It seems the easiest type of business - there are thousands of "website flippers" telling us how easy it is to create a new site and sell it for a profit.
Some use the same template over and over again (or with minor tweaks). Others have become smarter in disguising their templates/turnkeys as real businesses by installing auto-blogs, inserting free content they've taken from article directories, even putting fake ads on the site to give the impression they are established sites and popular with advertisers.
The scammer in this story setup site after site using a £450 database and a basic site design. He then targeted middle class individuals who wanted to break out of the rat race and run their own business. He charged them tens of thousands of pounds.
His sales talk was very convincing. He demonstrated potential and had very plausible looking revenue projections. He took buyers to his own house in Cornwall and showed off his designer furniture and 81 inch TV. He was described as living like a tycoon with fast cars, speed boats and properties in exotic locations.
He created an illusion of wealth. And he convinced them to buy into it.
In essence, he sold them website templates at up to £40,000 ($60,000) a go.
He never listed at Flippa. Instead he used what other sellers - some good and some bad - have done before him and will no doubt continue to do. He targeted not the webmasters who've bought into the idea of running an online business via buying a turnkey from Flippa. No. He focused his efforts on the people who had the same desire to make a lot of money online but who weren't already aware of marketplaces like Flippa. He further ensured that he pitched only to those middle class individuals who had larger sums of money to "invest".
It has all the hallmarks the savvy buyer here has seen before at common marketplaces for buying and selling websites
Yesterday he was jailed at Cornwall Crown Court for four years.The court was told that MacIntyre gave a number of reasons for wanting to sell the business, ranging from an intended move to Spain to a desire to spend more time with a new partner and baby.
In reality, the businesses he sold ... had never made money.
MacIntyre would often call potential clients once a day to pressurise them into a sale.
(He) would also offer his services as a consultant for fees of thousands of pounds when alleged victims complained they were not making any money.
Other links about this criminal: 1 | 2 |Judge Paul Darlow told him:"These offences were sophisticated and involved the careful illusion of wealth generated by successful businesses....
"Families parted with up to £40,000 and resulted in misery for them, and in on case actual medical depression.
Note: Please draw no parallels between this case and the business of any existing member of our forums.