hijacked from Google Images, etc., and replacing all of them is more than the site owner wants to tackle.
    • The owner bought the site from someone else, had a quick reality check when he (or she) saw how much work was required, and he's getting out while the site's numbers are still good. (That can be another diamond opportunity.)
    • The site owner is bored out of his (or her) mind, regarding that niche, or has other reasons not to have time for an otherwise good website. (These reasons are usually something like health issues, new triplets in the household, or a job promotion with lots of travel.) This can be a diamond, as well.
    If it's a mature website, I'd want to be sure it's earned legitimate backlinks and repeat visitors. Especially among mature websites, the content should be good enough that it's attracted people organically.

    If it hasn't, or its popularity has faded to almost nothing, your work may involve more than marketing.

    At the really low end -- usually under $300 -- when I buy a site it's because so much of the foundational work has been done for me. I'm looking at the domain name, site design, and quality of the content, as well as the viability of the business model.

    I estimate how much it would cost me to do the same, from scratch, and bid accordingly.

    There are diamonds there. I was astonished when I recently acquired a truly remarkable site for just $10. This may well be the site my kids fight over, to see who'll inherit it. It's that good. (Really.)

    Almost any site I buy will need better content, and usually a more modern site design. Marketing is the last thing on my checklist.

    In that really low price range, I never count on traffic and income numbers for accuracy. (And I'm on high alert if they look far too high.) The site has to look good enough that I'd buy it with zero traffic and no income.

    However, don't trust my price guidelines. I'm talking about what I'd pay for a site, not what they're asking.

    A few months ago, someone with a risque icon (blonde woman with low-cut white blouse, pseudo-business-y) and slightly-sexy username was auctioning websites with outrageous claims for income and traffic, and "she" started the bidding high. Sadly, the seller was successful with two or three customers, and then vanished leaving a trail of bitter feedback.

    So, always check feedback.

    Private messages can be another good way to estimate the integrity of the seller and what's really going on. If I'm selling a site for more than $500, and certainly one in the four-figure range, I have no problem talking directly to the prospective buyer to answer his or her questions. I always want people to have realistic expectations when they buy a site from me.

    My best advice is to buy a few sites in the very low price range, to get a sense of how Flippa works. Then, you'll have a far better foundation for buying a site worth a serious investment of time and money.

    I'm not sure if those insights are helpful, but I hope so!
    Signature
    Artist, blogger, and author of a bazillion books, more or less. Find me at Eibhlin.com
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    • Profile picture of the author Jay F
      Originally Posted by eibhlin View Post

      I've bought and sold at Flippa, and I love both sides of the auction business.

      I'm going to assume that you're talking about getting started as a Flippa buyer, and you'll sensibly start with a couple of inexpensive sites, just to see how auctions work, what to look for... and what to look out for.

      At that level, I wouldn't spend more than $500 on a site unless it had years & years of solid numbers -- verifiable at Alexa, etc. -- and I was willing to put the time into maintaining it at least at its current level of activity.

      I'd also scrutinize the content at the Wayback Machine, to make sure the site didn't have a radical facelift for the auction.

      Yes, that sounds terribly cheap, but those rules apply to five-figure+ auctions, as well. The questions are: Are the numbers reliable? How much work is necessary to maintain the site at that level and improve it? Is this a genuine diamond in the rough, or is something not evident in the listing?

      After all, there's a reason the site is being sold, and it's a good idea to know exactly why.

      In most cases, the site is faltering due to one or more reasons:
      • The niche isn't nearly as strong as it once was, and trends are moving away from it. (The site may still be excellent, if it's tweaked to appeal to the buying audience that'll always be interested in it, regardless of trends.)
      • The site owner is stuck in a time warp and hasn't kept up with the niche. (This can be a diamond, if the site's older numbers were good.)
      • Outsourcing the work isn't as reliable or inexpensive as it used to be, or recent laws (or enforcement of old laws) -- relating to privacy, etc. -- are making outsourcing impractical. Medical transcription services/middlemen come to mind, in this category.
      • The site owner did something truly stupid, like pay someone at Fiverr for 10k backlinks, overnight, and the site is just beginning to plummet at Google, etc.
      • The site was built using content that's about to be its downfall... like illustrations hijacked from Google Images, etc., and replacing all of them is more than the site owner wants to tackle.
      • The owner bought the site from someone else, had a quick reality check when he (or she) saw how much work was required, and he's getting out while the site's numbers are still good. (That can be another diamond opportunity.)
      • The site owner is bored out of his (or her) mind, regarding that niche, or has other reasons not to have time for an otherwise good website. (These reasons are usually something like health issues, new triplets in the household, or a job promotion with lots of travel.) This can be a diamond, as well.
      If it's a mature website, I'd want to be sure it's earned legitimate backlinks and repeat visitors. Especially among mature websites, the content should be good enough that it's attracted people organically.

      If it hasn't, or its popularity has faded to almost nothing, your work may involve more than marketing.

      At the really low end -- usually under $300 -- when I buy a site it's because so much of the foundational work has been done for me. I'm looking at the domain name, site design, and quality of the content, as well as the viability of the business model.

      I estimate how much it would cost me to do the same, from scratch, and bid accordingly.

      There are diamonds there. I was astonished when I recently acquired a truly remarkable site for just $10. This may well be the site my kids fight over, to see who'll inherit it. It's that good. (Really.)

      Almost any site I buy will need better content, and usually a more modern site design. Marketing is the last thing on my checklist.

      In that really low price range, I never count on traffic and income numbers for accuracy. (And I'm on high alert if they look far too high.) The site has to look good enough that I'd buy it with zero traffic and no income.

      However, don't trust my price guidelines. I'm talking about what I'd pay for a site, not what they're asking.

      A few months ago, someone with a risque icon (blonde woman with low-cut white blouse, pseudo-business-y) and slightly-sexy username was auctioning websites with outrageous claims for income and traffic, and "she" started the bidding high. Sadly, the seller was successful with two or three customers, and then vanished leaving a trail of bitter feedback.

      So, always check feedback.

      Private messages can be another good way to estimate the integrity of the seller and what's really going on. If I'm selling a site for more than $500, and certainly one in the four-figure range, I have no problem talking directly to the prospective buyer to answer his or her questions. I always want people to have realistic expectations when they buy a site from me.

      My best advice is to buy a few sites in the very low price range, to get a sense of how Flippa works. Then, you'll have a far better foundation for buying a site worth a serious investment of time and money.

      I'm not sure if those insights are helpful, but I hope so!
      Great reply. Thank you for your insights.
      Signature

      I'm working on some new things. So, nothing to promote just yet.

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  • Profile picture of the author Manoj V
    Who's buying and why on Flippa? People who are looking for money making machines, and people who want to turn sites into money making machines and sell them for even better profit.

    Whether you buy a ready-made site to flip, or sell a comparatively newer one that you might have put together, it always boils down to how much the site yields in terms of profit. If you have a profit making site you can sell it for five to ten times its monthly profit, higher if it is using Adsense.
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  • Profile picture of the author AndrewAU
    What to buy is going to come down to your own skills, budget, interests etc. How to buy is pretty well universal which is why we put together the pro guide to buying websites: https://flippa.com/guides

    Outside of that, as both @sbucciarel and @dave_hermansen, its worth checking out some of the related categories on our blog:
    - http://flippa.com/blog/category/buying-websites/
    - http://flippa.com/blog/category/case-studies/
    - http://flippa.com/blog/category/selling-websites/
    Signature

    Flippa Marketplace: Buy a website | Sell a website

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  • Profile picture of the author ascension777
    Banned
    [DELETED]
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    • Profile picture of the author JaynKeth
      This is my personal experience.

      When I started IM, I found flippa, I got so exited and checked all the site that was for sale. I bid on one that show the amount the seller had made from adsense and the traffic proof he had, and the seller had a long list of testimonials. So I thought the site was the best. After I have paid, the seller gone missing, no response from him entirely, and I contacted flippa , all flippa did was to ban the seller. And the seller had my money, and I have no website.

      I guess I was plain unlucky. Just want to share my experience so others can take note too.
      Signature
      Stay consistent and FOCUS!
      This is the best system to succeed in internet marketing.
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