Should I buy a website through Flippa

I’ve been a webmistress for more than 16 years now. The sites I bought were few and far between. I don’t own any of them anymore. None of them made enough of a profit to register in my memory.

So, why buy a website at all? Good question. I currently have several websites. I enjoy working on them but I my real passion is and always has been starting new projects. It’s my ADHD, I think. I don’t do well with repetitive work and though I develop my sites with new internal projects (I love those!) I always have new sites at the back of my mind.

I am not doing this for the money. Yes, I make money through web publishing but for me it’s never been about the money per se. My motivation comes in part from wanting to share my thoughts and ideas with the world and making a difference and in part from enjoying the game.

So, where were we? Yes, new websites. Well, my preferred and usual method of operation is to start a new website (case in point, this is the first post in a new blog). I am not a typical “domain hunter” but I enjoy searching for domain names on Godaddy every now and again. It’s also good to get some practice in site publishing, some HTML, CSS, PHP-hacking or just installing WordPress. It’s good to get one’s hands into the mud every once in awhile 😉

That said, a brand new website can take a long while to take off. I don’t play dirty where it comes to site promotion. No buying links (and no selling them either, by the way). I’m not too crazy about social media promotion either. I’ve had mixed results with Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and at this point, I keep SM promotion to a minimum and reserve it to my larger more active websites. I don’t feel it’s a good suit for a new website.

The bottom line is, websites grow like snowballs. They start small and grow in increments. As they grow, the increments of growth grow along with them. It can be a long and frustrating period at first, when your traffic is growing by single digits a week…

So, I’m thinking this in itself is a good reason to buy a young – yet somewhat established – website. If I could find a webmaster who shares my way of thinking and working and if that person is simply a year into a similar project, on a topic I’m interested in, well… in that case, I’ll be happy to pay the realistic worth of said website. If they want to sell, that is.

Which brings me to Flippa. As I said, I’ve not a heavy-player where it comes to domain or website markets. I’ve been eyeing listings on Flippa for some time now and I even placed a few bids here and there. My passion wasn’t in them and I never won. That’s probably a good thing.

I’ve been reading today about buying websites on Flippa and apparently, scams abound. Now, mind, I am not after the “too good to be true” sites that are sold for X2 their alleged monthly revenue. I am too old and wise to fall for such obvious traps, thank you very much. My problem is, I have no idea of knowing whether the ones selling websites for a reasonable X12-X24 the monthly revenues aren’t just blowing up numbers to make even more off a scam. In which case, being scammed out of $12K is going to be so much more painful than being scammed out of$500, right?

Well, as I said, fortunately, I haven’t been tempted by any offer to the point of bidding in the $XXX range. Still checking there on a weekly basis though. In the meanwhile, I’ve been doing some reading and so I want to use this page/post as my bookmark with synopsis. I hope it can help others as well. I found tons of blog posts explaining how Flippa works and providing advice such as “create an account” and a walkthrough. Not too interesting. These three posts however did have some merit in them, for me at least –

How I Lost $650 Buying A Website On Flippa And How You Can Avoid It

In a nutshell : Dave Schneider from Ninja Outreach shares his experience of buying a website that “sells” social media followers. The seller included his “marketing strategies” yet Dave had zero success implementing them. The site tanked despite a lot of effort and some investment.  There are other insights from Dave and it’s an excellent blog post so I highly recommend reading it, especially if this a kind of website you consider buying (it’s not for me).

My take from this: Never agree to take a deal off Flippa. At the very least keep the ability to report a deal and/or leave feedback on a seller.

Website due diligence: How to avoid scams on Flippa?

In a nutshell: Blogger Jasom Dotnet shares the story of a website his company bought via Flippa. Within a day of Google Analytics data it was clear the traffic stated on the sale was 100% generated by bots. Bad bad scammers! Jasom offers a detailed report of everything that was suspicious, both in GA and in other aspects. He seems to know what he’s talking about and offers a service that evaluates sites for potential scams. It’s an interesting post and worth reading. Even if you don’t hire his services, there’s a lot of information you can get from the post itself.

My take from this: You can dispute a site sell within 72 hours and Flippa will get refund your money. – Buying and Selling Websites/Domains

In a nutshell: Eric Borgos providing an overview of his experience with Flippa following more than 100 transactions. It’s an interesting “bird’s eye view” report with less drama and a down-to-earth approach. He’s managed to avoid scams but he does mention that once he took over, almost all of the sites were making half as much as they professed to have been making in the sale description.

My take from this: If you buy, keep your expectations low. The sellers may not be spammers, just overly “optimistic”.

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