A year ago, I used Flippa to make my first sale of a website. The website sold for $12,500. You can read about the steps from start to finish how I built and sold the website here. Today isn’t to talk about building websites or how to sell them.
Today I’m gonna reveal my personal experience of selling a website on Flippa. This was the first time I ever sold a website, and while I consider it a success, there are definitely elements that I liked about the process and parts that I wasn’t a fan of.
Background of The Website I Sold
The website I sold was a rideshare blog that was created using the knowledge and experiences I’ve gained from driving for rideshare companies like Uber.
At the beginning of the website’s creation I always intended on selling it. The blog was a temporary website that I felt I could build an income stream with fairly quick because of the low-competition at the time in comparison with other websites in the industry.
While the progress did not happen as quick as I’d have liked due to a lack of effort during periods of times, I was still able to create a small income.
By the time I decided to sell the website I was averaging close to $600 a month.
During my search on a marketplace to sell my website there were a few options I looked at but in the end Flippa seemed the easiest and most straightforward to complete the process on a website transaction.
Start of the Flippa Process
My plan was to travel the world and have my website sold before I started traveling.
At first, I was curious about the worth of my website and wanted to get an evaluation. While I did perform my own research of determining the price of a website, Flippa also had an option. So I entered my domain to start the process.
I was given a questionnaire to complete requesting information about the website history, my business model, the monthly income, why I’m selling it?, etc… Since I was looking for an evaluation, I answered the questions, but was not very thorough because I was under the impression this info would be for Flippa to give me an accurate evaluation.
The last question being asked was “What’s the lowest price I’d sell for?”
However, After finishing the questionnaire I never got an actual estimated value. Instead it went more along the lines of “This looks like a great opportunity for the right buyer!”. Then asking if I was willing to run this as a 14 day auction with the reserve price a few thousand dollars lower than the price I wanted and offering the services that I could be provided with selling through them.
Truth be told, it was never really an evaluation. It was questions being answered to set me up for an auction, but not what they think my website could go for. This left a little bit of disappointment in my mouth.
I ignored the last email because I was curious about the price but not selling at that moment.
Almost two months later, I decided it was time to sell. Since I already started the valuation I decided to go back to the email and respond.
In the email the services offered were:
- Listing Optimization & Strategy Plan
- Free Premium Upgrade ($249 Value)
- Assistance with Negotiations & Closing
- Posts on Flippa’s official Twitter & Facebook accounts
- Free Flippa Upgrades (bumps to the homepage, tweets, etc.) throughout the auction
- Listed in the featured section of Weekly Websites Newsletter sent to over 330,000 people
- Editors’ Choice inclusion (pending due diligence)
Editor’s Choice was one of the more exciting options as the management team would be placing me in front of a ton more people. The process happens through:
- Posting about the auction on their Twitter and Facebook accounts
- Getting featured on the homepage
- And Getting listed in the featured section of the weekly website newsletter.
Because of all these awesome services I was gonna receive, I would be giving a slightly higher commission without any other fees. I decided if this will get a deal done and potentially at a higher price than it would sell otherwise, I figured why not. it’d be worth it.
After responding and agreeing to the awesome features for a slightly higher commission, I verified ownership of the website, sent my P&L statement, and finished answering any other info needed.
Two days later, my auction was posted on Flippa.com.
The First Problem I Had Selling On Flippa
This is where I realized my first real issue with Flippa that left some disappointment. The problem was the questionnaire I answered a few months earlier for my website evaluation was never about info they needed. The questionnaire was used for the auction without any adjustments to what I wrote.
When I filled out the questionnaire, I used short sentences and one word answers to fill out the information that was requested of me. I was never told these answers were going to be shown to potential buyers. So anybody that looked at the auction could’ve thought a preschooler wrote the information about the website.
Bad grammar and broken sentences doesn’t exactly scream “buy my website!”. I’m sure you could agree that this would be a turn off when you are investing a lot of money into a business you are interested in, right? Presentation is everything.
Had I known how my information was going to be used I would’ve been more descriptive and thorough to answer any question a prospect may have regarding the business they are interested in.
If you examine the other listings with more comments, bids, and interest being shown you can see those auctions were 10x more appealing, well-written, and precise than what I had provided. It makes a difference.
When I realized this mistake it was already too late. I got a bid for $1 on the first day and once you get a bid you can’t change or rewrite the listing which was my intention after discovering how unappealing the description of my website looked with the one word sentences. Had the listing been well written and more descriptive I’m sure more people would’ve shown interest.
I thought the “Listing Optimization & Strategy Plan” meant a quality written description for the business being sold.
The Second Issue with Flippa
When you agree to a service and everything that’s provided with it, you expect everything to be provided on day one that was explained to you. This is how I feel and I’m sure you can agree. However, I did not feel this was the case on Flippa.
In order to be put on editor’s choice where your website gets featured on the homepage, there’s a due diligence team that does research about you and the website. After they perform their own review, they will send you some questions that they may have about the website being posted.
A few of the questions I received was asking me to send proof of income, if there were previous owners of the domain name, and if all the content was 100% mine.
After they are satisfied with your responses and their research, then you can get featured. The issue here isn’t the questions. It’s the fact that it took them two days after the auction was posted to even send me a message asking for information. Then a couple days later I started seeing my Rideshare blog getting featured.
I paid I higher commission so I could have more exposure to interested buyers and the point is to get the exposure on day one. Not half way through the auction which is basically what I felt happened. I’m OK waiting a couple extra days to provide all the information that’s needed to receive the services I was promised. But that wasn’t how the process worked for me. Which probably hurt the price of the sale as less people were finding me.
The Third Aggravation with Flippa
If you look back at the services and upgrades I’d be receiving for the help from the management team. You can see that up to this point I had been pretty disappointed with what I was actually being given in reality. unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there.
I was also promised tweets and post on Flippa’s Twitter and Facebook page so I can reach more of their followers. The more exposure equals more interest which equates to selling at a higher price because the demand will go up. But it didn’t work out that way for me. During the entirety of the auction, while I did see a few other websites with much higher monthly incomes being posted, I didn’t receive a single tweet or Facebook update about my auction.
It’s always disappointing when you pay a commission for more exposure and they don’t go through with it.
I could’ve created my own listing at a lower commission and had it written in a much better way to sell my website if I knew I wasn’t getting what I promised.
Some of the Benefits of Selling on Flippa
So far I’ve only talked about the issues I’ve had selling on Flippa, but I don’t want that to distract you from the fact there are some good elements to the selling experience too. I just want to quickly highlight some of those before I go any farther.
Flippa is One of the Biggest Marketplaces to Sell a Website
When you are looking to sell a website you want to get as much exposure as possible in order to receive the highest possible price. With Flippa executing millions of transactions throughout the years, you definitely get the kind of exposure you would be looking for during the selling process.
It’s not something to take lightly and I was happy with the interest I had received selling on Flippa. There are other marketplaces, but there isn’t more than a couple that are as big as Flippa.
Communicating with Interested Buyers
Between interested parties being able to comment on the listing to help answer unanswered questions and the private messaging system, I thought the communication process was very simple and easy to use. When I wasn’t on the website I received email notifications about new comments and private messages.
So this made it much easier for me to reply immediately instead of taking an extra day before I noticed. I found this very helpful and it always excited me when I especially got the emails. I didn’t have to constantly go back to the website if nothing was going on and enjoyed the whole process of interacting with the different prospects.
Can Manually Accept or Deny Bids
I actually had one person ask me to deny there bid before I ever accepted it, though I forgot the reasoning. Everybody on Flippa that sells and buys websites can get left feedback from previous transactions. Since you are selling something of high value, you want to make sure the people bidding on your auction are trustworthy and will follow through with a payment if they end up winning the auction.
Since you don’t have to accept a bid from every person, this allows you to send a message asking about their interest. Plus, you can check out if they have any history or feedback on Flippa to help keep only people of real interest bidding on the listing.
which brings me to the next point…
Flippa Has a Feedback System
Like I just mentioned, after each transaction the buyer and seller are allowed to leave feedback for each other. This helps build trust and allows you to sort out, at least partially, the trustworthy from the untrustworthy on Flippa.
You don’t want to associate yourself with bad business people since it’s usually gonna hurt you. Having a feedback system in place helps give you some assurance with who you’re dealing with.
Can Relist For Free
There’s no guarantee you are going to sell your website, especially on the first try. If you look at selling a house sometimes they can be on the market for years before you find a buyer. While I did sell my website on the first attempt, there’s definitely some appeal of knowing you’ll get a second chance if the first time doesn’t work.
If you are selling a high-quality website, I’m not sure how you won’t be able to sell on at least the second attempt unless you have a really boring niche (sorry guys and gals).
Free Flippa Escrow Account for Transactions
I do get into this shortly later, but part of the trust with selling is believing you will get your money when you transfer ownership of your business. Flippa escrow is the middle man between your money and transferring ownership of the business you are selling.
During the process of transferring your website to the buyer, the money you’ll receive will get placed in this third-party account. once the transfer is complete the money gets released to you. Since Flippa was already holding onto the proceeds from the sale, I didn’t have to worry about the buyer disappearing once they received ownership of my Blog.
How the Last Day of the Auction Went Down
The last day my listing was still at $900 as the highest bidder, but then jumped up to $5,000 and then $6,000 quickly. After how the last 24 hours progressed I got an offer from one seller specifically asking if they could buy it now for $7,500 and call it a day. I turned down the offer because that was less than the reserve and I had other interested parties too. Shortly later He came back again with a buy it now offer of $10,000.
This time the offer did meet the minimum reserve I was asking for, but with other interest I felt I could’ve done better. So I turned the offer down again. Eventually we settled down for $12,500 with a promise of quick payment (within the hour) so I finally accepted with 9 hours before the auction ended. $6,000 was the highest bid at the time.
I might’ve been able to get more had I waited. However, With 9 hours left and nobody offering higher I wanted to take the offer instead of risking getting thrown a lower offer after the auction if the site didn’t sell in the last 9 hours. I’ll admit I was a little worried even though there was other interest. So maybe my worry was for nothing. But I was happy with the price, and it was pretty close to market value so I didn’t need greed biting me in the butt.
Once you find a buyer, and end the auction, you work with the other party to set up the transfer of the business and the money the website was sold at. This process was pretty simple.
Transferring Ownership & Receiving Payment
Like I mentioned earlier, One thing I do like about Flippa is they have a free Flippa escrow account you can use for the payment and transferring process. So once the auction ended the buyer sends money to the third party Flippa account to hold while the transfer of the business is in process.
So before I started the transfer of the business I waited to confirm payment into the escrow account which I don’t actually have access too. Once the money is confirmed, then you start the transfer of property. Most of the work was actually done on the buyers side for me. I just had to send some info about where my website was hosted and transfer the domain name for them to complete the process on their end.
Once you complete the property transfer you can then request payment from the escrow account. The buyer then releases the money which gets deposited straight into your bank account.
This process helps keep both the buyer and seller honest since the money is held in a third party account. This reason helped me with the trust of giving something of that much value.
Final Thoughts About Selling a Website on Flippa
After reading about my experience selling on Flippa you may be put off a little bit because of some the promises that weren’t fulfilled. This was my experience and I guess I touched mostly on the more disappointing parts of the selling process which I didn’t intend to do but was the voice that came out of me.
Aside from the few problems I had, overall, I did enjoy the process. Had I not paid an extra commission for an account manager to help set everything up most of these problems I mentioned would’ve surely disappeared. I had a higher expectation because I was receiving help, but listing the website on your own and creating the description, I believe, would’ve been more beneficial.
I paid an extra 2.5% commission which was an extra $312.50 than I would’ve setting up the auction myself. I could’ve upgraded the auction to get featured on the homepage for less than the extra commission I paid out. Which, in my opinion, was really the only fulfilled promise I did receive out of the agreed upon services.
The layout of the dashboard and communicating with people I thought was a very easy system. Flippa is one the biggest, if not biggest marketplaces to sell your website on. You’re definitely receiving more exposure than many other markets places because of this.
While I haven’t tried other marketplaces to sell a website, I wouldn’t say Flippa is the best business to go through for your needs. Flippa’s Marketplace is certainly flooded with a lot of low-quality websites due to the low-barrier to be eligible to sell on there. Which I think can deter some quality website buyers because of that fact.
In the end, I received in the range of what I was expecting. Because of that, I’m definitely overall satisfied with how my experience went with Flippa. In the future, If I ever do sell more websites, I will test out other marketplaces to see the difference. On the other hand, I also doubt this will be my only experience with using Flippa as a buyer or seller.
If you are interested in seeing the process from start to finish on how I built and sold my rideshare blog for $12,500, click here.
Have you ever sold a website? What was your experience and who did you sell with? Tell me in the comments!