In the past year, Flippa.com has become a major player in the domain name sales business, so I thought I would share the experiences I have had with them.
Over the years I have bought and sold around 100 websites on Flippa.com, starting back when it was just a section on the SitePoint.com forum named SitePoint Marketplace. In 2009 it spun-off into a separate website and they added a lot more features. Ever since then it has been the leading spot on the Internet to buy and sell websites. What is amazing is that there has never been any real competition for it. If you want to buy or sell a website, it is the only place worth going to.
Personally, I have not found buying or selling websites on Flippa to be very profitable, but at least it is very easy. Many of the sites being sold are really good deals, because the owners are selling for a good reason, like they need cash for an emergency, got a full-time job and no longer have time to run the site, are having health problems and can’t run the site anymore, or can’t handle the web hosting. I did not have any sites I bought where it turned out the seller was trying to scam me, although I know that does happen. On average, I would say the sites I bought made only half as much income as the sellers claimed they were making, and traffic generally went down in the year after I bought them. Almost every site was a big project to move to my server, so I highly recommend trying to take over the seller’s web hosting account so that way you don’t have to deal with moving the site, or at least not right away. I also many times would ask the seller to change the ads to use my ad code instead of theirs, because otherwise by the time I moved the site to my server and figured out the programming enough to know how to change the ads, many weeks would pass. If you have a talent fixing up and getting traffic to sites that need help, then you could make a lot of money flipping sites on Flippa. It is just not something that I was good at. I was good at the technical and business parts of taking over the sites, but not at adding value to them.
As for selling sites, for the low $19 listing fee (plus a 10% commission if it sells), your site is almost guaranteed to get some bids (Flippa uses an auction format, although you can also have a fixed “Buy It Now” price). The sites I have tried to sell get bids much lower than I hoped for, but if I were desperate for cash at least I would be able to sell the sites to somebody. I have never had much luck trying to sell sites on my own, and there are very few brokers who sell sites, so using Flippa is the best option.
More recently, Flippa has started to handle a lot of domain name sales, and they are trying to expand this business even more right now (I know this because I am in contact with some people who work at Flippa). Because Flippa uses auctions (which have a limited duration), the sales prices of their domains are lower than the typical prices domain brokers try to get, so there are some good deals to be found for buyers. Also, I am not sure of the stats for website sales, but for domains, the majority of large Flippa sales are negotiated after the auction is over, when the seller is more desperate and willing to accept a lower price. So, just because a domain does not get sold, don’t give up, make the seller an offer instead. As a domain seller, Flippa is not the first place I would try to sell my domains, but it is an option worth trying. Because you can set a hidden reserve price (the minimum you would sell it for), you have nothing to lose other than the $9 listing fee per domain.
Here’s 3 of my recent Flippa listings:
Weights.com – It ended up selling for $36,500.
Physical.com – I am hoping to get at least $40,000 for the domain. I paid $42,500 on Sedo.com for it back in May of 2011.
TipTopTens.com – I am selling this site and 13 other WordPress sites as one big package. I paid over $120,000 for these sites from various sellers over the past few years. My reserve price is $10,000 but I am hoping they will sell for a lot more. The sites get around 100,000 visitors a month combined, and have around 3500 unique custom written articles. UPDATE: It sold for $11,600.