+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 27

Thread: Empire Flippers Marketplace

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Fullerton, CA
    Posts
    37
    Thanks
    22
    Thanked 15 Times in 10 Posts
    Rep Power
    3

    Empire Flippers Marketplace

    Was wondering if anyone has had any experience purchasing sites from empireflippers(dot)com? I have been following there podcast for awhile and was thinking about purchasing one of their sites. One of the things I don't like is the 20% non-refundable down payment to see the site you are purchasing. I understand they do this to protect the sites from competitors but it is still tough to fork out that money on something you really know nothing about. Has anyone worked with them before? If so, how was your experience? Any idea how they vet their sites on their market place?

  2. #2
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kent - the garden of England
    Posts
    6,166
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    4,297
    Thanked 3,342 Times in 2,133 Posts
    Rep Power
    95
    I've heard of Empire Flippers before but have never used their marketplace so I can't comment on the experience of using it. However, Justin Cooke is a member of Experienced People so perhaps he'll wish to comment about it himself. He may well even be happy to answer your questions. (Empire Flippers is run by Justin Cooke and Joe Magnotti.)

    Meanwhile, there are a few posts dotted around here by or about Justin Cooke which you might find useful:

    http://experienced-people.net/forums...eFlippers-here
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...Google-traffic
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...ur-from-Flippa
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Saigon, Vietnam
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 83 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    7
    Hey OP,

    I hear what you're saying regarding the non-refundable 20% deposit. If it makes you feel any better, there aren't many customers that have paid the deposit and lost their cash - that wouldn't be very sustainable.

    The reason we charge the 20% is because some of the sites we list/sell aren't very defensible. Their position in the market isn't strong enough to ward off attacks from new competition. When the barrier to entry is low, it makes sense for us to hide/protect the niche. This actually came about as a request from buyers early on, which is why we implemented. (They didn't want to buy the site and end up with a bunch of copycats)

    Sharing everything about the site for sale (including niche, URL, etc.) tends to get us more exposure and we've done it for some premium sites, but only where there's a large enough barrier to entry to ward off copycats.

    Last thing - all we do is verify that the site's traffic and earnings up to that point are legitimate and ensure the person we're dealing with is "real". No guarantees (implied or expressed) are made regarding how the site will perform for you post-sale.

    I know you were looking for 3rd party comments so I'll step out now, just wanted to share some perspective from our side. Best to you!

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to TryBPO For This Useful Post:

    Kay (2 January 2014)

  5. #4
    aka "bryanon"
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    671
    Thanks
    79
    Thanked 165 Times in 79 Posts
    Rep Power
    14
    The 20% non-refundable deposit thing is an interesting one. I came across this already a few months ago and I must admit - my first thought was whether anybody would ever agree to pay this, as it seems wrong and very unconventional. But obviously they do (or I'd expect you to have removed it by now) so validation wins / I lose.

    With that said, it still seems quite weird, for two reasons:

    1) Unless I fully trusted you (and if the majority of your clients do then I'm happy for you!), I'd like to see a site, be able to analyse its link profile, run background checks on the seller, etc. before paying such a high percentage. As someone who has a fair bit of brokerage background, I can say from experience that even good serial buyers typically buy only every 3rd or 4th site that they take a look at. This, in your case, would mean that for such buyer the price of an average asset would increase by 60-80% !

    2) Traditionally, what you're trying to achieve with the deposit is achieved through speaking to buyers on the phone to gauge whether they're likely someone who is genuinely interested or likely tyre kickers, through having them sign an NDA and send in ID verification (which most copy-cats would never do) and through asking for proof of funds. This, whilst a little bit more time consuming for the broker, achieves the same thing but without the horrendously large "prospectus fee" (I don't really want to call it a deposit).

    3) Perhaps most importantly - wouldn't the fact that you need to protect your sites from copycats automatically make these sites a bad investment? If a random guy from the street can come and replicate the site after seeing the URL, and hurt the site's revenue (which appears to be the main reason for the "prospectus fee"), then so can the seller, or their cousin for that matter, assuming that the seller themselves has signed a non-compete. Personally, I wouldn't pay more than a couple of months revenue for sites that are so easy to replicate / run over as you can't feasibly expect any site to remain a "secret" for very long.

    Not trying to be a pain and in general I like what you guys are doing (someone needs to cater to the sub-$10k market out there and there aren't many who want to do this and who can make it financially feasible for themselves), just thought I'd speak my mind as I honestly think there's a fair few things very wrong with this fee structure.

    Cheers,
    Bryan

  6. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Bryan For This Useful Post:

    Clinton (3 January 2014), crabfoot (3 January 2014), DomainMagnate (13 January 2014), dymockpoet (7 January 2014), Kay (2 January 2014)

  7. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Saigon, Vietnam
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 83 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    7
    Hey Bryan,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm a big fan of your business partner and think you guys are on to something over at Centurica.

    I understand the approach is unconventional and I (like) to think that most of our buyers/sellers have some level of trust with us. Most of those who end up buying don't stumble along our site and make their first purchase...they've been following us for some time. They learn a bit more about how we do business through our blog, podcast, etc. before making a decision to purchase.

    1) The numbers regarding your 60-80% fee work out, but are theoretical. That's not the case with most of our buyers. Maybe surprisingly, but most buyers sub-$10K don't bother with the (non-refundable) deposit at all. For larger premium sites, we sometimes offer a 5-10% refundable deposit. It's less protective of the niche, but ensures the buyers have at least a portion of the cash they're looking to spend.

    2) We do get on the phone with buyers and sellers at times, but rarely for sites in the sub-$10K range aside from the vetting process. There tends to be more involvement on our part for the $20K-$60K sites for sale, but the payoff and ROI is there for us as well. The $10K - $100K range is new for us, so we're treating it with a bit more of a hands-on approach.

    3) A "random guy from the street" probably couldn't replicate the site, but with sites in the $5K - $50K range there are definitely some aspiring web entrepreneurs that are willing to have a go at it. This is especially true for content-based sites, dropshipping sites, sites that primarily get their traffic via paid advertising, etc. A couple of months revenue probably wouldn't be accepted by the seller, but you're free to make a bid if you're an interesting customer. Otherwise...

    As you mentioned at the top of your post, I think validation stands here. We're far from having everything figured out, though. We've found a model and method that works and we'll continue to refine what we do to better serve our clients and ourselves.

  8. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to TryBPO For This Useful Post:

    Bryan (3 January 2014), crabfoot (3 January 2014)

  9. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    550
    Thanks
    51
    Thanked 278 Times in 120 Posts
    Rep Power
    16
    One thing I don't understand is whether Empire Flippers is selling websites that they own to their customers, or are they a marketplace/brokerage where they work with the sellers to find buyers.

    Having said that, I cannot imagine in an industry so rife with fraud as this one, blindly sending off a "deposit" on a website without seeing the domain. Even from someone I trust. I wonder, though, as you state that your customers are all people with whom you've worked with extensively, have built up relationships with, why is the trust only in one direction? You expect them to trust you, yet you do not trust them?

  10. The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to petertdavis For This Useful Post:

    Brodie (20 August 2015), Kay (6 January 2014)

  11. #7
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Posts
    15
    Thanks
    18
    Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts
    Rep Power
    4
    I won't be buying a site from them until they remove the fee, or at least make it refundable.

    I understand the need to ward off copycats, but the solution to that is surely to vet buyers, whether by telephone interview, or some other way, not by penalising serious buyers who want to do due diligence and who wouldn't ever commit to buying a site before they had done so.

  12. The Following User Says Thank You to dymockpoet For This Useful Post:

    Brodie (20 August 2015)

  13. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    550
    Thanks
    51
    Thanked 278 Times in 120 Posts
    Rep Power
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by dymockpoet View Post
    I won't be buying a site from them until they remove the fee, or at least make it refundable.

    I understand the need to ward off copycats, but the solution to that is surely to vet buyers, whether by telephone interview, or some other way, not by penalising serious buyers who want to do due diligence and who wouldn't ever commit to buying a site before they had done so.
    My thoughts were that if a site is really that easy to copy, there's very little chance I'd really want to buy it anyway. One of the reasons I like investing in forums is because they're very defensible. In fact, someone with minimal experience in web development could "copy" one of my forums very well in an hour or two. All that needs to be done to copy it is register a domain, buy hosting and software licenses, then install and configure the forum. The part that can't be copied is the community that uses the site. I really don't know what kind of site is so indefensible that you should have the fear of God that someone could copy you. I guess I should just be happy that I'm not invested in sites that can be easily knocked off, because Empire Flipper's non-refundable deposit isn't going to stop anyone from finding the site through other means. Anyone who's buying a business, whether from these guys or anywhere else, should always take into consideration the defensibility of the business.

  14. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to petertdavis For This Useful Post:

    Brodie (20 August 2015), DomainMagnate (13 January 2014), Kay (8 January 2014), Thomas (8 January 2014)

  15. #9
    Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Saigon, Vietnam
    Posts
    82
    Thanks
    14
    Thanked 83 Times in 41 Posts
    Rep Power
    7
    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis View Post
    One thing I don't understand is whether Empire Flippers is selling websites that they own to their customers, or are they a marketplace/brokerage where they work with the sellers to find buyers.
    We currently do both, Peter. I don't know if that's the best approach long-term, but it's worked for us at this much lower level. Have you been around our site much before? The fact that you don't know the difference between our sites for sale and the "vetted" sites for sale has me worried we're not very clear on communicating that distinction.

    Quote Originally Posted by dymockpoet View Post
    I won't be buying a site from them until they remove the fee, or at least make it refundable.

    I understand the need to ward off copycats, but the solution to that is surely to vet buyers, whether by telephone interview, or some other way, not by penalising serious buyers who want to do due diligence and who wouldn't ever commit to buying a site before they had done so.
    Some of the sites we list are completely public while others DO include a refundable deposit. It depends on the site and they're labeled. (Clearly, I hope)

    No offence, but you wouldn't likely be a good customer with our current model.

    There are a plenty of brokers that don't have deposits and will get on the phone for vetting. (FE International, Quiet Light, TSS, Digital Exits, etc.) You're free to go with the model you prefer. Enough have chosen our model to validate it, but we're under no illusions that ours is the only (or best) way, necessarily.

    We're trying to solve the $10K - $100K problem in 2014. (Previously we were sub-$10K) We're open to changing the model if it's not working, of course. One of the issues most brokers find is that they'd rather focus on a $300K site than a $40K site as there's enough $$ in the deal to give the seller and prospective buyers white-glove treatment. That doesn't leave a solid place to go at the lower end of the market and we're looking to solve that problem creatively. If we had to constantly be getting on the phone and vetting potential buyers, that would (I think) require too much time and make that section of the market not worth it to us.

    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis View Post
    My thoughts were that if a site is really that easy to copy, there's very little chance I'd really want to buy it anyway. One of the reasons I like investing in forums is because they're very defensible. In fact, someone with minimal experience in web development could "copy" one of my forums very well in an hour or two. All that needs to be done to copy it is register a domain, buy hosting and software licenses, then install and configure the forum. The part that can't be copied is the community that uses the site. I really don't know what kind of site is so indefensible that you should have the fear of God that someone could copy you. I guess I should just be happy that I'm not invested in sites that can be easily knocked off, because Empire Flipper's non-refundable deposit isn't going to stop anyone from finding the site through other means. Anyone who's buying a business, whether from these guys or anywhere else, should always take into consideration the defensibility of the business.
    Seems like a bit of a rant with "my approach is better than their approach" thinking. :-( Once you solve one set of problems (copied sites) you open yourself up to a host of others. (running forums) There are a ton of different types of sites you can build or purchase. (Forums/Communities, AdSense sites, eCommerce sites, SaaS apps, affiliate sites, etc.) A blanket statement saying that one group is better than another as if it were that black-and-white seems a bit too simplistic.

    I do agree that taking defensibility into account is an important part of buying, though. How big/deep is the "moat" around the business/castle? How high are the walls? Typically, the more valuable a site is the more defensible it is, although there are glaring and scary outlier examples of where this is NOT the case, heh.

  16. #10
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Kent - the garden of England
    Posts
    6,166
    Blog Entries
    2
    Thanks
    4,297
    Thanked 3,342 Times in 2,133 Posts
    Rep Power
    95
    Quote Originally Posted by TryBPO
    We currently do both, Peter. I don't know if that's the best approach long-term, but it's worked for us at this much lower level. Have you been around our site much before? The fact that you don't know the difference between our sites for sale and the "vetted" sites for sale has me worried we're not very clear on communicating that distinction.
    I was a little bit confused at first too. It becomes clearer if the visitor clicks through on the "browse websites" button. I'd have preferred a prominent message on the homepage. Maybe even a strapline. Perhaps you need to spell out "what we do..." a bit more so new visitors know they're in a place which offers what they're looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by TryBPO
    We're trying to solve the $10K - $100K problem in 2014. (Previously we were sub-$10K) We're open to changing the model if it's not working, of course. One of the issues most brokers find is that they'd rather focus on a $300K site than a $40K site as there's enough $$ in the deal to give the seller and prospective buyers white-glove treatment. That doesn't leave a solid place to go at the lower end of the market and we're looking to solve that problem creatively.
    People keep asking where they can buy good quality sites at the lower end of the market, so there's plenty of buyers for this. I've been trying to find the answer too but it ain't easy because of the apparent dearth of good places to buy. It'll be great if some people can find creative new solutions to solve the problem. Good luck to anyone who's attempting it.

    Quote Originally Posted by TryBPO
    ...Seems like a bit of a rant with "my approach is better than their approach" thinking.
    I thought that Peter asked a couple of valid questions which potential buyers would want answers to.

    Why does the trust only seem to work one way with your existing clients, ie people you've built up an established relationship with?

    Why should an established site be so concerned about being copied? If it's built up a good customer base or community, then it's much harder to copy.
    British Expat - helping people to live and work abroad since the year 2000.

    The joy of Internet delivery - the cartoon illustrating this will make you laugh!



+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. Empire Avenue for SEO
    By Dave in forum SEO & Search Engine News
    Replies: 190
    Last Post: 4 August 2013, 10:06 pm
  2. Replies: 121
    Last Post: 16 October 2012, 11:23 am
  3. Once Just a Site With Funny Cat Pictures, and Now a Web Empire
    By tke71709 in forum General & Miscellaneous
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 14 June 2010, 10:05 am

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts