Flippa Buying Guide – 101 – Newbie Alert!
Flippa.com is a marketplace for buying and selling websites. You can, in theory, pick up real bargains within their listing but how do you know that the person you are buying from is telling the truth about the website in question?
In this Flippa buying guide, I will talk you through the cautious steps you need to take before deciding to place a bid on a Flippa listing. Buying high quality, legitimate and profitable websites from Flippa is very straight forwards, but you have to be aware of the following aspects.
Why Is Flippa.com Potentially Dangerous?
There is a whole host of very, VERY poor quality websites for sale on Flippa and, unfortunately, these are almost exclusively sold to newbie affiliate marketers because they do not know any better. Therefore it is important to have the knowledge and foresight to spot these suspicious listings before you place a bid on them.
How To Spot Low-Quality Websites;
- Is the content unique?
- If the website has a lot of “direct” traffic then avoid it.
- Is the website less than 12 months old but has a colossal amount of traffic?
- Does the proof of income actually state where the statement is from. In other words, if the proof of income does not say clearly the name of the website then that proof could be from any website.
Inflated Traffic & Sales Claims
It is very easy to inflate the traffic to a website. You can join traffic exchanges, put your URL onto PTC (paid-to-click) sites in order to boost your page views by tens of thousands. The same can be achieved with your sales. Either someone can take screen shots from other accounts, which have nothing to do with the website on sale, and claim that this is the proof of income. Or, they can simply use their own affiliate links to boost sales because that will increase the value of the whole website drastically.
How To Spot Manipulated Traffic & Sales Claims
- Is there a sudden boost in traffic that appears suddenly. Example; Does the analytics suddenly jump from 200 hits per day to 5,000?
- Does the website increase in revenue in the month before it is listed on Flippa?
- Are there any discrepancies between the analytics screenshots? Do all the dates match up?
Websites With Bogus Business Model
There is also a large amount of sites which claims that the site for sale can make thousands of dollars by using some “easy” techniques. The author will make statements such as;
- “Easy money”
- “Guaranteed Profits”
The websites in question usually involve some sort of outsourcing or drop shipping service where you sell a service which you then pass on to a third party who does the work for you, such as;
- selling social likes and followers
- drop shipping of products – kids toys, drones, etc.
- article writing services
How To Avoid Being Ripped Off
Do Some Background Checking Before You Bid
If you find a website that you want to buy, why not do some background checking. Head over to SemRush and tap the URL into the search box. What comes up?
- Are there hundreds of backlinks? If so, does that correlate to the domain age of the website you want to buy? If the website listed is only 6 months old but has 200 backlinks then there is something very wrong because those backlinks will probably not be natural and will damage your SEO.
You can also run the URL through places like Moz.com and Mejestic.com to check for spam score, page authority and to just get a feel for what the site is about. Also, to confirm any statemtns that the author is making about keywords, SERP positions etc, etc.
Check out the author’s page on Flippa and consider some of these points;
- Is the author brand new?
- Does he have positive feedback?
- What kind of sites did he/she sell prior?
- Are you able to contact the person who purchased the previous website and ask if everything went ok?
- Are all the positive reviews on his profile from the same person?
Use Common Sense
You have to “read between the lines” when you buy from Flippa because the description which the author writes, even though well intentioned, can be VERY MISLEADING. I talk about this in the video above and I will show you how to dissect the information in a proper manner.
If you are unlucky enough to buy a bogus website then there is a small element of fault on your side because you have to do your own due diligence when buying something as delicate as a website. believe me, I have been there. One of the first websites I purchased on Flippa was just a PLR, “Guaranteed Profits” nonsense and I am so embarrassed that I was stupid enough to buy it!
But that is, unfortunately, the best way to learn.
Think About The Seller
Look at the listing as a whole, and think to yourself, why is the author selling this site?
The usual reason will be something like;
- “I need money for my next project”
- “I don’t have time to focus on it”
- “I have don’t know how to develop it further”
Again, this comes down to due diligence. If you are about to bid on a site which claims to make $500 per month, on autopilot – why is the seller only asking $600 for it?
If something seems to good to be true, it always it! Especially when it comes to buying and selling online with anything related to Internet marketing/Affiliate marketing.
Another point to think about is this. If the author claims that a site can make thousands of dollars with a special autopilot secret which only he knows, why doesn’t he/she do it himself instead of selling a website on Flippa for $100? Right?
Use The Transaction Contract
This one is important. When you find a website you want to buy make sure you draw up a contract BEFORE you transfer any money. At least this way you have something to fall back on if there are any disputes over the sale.
You can find a sample contract here on the Flippa support site.
Can You Find Real Websites For Sale?
Absolutely! There are countless bonafide, quality and legit websites on Flippa. Once you have waded through all the rubbish ones then you have a healthy choice of very profitable websites to choose from.
The thing that separates the low-quality and high-quality listings is the amount of information available.
With a legitimate listing there will always be ample amount of information available;
- Google analytics
- Income proof – clearly labelled
- Traffic sources
- Business model – clearly outline exactly how to make money
- No outrageous future income claims
Even with a legitimate listing, you need to have a certain amount of due diligence but you can see that there is so much more information available. A website that is selling for $5,000 which has very clear documentation, lot’s of comments and answers with an honest description can still be fake or misleading – but it is much less likely!
I also suggest you check out the “Editor’s Choice” listing because these are all completely legitimate and are easy to bid on. (I assume the editor has vetted these sites)
If you want to buy a website that is a genuine article with future potential then you need to be careful, regardless of where you buy it from. There are many behind the scenes aspects which you have no control over such as;
- previous black hat SEO attempts which can damage future SEO strategies.
- an unknown factor in the website’s niche that will damage sales but which the current owner is not divulging to you.
- there may be legal issues with the websites content over copyright or branding issues which you are not aware of.
A Buyers Safety Checklist BEFORE Bidding!
When buying from Flippa please use this guide to help you make a decision. If you tick more than one of these boxes BEFORE you place a bid then you need to be VERY careful.
- Is this the author’s first listing?
- Has the website been listed previously on Flippa within the last 12 months?
- When you search the URL in MOZ, SEMRUSH or MAJESTIC, does it have a LOT of “fake looking” backlinks?
- Does the description promote guaranteed profits or an easy “autopilot” method of monetizing the site?
- Is the documentation labelled, matching and does it look legitimate?
- Is the website vastly underpriced?
I hope you found this Flippa buying guide of some use and please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any experience with Flippa.