4

My First Sell On Flippa: A Big Scare, A Small Scare, And 3 Things That Went Well

In December 2018, I sold one of my niche websites on Flippa. I thought my experience would be interesting for my readers so I decided to write a post about it.

Read on!

What is Flippa?

In the case you never heard of it, Flippa is an online platform for selling and buying online assets such as websites and domains.

Flippa works similar to eBay. 

They provide you a platform to post your listing and tools to track the sales process. Everything that comes beyond that (due diligence, asset transfer) is all on you.

Similar to eBay, you can start an auction or you can go with a fixed price offer. In any case, as I said above, Flippa only provides a sales platform and the rest is on you.

flippa sell website horse

About the Flippa sale

What did I sell on Flippa and for how much?

I sold my Horse 🐎 Website.

I had been owning the website for 3 years at the moment of the sale. 

It was making money mostly from AdSense and a little bit from Amazon Affiliate program. I bought the website via Empire Flippers. At that time, they were still selling small and cheap websites, which is not the case anymore.

I sold it for the multiple of 20.

The multiple was the same I paid when I bought it from EmpireFlippers 3 years ago. However, the final amount I got was ~11% higher compared to what I paid. The reason is that the website was making more during the last 3 years compared to the previous period before I bought it 😉😜😝

Why did I sell?

The ultimate question, right? 😉

You are not alone in your curiosity! 🙂

So many people have asked me this question.

I sold it because it did not fit into the niche where the rest of my websites are. I am consolidating my online assets because it’s much easier to work with websites that are in the same (or similar) niches.

Horse 🐎 Website did not fit my other niches at all. And I decided to sell it and put the money into developing the rest of my portfolio.

Why did I choose Flippa?

There are sooooo many other online brokers out there. Why choose the one I claimed as “no good” and where buyers and sellers are all on their own?

The answer is very simple: The other brokers are not interested in small websites that make less than $500-1,000 per month.

My 🐎 website was making $110 a month and clearly, it did not fit the strict income criteria of the brokers.

Flippa and its DIY approach seemed to be my only choice (and after all, I love DIY!) It was definitely a bit scary to do it on my own but I trusted myself to do everything right.

Still, when you do something for the first time, most likely, it is very likely you would do some mistakes. And something may go quite wrong.

I was not an exception.

Here are two scares I had during the process that might have even destroyed the sale.

flippa sell website scares

A big scare 😱

I thought I would be stuck with the website forever!

🐎 website makes money via AdSense and it has been the case since its very birth 4 years ago. The original owner obviously did not have problems with approving it by AdSense and no did I 3 years ago.

However, it seems that in 2018, AdSense became much more strict in their approval process.

So after getting the website, the new owner tried to get it approved for a brand-new AdSense account. He was in a hurry because he bought the website for his AI advertising company and needed it for work.

Guess what…

He got rejected 😱

According to Google, the reason was that the website had scrapped content 😱😱

He tried again with some old account – and got rejected again 😱😱😱

This was really when my heart skipped a few beats.

I started preparing myself for getting back the website, returning the money, and for a long website recovery process… or just abandoning it… 😢

Fortunately, my buyer did not give up that easily! (I really chose him well)

He did some investigation on his side and discovered that the website was unacceptably slow. According to gtmetrix.com, it got C for PageSpeed score and D for YSlow Score – with the ads disabled 🙀

Once the speed was fixed by changing the WP theme, the website got finally approved (on a third AdSense account 😼).

😅😅😅😅😅

👉🏻 Conclusion: If your website makes money from AdSense (or any other platform) w/o problems, it does not mean your buyer can do the same! 

In the niche website domain, everything including getting approvals changes very quickly. Next time, I may try to get a new (AdSense) account and to approve the website on it to avoid such unpleasant surprises.

A small scare 🙀

I thought I would be banned on Flippa!

While negotiating the price and conditions with the buyer, we agreed that he would pay via PayPal and compensate for the fees.

So I accepted the offer and sent a request to pay via PayPal. However, the buyer had trouble paying it since Flippa did not show him any UI to do the payment.

That was quite strange 🤔 The buyer was insisting he paid somebody else via PayPal on Flippa just a couple of weeks ago.

Turned out that since a week or so, Flippa had stopped allowing PayPal payments over $1,000 😱

What to do? Cancel the sale?

The buyer was pushing me to send him a PayPal invoice outside of Flippa. He claimed Flippa won’t have any problems with it.

I kinda believed him but at the same time, I had concerns 😐

Meanwhile, we were in the process of talking to the Flippa support. Maybe, they could make an exception and allow us to finish the sale via Flippa+PayPal?

Eventually, Flippa said no, the buyer paid me outside Flippa, and I was left wondering if Flippa was going to ban me 😩😭

But all ended well.

In fact, Flippa does not care how the payment was made. What’s important is that the seller pays its fees and none of the involved parties complain about the transaction.

👉🏻 Conclusion: Be up to date with the rules of the platform you are using.

Do thorough research of the platform its best selling practices in advance before posting your listing. I was a bit careless and maybe even naive in believing a stranger that it would work. And I do not want to have this scare again.

3 things that went well 😊

All well that ends well 😀

Still, despite all the scares and misfortunate events, the sale went through! 🎉 I got the money and positive feedback on Flippa (my first one!) – and it all went super fast.

Now, looking back, there were three things that I think went quite well:

1️⃣ Establish trust by being transparent

Since Flippa is a kind of black box for both sellers and buyers, being transparent is important for both parties.

In order to achieve that, I added my blog URL to the website listing description. And it did not go unnoticed.

At least two potential buyers (one of them was the final buyer) checked it out and asked me the same question: Why didn’t I mention the website in my income reports? 😂 I explained that I do not disclose my website URLs in my blog due to potentially getting a competition.

2️⃣ Be present for questions

It’s just a good sales technique.

A potential (good) buyer will have a ton of questions that need to be answered quickly. If the seller does not reply or they are simply slow to do so, the buyer may switch their attention to other websites with owners who are faster to provide answers.

Also, it is true after the sale. You need to be available for the questions of your buyer so that the transfer can finish quickly. 

3️⃣ Avoid suspicious buyers

This is just How To Sell 101 thing.

You don’t want to sell to someone who will disappear in the last moment or cause you trouble later. You want the pre-sale and post-sale process to go as smoothly and with as little problems as possible. Also, you do not want a situation to happen when you missed a good buyer only because you already got stuck with a crappy one.

Doing a seller’s due diligence of buyers is a must.

In my case, I think I did it pretty well.

One of the guys I was in private talks, was quite interested in the website.

He claimed he owned a couple of other websites in the same domain. All sounded good but…

Once he started asking more detailed questions about my website, it became clear to me that he had not that much experience with the affiliate website industry. I checked his Flippa profile… and turned out he bought a few websites in the past and already got 3 disputes 🔴🔴🔴

I asked him about it and he said that the other sellers sold him crap… Maybe it was true… Or maybe not? Maybe, he was not experienced enough to deal with the website transfer and acquisition properly?

In any case, I decided to not deal with him.

The final buyer was nothing like that.

He also tried to be transparent by giving me a link to his blog and using his company’s email for communications. 

His Flippa profile was 4-year-old and had 100% positive feedback from 3 completed transactions👍🏻

In the end, he indeed turned out to be trustworthy and problem-less 😀

flippa sell website relief

Flippa website sell aftermath

“Don’t be afraid, everything will be fine,” I kept telling myself during the sale process. “Even if you don’t sell your website, it will be a good experience! And you will have something really interesting to write in your blog 🤣” 

And it did turn out to be fine! 😀

I made some mistakes but did well one of the most important things: Choosing a good buyer.

Not only he knew exactly what he wanted, but he also had a good experience with Flippa and knew how to do the website transfer. He also turned out to be a decent person and not a fraudster.

Hope my experience will help you when you decide to sell your first website on Flippa. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a small fee if you choose to buy after clicking on any of these links. Thank you if you do! 🤗

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments