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    New book on Buying Profitable Websites

    Justin Gilchrist of FlipFilter.com has published a new book on buying websites, titled Digitally Wed

    The book is subtitled, The Entrepreneur's Toolkit For Buying Profitable Websites. It has 11 chapters, 318 pages, and the chapter descriptions are on the exitplan.co website. A free sample chapter is available by email through a form on the site.

    Justin is a member here, whose knowledge I respect. I am looking forward to reading his new book over the coming week or so

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    Thanks for the heads up, Ken.

    I'll probably pick up the book sometime later on and check out Justin's experience in condensed form.

    When getting a sample chapter, note that you can actually choose between four possible options. I picked the first option: "How much to spend, working capital and buying sites with no revenue"

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    Have fun with the book, Ken.

    I've no doubt Justin has a lot of knowledge in the field and the book will contain some good information, sample forms/contracts and other useful bits. But he's also got an angle. He's someone who has in the past talked up and greatly exaggerated the opportunities with buying sites (remember Internet Tycoon?) Despite all the caveats in the narrative there's always the undertone of "great opportunity". That is a line he has to take because his business depends on more and more new blood, wannabe businessmen and women jumping in to take advantage and needing advice/guidance/due diligence.

    When buying information on a subject you're better off not buying it from someone with a vested interest. I'm sure Justin will do well with his book - there are bound to be JVs and affiliate arrangements etc., to push the book. The more people who buy the book and get convinced there's an opportunity here the more people he drives towards the "due diligence" service his company offers. I see this, directly or indirectly, as a sales tool for Centurica, a company not ashamed of the serious conflict of interest in operating as a close partner of a marketplace that wants more rather than fewer sites to clear due diligence (as they earn more money that way).

    For anyone new to the market and looking to buy a website, I've got this advice: Don't! The market is now pretty screwed up in so many ways that I don't know where to begin listing them. There are numerous easier, safer and better ways of making money online than by buying a site. I speak from experience, more experience than a room full of some of the "gurus" I see around. Unlike many of them who write books, do seminars etc., I'm actually someone who has bought and sold sites and again, unlike them, some of my purchases and sales are public knowledge - at least about $500K's worth in multiple locations. I've got nothing to gain from misleading anyone - and no product to push - and my take is this: Go start your own online business, there are plenty of opportunities there. Don't buy one unless you really, really, really know what you're doing (and not reliant on third parties to do your "due diligence" for you).
    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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    I just received chapter 3 of the book "Chips On The Table" as my free sample through the sales page. Not sure if it's the whole chapter (the site implies that it is) but I kinda feel tricked.

    First, this was supposed to be the ""How much to spend, working capital and buying sites with no revenue" chapter, yet there was no mention of sites with no revenue. Closest I've got was a mention about a $1,000 site that does $100 monthly, which sounds unbelievably amazing (and unlikely) to be showcased as the worst case scenario. (At least that's what my poor brain understood.)

    Second, the whole chapter was 12 pages, including a promo cover and a last-page sales pitch. Take those out, and you've got a 10-page chapter. I read it all in a few minutes (it's just under 3k words, including the sales pitch) and I am not sure what to make of it. Perhaps it's the fact that I've been in EP too long, but I really didn't grasp something "solid" from those 10 pages. Maybe I'm dense, or just inexperienced, but then again, most first-time buyers are and these people are supposed to benefit from the book the most. I see all those testimonials on the page, no doubt genuine, praising the book. If it's indeed a praiseworthy book, then the sample chapter I picked is probably not doing the book much justice.

    Third, Ken mentioned the book boasts 11 chapters and 318 pages, yet Justin says on the sales page that the book is "over 160 pages". One would argue that 318 is indeed over 160, but I think that kind of gives the wrong impression - as is the whole book, it seems.

    Finally, the sales page says that if you're completely new, you can "work through this process" with "fairly basic requirements". Not sure what qualifies as basic requirements for Justin, but it seems to me that buying businesses online is a monumentally more difficult endeavor than the sales page and the eBook seem to imply.

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    Oh dear ..... Here we go

    Quote Originally Posted by KenW3 View Post
    Justin Gilchrist of FlipFilter.com has published a new book on buying websites, titled Digitally Wed ... Justin is a member here, whose knowledge I respect. I am looking forward to reading his new book over the coming week or so
    Thanks Ken - appreciated.


    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    But he's also got an angle. He's ... his business depends on more and more new blood, wannabe businessmen and women jumping in to take advantage and needing advice/guidance/due diligence.
    There was a (sort of) compliment in the first line which I've omitted to keep the quote short - thanks Clinton.

    Do I have an angle ... yes, totally - I run a Due Diligence agency and as such, want to promote that company. My job is marketing - I'm sure this is what I SHOULD be doing ?

    Does my business depend on new blood - absolutely. Which (profitable & growing business) doesn't. I see it as my job to be an advocate telling people about what's possible when you buy rather than build.

    Will someone go out and spend $100K on a business simply because my book told them to? No ... of course not!?!? If I'm so good I can convince someone to both buy a book about buying internet businesses AND spend $00,000s + when they weren't already considering that, then I deserve marketer of the year. ... seriously, I want a sash, a tiara ... the works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    When buying information on a subject you're better off not buying it from someone with a vested interest. I'm sure Justin will do well with his book - there are bound to be JVs and affiliate arrangements etc., to push the book. The more people who buy the book and get convinced there's an opportunity here the more people he drives towards the "due diligence" service his company offers.
    First, let's put this into perspective.

    Out of more than 70,000 words, Centurica is mentioned 7 times. 4 of those is simply in reference to why what I'm about to say is relevant (e.g. 'At Centurica, we've found that x%' or 'At Centurica, we do it this way'). One is a link to the Centurica Website Buyer's Report (because that is its name) and another is a link to Centurica's Marketwatch - because it directly relates to finding businesses listed by all the major brokers in one place. The only direct plug is in the Professional Help section, because after all, not everyone wants to do this entire process without professional help. I tell people "my own unbiased recommendation is Centurica.com".

    That hardly makes me marketing guru of the year now .. but the book isn't about promoting Centurica.

    Second, define vested interest. There's a difference between someone who has wrote a $4.99 kindle book because they're doing it for lead gen and some one like myself who wrote a book because they want to share the knowledge (and also, always wanted to write a book). Look at the current list of business best sellers. There are few authors that don't stand to profit from the increase in profile that their book brings. For someone like Malcolm Gladwell, it's speaking and consulting. For someone like Ryan Holiday it's getting work for his marketing agency. For someone like Tim Ferriss, it's being able to sell more from the Tim Ferriss publishing empire. I'm not ashamed of telling people that I can do what I love, help people out AND make money from it all at the same time. We don't need to be hippies to be credible - I'd personally rather take advice about making money, from someone who demonstrates that they're able to make money ... but that's just my opinion.

    I've made a lot of mistakes in the last 12 or so years, but on the back of those I've found a solid, profitable way to buy quality web-based businesses and now I'm very good at it. Rather than just tell people that and hope they believe me, I'd rather show them, but also open source the process. Everyone can now see what I do, how I do it and any tricks I've gathered along the way but more importantly, contribute their best practice too. Since releasing the book last week, I've had feedback from attorneys, finance people and investors who have all contributed positive improvements and tweaks to the process which will all form part of version 2. Sort of like open source for the buying process.


    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    For anyone new to the market and looking to buy a website, I've got this advice: Don't! The market is now pretty screwed up in so many ways that I don't know where to begin listing them. There are numerous easier, safer and better ways of making money online than by buying a site. .... Don't buy one unless you really, really, really know what you're doing (and not reliant on third parties to do your "due diligence" for you).
    IMO, that's bad advice, but maybe we can save each other a few hours of to and fro by agreeing to disagree why. In short

    - I agree the market is pretty screwed up right now - probably more than it's ever been.

    - There are plenty of SAFER ways of making money period. One, is getting a job. But the point here is meeting people's objectives and getting a job isn't likely to do that any more than starting a clickbank site that earns $200 per month is (assuming people are looking to replace their income). For the wrong type of person I'm with you 100% - don't buy a business, because you'll only screw it up and waste your cash. Buy government bonds and at least you'll see a 2% return. But for the people who have already decided they 1) want the challenge of business ownership 2) want the risk and reward that come with it and 3) want the head start that something established provides, then this is the answer.

    - You shouldn't ask Centurica to do your Due Diligence if you have no idea what due diligence is or why we're doing it. But that's not why our typical client uses us. They use us because - 1) They have an understanding, but would rather pay a few hundred dollars to an expert to verify that understand and do the bits they would probably screw up or 2) Their time is just worth more to them ... a crucial thing when you run a business and / or have a family to spend time with.

    I can code, but I still outsource jobs to Elance. I can understand most legal contracts, but I'll still hire an attorney. I can work Sage Line 50 like a pro, but I still hire a couple of people in my (small) finance department because I hate detail work and don't have the time.

    Taking the attitude that you should do the whole process yourself is dangerous, stupid and shortsighted especially when you're spending more than $50K. You should have an understanding of what is being done, and that is one of the many reasons I wrote this book.


    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK View Post
    I just received chapter 3 of the book "Chips On The Table" as my free sample through the sales page. Not sure if it's the whole chapter (the site implies that it is) but I kinda feel tricked.
    First, this was supposed to be the ""How much to spend, working capital and buying sites with no revenue" chapter, yet there was no mention of sites with no revenue.
    - Hi Theodore. There's a section called "Sites with no revenue" on page 52.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK View Post
    Closest I've got was a mention about a $1,000 site that does $100 monthly, which sounds unbelievably amazing (and unlikely) to be showcased as the worst case scenario. (At least that's what my poor brain understood.)
    - This was the example on page 29 that explains why buying a $1,000 site would be a bad idea. It states something along the lines of even if that site did $100 monthly it still wouldn't be worth your time to see a 40% increase in turnover (i.e. even the best case scenario, the outcome still sucks) - I'll possibly look at rewording it to make it clearer.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK View Post
    Second, the whole chapter was 12 pages, including a promo cover and a last-page sales pitch. Take those out, and you've got a 10-page chapter. I read it all in a few minutes (it's just under 3k words, including the sales pitch) and I am not sure what to make of it.
    - It's unfortunate, but you chose the shortest sample chapter! I studied people who wrote good non-fiction books and realized that the quickest way to put someone off a book is overwhelm them with information too early. The information and chapters are like pyramids going from light to heavy. The chapter you chose (chapter 3 - designed for beginners) is just 12 pages while chapter 7 is nearly 30 pages. If you PM me your email address, I'm happy to send more over.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK View Post
    Third, Ken mentioned the book boasts 11 chapters and 318 pages, yet Justin says on the sales page that the book is "over 160 pages". One would argue that 318 is indeed over 160, but I think that kind of gives the wrong impression - as is the whole book, it seems.
    - The book is 170 pages. Ken was more than likely viewing a digital version on PC or Mac. I've created one of the files in a way that reads differently on different PDF viewers, but to some versions of acrobat it looks like two books and doubles the page count.
    (...note to self, don't get clever - stick with convention)

    But all that said, if anyone has ANY doubts whatsoever and doesn't believe they that the book is 110% value for money, just email me and the refund is yours. So far, the refund rate stands at 0.

    Sorry for the massively long thread.

    Justin

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheodoreK
    Ken mentioned the book boasts 11 chapters and 318 pages, yet Justin says on the sales page that the book is "over 160 pages".
    That may be the hard cover version of the book. My PDF is 318 pages. Chapter 3 is 12 pages in the PDF version, so that corresponds. I originally selected Portfolio Stars as my free chapter, which was 31 pages in the sample PDF and 32 in the full version. Although the free section detailed the level of content and style of writing, I was always going to read it, as I've read every book available on buying sites written by EP members.

    =====

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton
    When buying information on a subject you're better off not buying it from someone with a vested interest.
    Every non-fiction book I buy contains several attributes. First and foremost, the book is written directly from the author's own mind, from their own experience, all which is based upon decisions they made in life that brought them to the point of having knowledge of interest to a demographic. If the author was not a professional, profiting from their knowledge of the subject, then I would not have interest in acquiring their business knowledge. Second, the majority of business books I've bought are written by authors with additional products available (classes, tools, services, memberships, subscriptions, more books) for consumption. Third, I can easily argue a vested interest is beneficial to all production and accomplishment. Without a reason to do things, very little would be accomplished in life

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton
    For anyone new to the market and looking to buy a website, I've got this advice: Don't! The market is now pretty screwed up in so many ways <clip>

    Go start your own online business, there are plenty of opportunities there. Don't buy one unless you really, really, really know what you're doing (and not reliant on third parties to do your "due diligence" for you).
    Hmmm. While I agree with the sentiment: Don't buy a website to get into business, I'd disagree with: Don't buy a business that has a website. This is exactly where n00bs experience disjunction when starting a business for the first time.

    A website is not a business. Nobody should ever buy a website to get into business, so I agree with you if this is your point. This is where so many new prospective business owners fail to see the business world in proper perspective. A blog is not a business, but you can own a publishing company that operates blogs. A drop-ship site is not a business, but you can be a retailer (with the appropriate offline structure) that engages in ecommerce.

    Fill in the blank - affiliate site, directory, forum, ezine, wiki, membership, classified, news, store, etc. - is not a business, it is an asset held by a business which extends the company's operations to the online world. So yes: Don't buy a website. Buy or start a business, set up the appropriate infrastructure to become viable, and only then should you look for assets (you can buy or build) to benefit your company.


    Note: ...just thought I'd let you know this reply was posted before seeing Justin's post, as his was in moderation due to account dormancy.
    Last edited by KenW3; 6 October 2014 at 1:18 pm. Reason: Added note at the bottom

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    Hey Justin, hope you are well!

    You don't have to mention Centurica on every page to be promoting its services. You simply need to drive more newbies into the market and to Flippa and rely on them feeling the need for some hand holding. I notice you didn't address the conflict of interest with Flippa, a partner without whose cooperation your service couldn't survive, but a partner who makes less profits if you do a good job. The lower your standards and your threshold the more money they make. There's no accusation of impropriety here, but an astute investor should realise that if Flippa says jump you really have no option but to ask, "How high?"

    Second, define vested interest.
    The facts are, IMO, that anybody new to buying sites should stay the hell out as the market is so messed up that they are more likely to lose money than make it. Whether you genuinely believe differently or not your business relies on you being upbeat about prospects. That makes your take highly biased. But that's just marketing, of course.

    I'd disagree with: Don't buy a business that has a website. This is exactly where n00bs experience disjunction when starting a business for the first time....

    So yes: Don't buy a website. Buy or start a business, set up the appropriate infrastructure to become viable, and only then should you look for assets (you can buy or build) to benefit your company.
    Ken, I think we are of the same opinion. Of course, it's still worth buying a proper business. What I am against is the large majority of websites for sale today which have been created for resale, given the appearance of being a business and being sold as businesses but which are largely scams some of which even I would struggle to identify with any degree of confidence (maybe I should use a third party DD service to give me the okay ). I'm also against what numerous players are doing to support and encourage this activity and drive unsuitable people into the market by underplaying the dangers and/or overstating the opportunities.
    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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    I tend to agree with Clinton's assessment here. I think the market for websites as a whole is getting worse, for a myriad of reasons. In particular, the Flippa marketplace is significantly worse this year than last year, and last year was a decline from previous years as well, but this year compared to last is a really significant decline from what I'm seeing. And, I'm still an active buyer, even picked up a couple of sites on Flippa myself, but overall am disappointed by what I'm seeing. I'm not sure how the advice in Justin's book comes off, how it represents the whole of the marketplace, and Flippa in general. Hopefully it gives some of Clinton's skepticism to the less informed readers, if Justin would like a review by an impartial reader he's welcome to contact me, there's no question that I'd ever be a potential customer of his anyway. It would be really difficult to see how much of the hype comes across in the book by looking at a single, very short chapter. I would be curious, though, to see how Justin in his book and in his company are handling the fake traffic and revenue schemes that I'm seeing proliferate on Flippa these days.

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    Hey Peter,

    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis View Post
    Hopefully it gives some of Clinton's skepticism to the less informed readers.
    Forgive my vulgarity, but that would be like giving herpes to a bunch of virgins as a way of promoting safe sex.... overkill to say the least. I understand being skeptical and I'm a huge skeptic ... it's probably a British thing. But there has to be a point where you accept a certain element of risk and take action. Otherwise, you'll spend the rest of your days complaining on forums about the days of past and never actually getting involved and generating an income.

    Quote Originally Posted by petertdavis View Post
    how Justin in his book and in his company are handling the fake traffic and revenue schemes that I'm seeing proliferate on Flippa these days.
    Which ones! We're seeing more and more appear weekly. It's one of the reasons that I've chosen to do this as print on demand, so I can update the information on a regular basis rather than get stuck with 1000s of books with outdated information.

    Do you have any examples / specifics?

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    I am relatively new to buying/selling websites, I have been browsing marketplaces for about a year and recently bought my first site. To start off I do appreciate how the members of this forum are always doing due diligence on the due diligence providers and "advice givers." I have learned that the marketplace is very unique because basically everything is public knowledge, so any shared information is sharing with your competitors. There is good honest open advice out there, occasionally, but it is rare. In fact this forum is probably the only good example I can come up with, but I also feel like there is a focus on why everything is bad. Maybe that is just how things are, but I wonder if there are some good sites to be had and some honest transactions, or is it just a minefield?
    As far as these ebooks put out by those with conflicting interests, I have read a few on amazon and they were very light on content and vague. But I do believe there would be tidbits of information and also they sorta allowed me to due diligence what the authors were saying, as practice.
    However, no book or article can replace the amount I have learned by actually doing due diligence, I feel like this is sorta a learn as you go and hope you don't lose your shirt along the way type of business.
    I would be interested on a review of the book as I do enjoy the topic so if there is some quality information I might consider reading.

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