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Thread: Filtering the timewasters and tyre kickers when selling a site

  1. #11
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton
    The deposit is one way to go, of course. I remember reading about that experiment/policy of yours in a thread here somewhere.
    The discussion about charging a deposit is contained in this thread:
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...rs-Marketplace

    I also thought that a deposit would provide a useful barrier to entry but was unsure if this would be allowed under Flippa's rules. If you charged a nominal deposit of, say, $10 you'd probably weed out 90% of the idiots. I'd say it should be refundable - it would probably still work to prevent the type of buyer you're talking about from cluttering up your auction. The problem is that I can see how a whole scammy sub-industry could develop on Flippa with people making a living out of taking deposits rather than selling sites.

    Re "hating" things. It seems almost inevitable that if you call a spade a spade, or describe what a spade does, someone will accuse you of hating spades. It's happened to me too on here. I wonder if there's a "law" about it. You know, like Godwin's Law or Murphy's Law.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton
    I call out the BS Flippa pulls - and make no bones about the fact that they and many of their accomplices are opportunistic scam artists. That's calling it like I see it. I have no "hatred" for a website, that wouldn't be smart. I have contempt for the people who've done some of the things Flippa management has done.
    In case anyone missed it, we have a very recent prime example of the type of thing Clinton is talking about here:
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...oming-industry
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  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    The deposit is one way to go, of course. I remember reading about that experiment/policy of yours in a thread here somewhere. Hope that's working out for you. I certainly am tempted.
    It is pretty helpful. The feedback we get from actual buyers/depositors is just fine - it's the non-buyers that grumble. (Although you could argue it's BECAUSE of the deposits they remain non-buyers, I guess)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    Huh? Unlike some people, I call out the BS Flippa pulls - and make no bones about the fact that they and many of their accomplices are opportunistic scam artists.
    Unlike some people, huh? Who are those people that should be calling them out, do you think? Not very clear on that. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    I have no "hatred" for a website, that wouldn't be smart. I have contempt for the people who've done some of the things Flippa management has done.
    Sorry, I might have been unclear. I wasn't saying you hated "a website", a domain name, etc. - I meant a complete dislike/distrust for the company and what they stand for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    Which does not change the fact that, for some types of sites, it's the biggest marketplace there is. Call it a business decision ...like I would use Google if I wanted PPC traffic and that would apply whether I "love" or "hate" Google.
    No worries, I get it...it's just a different philosophy. I (almost?) never do business with anyone or any company I dislike as much as (it appears) you dislike Flippa. It's just that you've run for years the largest (best?) online community for website buyers and sellers on the planet and you HAVE a place to sell sites here at EP...

  4. #13
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    EP doesn't have the volume of traffic that Flippa gets. We could have a lot more members, of course, but the idiots get chucked off pronto. As I said earlier in this thread, it's a quality versus quantity issue. If you list on Flippa you get that huge volume which you don't get here.

    It only costs $1.99 to list a "starter" site here, but people don't want to list. Perhaps they're afraid of a more critical audience than they'd have at Flippa.

    Premium Members can list established sites free up to a certain monthly quota.

    I'm always open to ideas about how to improve our marketplace. Last time the subject came up (in the rules and feedback forum), the discussion went to four pages of people saying what they wanted, eg dofollow links, forum to be spidered, etc. So I implemented everything that people said they wanted - and then no one posted.
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  5. #14
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by TryBPO View Post
    largest online community ..
    You're right there, it's primarily a community, not a marketplace.

    it's just a different philosophy. I (almost?) never do business with anyone or any company I dislike as much as (it appears) you dislike Flippa.
    That's why I've turned down numerous opportunities to partner with Flippa (for profit), to write for their blog, to assist them with creating an "automated" due diligence check service (which somebody has now stepped in to do for them) etc. etc. In fact, I turned down an opportunity to participate with the creation of Flippa because I didn't trust the founder. But it would stupid to refuse to buy a site just because it was listed on Flippa - I've bought numerous sites at that marketplace both before and after it was called Flippa - and if one is willing to buy on there it would be illogical to not be willing to sell.

    Over the years I've always demonstrated a willingness to help Flippa improve. Most of the better features on Flippa originated as ideas on this forum. The last occasion I helped them was some private feedback/suggestions I gave their management by email just about a week ago. That does not change the fact that their current business model relies on taking advantage of the gullible or the fact that the tactics they use are exploitative and borderline criminal. If it wasn't for the existence of this forum and the pressure we put on them in the early days things would be a lot worse!

    Thanks for the input, but I've been around the block enough times to not need any lectures on ethics or philosophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    If you charged a nominal deposit of, say, $10 you'd probably weed out 90% of the idiots. I'd say it should be refundable - it would probably still work to prevent the type of buyer you're talking about from cluttering up your auction. The problem is that I can see how a whole scammy sub-industry could develop on Flippa with people making a living out of taking deposits rather than selling sites.
    That's actually a good and practical idea. I don't think the deposit should be paid to the seller though - merely held which would prevent the "deposit flipping" industry from emerging. If you demand it via credit card then you also have (some) way of preventing fraudsters and shill bidding as you can set the gateway to reject prepaid cards or strange looking transactions. Much better to pick up those issues early than after the site is sold and seller doesn't get paid.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kay View Post
    I'm always open to ideas about how to improve our marketplace. Last time the subject came up (in the rules and feedback forum), the discussion went to four pages of people saying what they wanted, eg dofollow links, forum to be spidered, etc. So I implemented everything that people said they wanted - and then no one posted.
    I don't think features are the problem. It's probably just volume (critical mass) which could be solved by looking at retention. There's a few good people still here still posting, but more than a handful .. in fact a bucket load that have actively come and gone over the years. I still speak to several of those people and they would LOVE a place to buy and sell amongst themselves and considering these are guys who pay 7 - 12% when they sell on broker fees, I'm sure money isn't the issue here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    Over the years I've always demonstrated a willingness to help Flippa improve. Most of the better features on Flippa originated as ideas on this forum. The last occasion I helped them was some private feedback/suggestions I gave their management by email just about a week ago. ... If it wasn't for the existence of this forum and the pressure we put on them in the early days things would be a lot worse!

    Thanks for the input, but I've been around the block enough times to not need any lectures on ethics or philosophy
    Or philanthropy it seems.

    I hear they have a framed photo of you in the Sitepoint office where you're simply known as "Mhysa ... Saviour of Flippa". Seriously though, it's just a shame those ungrateful bastards at Flippa will never appreciate everything you do for you them.

    The love hate thing you have going on is funny though; I get the argument you make about going there if there's a deal to be had regardless of whether you like the company or not (I use Hostgator and hate everything about them ... I spit when I see a crocodile .. even a toy one). But surely the issue with Flippa isn't that they're as dreadful as you make out. You buy on there, you sell on there but you're smart enough to know your market and to know what Flippa is good for.

    Is it the case that the world needs a Flippa, and they're actually good at delivering value to users in specific market segments?

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  8. #16
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlipFilter
    I don't think the deposit should be paid to the seller though - merely held which would prevent the "deposit flipping" industry from emerging.
    That had occurred to me too but I discarded the idea on the basis of the extra admin work it would create and the legal implications of a third party holding monies on behalf of others.

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipFilter
    I don't think features are the problem. It's probably just volume (critical mass) which could be solved by looking at retention. There's a few good people still here still posting, but more than a handful .. in fact a bucket load that have actively come and gone over the years. I still speak to several of those people and they would LOVE a place to buy and sell amongst themselves and considering these are guys who pay 7 - 12% when they sell on broker fees, I'm sure money isn't the issue here.
    Please ask your friends to try listing here. Even though you said that money isn't an issue for them, I'm sure we could reach some agreement where they could try our marketplace without being fully-fledged Premium Members. Perhaps we could have a new category of membership for investors. (I haven't thought this through, but there must be something we could try.) We're not going to attract people to our marketplace until we have some listings, and we're not going to get listings until we attract a sufficiently large audience (critical mass) of quality buyers and sellers. We need a way to break out of this stalemate. Can anyone help please?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipFilter
    I hear they have a framed photo of you in the Sitepoint office where you're simply known as "Mhysa ... Saviour of Flippa".
    ROFL!

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipFilter
    Is it the case that the world needs a Flippa, and they're actually good at delivering value to users in specific market segments?
    The world does need places to buy and sell, and Flippa has the volume to deliver results. The problem is that they are surrounded by hype which is intended to lure gullible people in. They have deliberately and systematically created a huge market where countless naive people get ripped off. And they are continually expanding their reach by partnering with others to spread their message for them. Did you see the post about how they've recently teamed up with Matt and Liz Raad to spread the gospel about how easy it is to get rich by buying websites on Flippa?

    Arguably, the world needs an EP - a counter-balance to the myth and hype. That's why I think people should support our endeavours and ensure we are able to continue. Take us out of the game and who is left to play this role?

    (Good to see you back here, Justin. Hope all's well. )

    [[The thread changed topic here so the subsequent posts have been moved to: http://experienced-people.net/forums...(split-thread) Kay]]
    Last edited by Bot; 17 May 2014 at 7:21 am.
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  9. #17
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    Sorry for the delayed reply, I've been out camping; hasn't the weather been gorgeous?

    Love-hate?! You're a poor judge of people if you believe anything I've done or said as "love" for Flippa I have / had an interest in buying and selling websites, had many friends with the same interests and we all got together to fight against a whole load of dirty tricks by Flippa's parent company. These friends all joined me to leave Sitepoint en masse and start this forum. It was way before your time (though you did sign up here a year after all the fuss on Sitepoint and a few months after we started this forum).

    You see, when many of today's so called experts were still in nappies I created my first website for a B&M business. I ran that as my only site for years. But later, a whole decade before you started flipfilter, I made my first website acquisition. In the subsequent years, and prior to Flippa even coming into existence I had bought, sold or otherwise assisted in more website sales than I care to remember. Together with the people who rebelled against Sitepoint's marketplace (and, later, the early Flippa) we achieved a great deal and straightened Flippa on many counts. Though it's difficult to imagine ...Flippa would be even more scammy today if it wasn't for us! Some of the discussions are on public record, a lot remains in email, PM and elsewhere. And, despite the strained relations we've always had with Flippa, we've also had their sincere thanks on dozens of occasions though the current crop just through Flippa management's revolving door have probably never even heard of me. They must look at the framed photo on their office wall and get very confused. Poor dears. Anyway ...

    Flippa have tried to bribe me in. I have a phone recording from many, many moons ago of them offering me the gig you have now - to create an automated DD service (yeah, you record people you don't trust). But, I turned them down. I had no doubt that commoditising DD would be used to create complacency in the gullible targets Flippa was gunning for even back then - "Come buy sites, we even do your DD for you if you don't know how to do it, it's all completely safe". They wanted to pass off some stats gathering as "due diligence" and "complete due diligence". I wasn't going to participate in Flippa conning people.

    Do I see a conflict between decisions like that and listing a website on what still is the biggest marketplace for sites in a certain low price range? No, I don't. Some of you guys are going to have to learn to deal with that
    Last edited by Clinton; 25 May 2014 at 3:49 am. Reason: Deleted sarcasm after Kay's post :)
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  11. #18
    Moderator Kay is a Premium Member
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    Point of information

    Justin intended to put an emoticon after his Mhysa comment to lighten it, but he forgot. He attempted to put this right in his next post but that was split off because I received a complaint by PM that the thread had gone off topic. (With hindsight it may have been better to leave things as they were at least until I had time to deal with it in a less rushed way, but it's done now.)

    Justin's next post started:

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipFilter
    Sorry for quoting myself but I couldn't edit and forgot the [sarcastic face] at the end of that line.
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...plit-thread%29
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  12. #19
    Top Contributor Dave McM is a Premium Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by grynge View Post
    When I was selling a few on DP many moons ago I would put something like "please put the word "Cabbage" in your pm title so I know you are serious" without that word I would ignore those asking for extra info.
    LOL! I can see how that would filter out buffoons who can't even read a listing closely enough to follow simple instructions. But did it work for timewasters who don't have the common decency to stay out of discussions of sites they've no intention of buying?

  13. #20
    Administrator Clinton is a Premium Member
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    The discussion split again here with enough posts about the commoditising of due diligence to warrant a thread on that subject. Posts from here were moved to that thread.

    Back to filtering the time wasters - I'll share some stats.

    I recently listed a site I expected to sell for $10K+. In the listing I stated that people need to sign the NDA before bidding (a variant of the "cabbage" idea). Here's what happened: Four bidders contacted me to email them a copy of the NDA. The rest of the story:

    - Almost three dozen people bid without even so much as contacting me first (i.e. didn't read the listing fully)
    - 18 of them had [NEW] next to their user name i.e. they had never bought a single site in Flippa (though it's not impossible, it's highly unlikely they are going to spend $10K+ on their first site)
    - Of the others, only three had a history of over $10K in transactions (two were only just above $10K in total transactions and I don't trust those figures, they could be NPB)
    - Of the 18 who were [NEW], three got suspended or banned within days. I don't know what they did, or where, but 10% of the bidders obviously committed a serious enough infraction to get suspended/banned (Flippa doesn't suspend people easily, much less ban them)
    - Bidder locations: Many of the bidders were from Pakistan, Turkey, India....

    Net result: I've got 31 people who are on my "rejected" list and a grand total of "0" on my "approved" list. Not great stats, and it's reflective of the quality of buyers on Flippa today, but the simple requirement of stating that bids would be rejected from those who hadn't signed an NDA first probably saved a lot of hassle dealing with low quality buyers (no budget) who are also likely to be NPBs.
    Find the right business brokers to maximise the value you extract from your business and improve the chances of selling your business.

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