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Thread: Sending unsolicited requests to buy sites

  1. #1
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    Sending unsolicited requests to buy sites

    The idea is simply to email/call site owners who would potentially be interested in selling their sites. Obviously that would work better with abandoned or under-monetized sites.

    I know this is something quite a few members here do, I tried that a few times as well, but the response was quite low. I bought one or two sites this way, they weren't really good deals though, just good quality sites in my main niches, which I probably overpaid for. I found that almost everyone would have unreasonably high expectations when approached about selling their site out of the blue. However proper targeting might yield better results here.
    Usually I would just email the site owner about selling if I stumbled upon a site which seems good and under-monetized, however that usually has a near zero response rate, so there must be a better way to target..

    Please share your thoughts and experiences with this.

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    My experience has been very similar to yours. I have spent some hours trawling around the web, looking for sites that are clearly no longer being used then sending out emails to the owners asking if they would be interested in selling them.

    Most of the time it elicits no response at all and on the odd occasion when they do express an interest in selling they want way too much money. For example, I emailed someone the other day about the .com version of a .co.uk that I own.
    I'd noticed, quite by accident that it was for sale. The site has been developed since 2007 and it has a message on it that it is up for sale.
    I checked the backlink profile and page rank, etc and they were all negligible so it would have been mainly a vanity purchase more than anything else but I emailed the owner anyway.
    She told me she wanted $600 for it because it had 'potential' so I said thanks very much and bid her good day.

    I guess it would be more efficient to outsource something like this but then I am wary of using an outsourcer in case they decided to cut me out of the loop and figure they could make more money by buying sites in this way and selling them on themselves.

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    If you have a lot of sites you probably get a lot of these requests yourself. And if they look like most of the others you probably ignore it right? I know I do.

    You want to compel the person to respond. This does not mean write a 1000 word email telling them how much you love their website and how you are their biggest fan. Keep it short and sweet.

    From the seller side, looking back at requests like these that I actually responded too, the biggest factor was the potential buyer included a price that they would buy the site for in their initial request.

    Slightly shady, but instead of asking if the site is for sale, initially you could also ask them if they have any advertising space available on their site. If you get a response, you could then ask them instead if they would consider selling the site.

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    Yeah I get a bunch of these, I always respond, even though I know it's usually pointless. I just respond with something short like "let me know your offer". I sold a couple sites to end users this way too, but it's very rare.

    I think in the end it doesn't matter much what you write when contacting a site owner. It's more important to find the people who are interested in selling..

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    I get a few unsolicited inquiries every year. I have intended to answer each inquiry, but it was never a high priority so some I may not have gotten around to answering every one

    I have tried contacting owners to see if they were interested in selling, too, but I've only done it three times and I got answers (no) twice. So it sounds like my 66% response rate is pretty good, even if the answers were 'no'.

    Quote Originally Posted by cash ninja View Post
    on the odd occasion when they do express an interest in selling they want way too much money.
    I think "too much money" depends on whose viewpoint you are looking from. This spring I had someone call me about a niche site I haven't touched in a year. It only earns about $50 a month in AdSense revenue but it is fairly consistent. He offered me $300 and I didn't even counter offer. Even if he offered me a more "standard" 8-12x monthly revenues, why should I spend my time corresponding with him, pushing the domain and transferring the files to get $600 when I can likely get that by doing nothing for a year? Even if the site gradually dies from lack of attention, I'm probably better off keeping it.

    It seems to me that to get someone to sell at a reasonable price, you need to find a person who has some motivation to sell. Here are a few things that I think might turn a website owner into a potential seller:

    1. The owner needs the immediate cash enough that it is worth the effort to sell what is otherwise a regular annuity. In this economy, there certainly are people who need $5,000 more than they need a stream of $500 payments, even if those $500 payments look like they will last for several years.
    2. The owner is concerned that the next Google algorithm change will knock out the $500 payments and he will be left with little or nothing to show.
    3. The owner is proud of his site but is unable to continue maintaining it. He is willing to sell it to someone he believes will keep the site going. This may be true for some hobbyists who created a site around their hobby in the 1990's and can't bring it up to date or even keep it current. I stumble across those types of sites regularly but you probably have to be involved in the particular hobby to handle a site like that.

    Can anyone else think of more types of willing sellers?

    What clues can you look for to determine if a website owner may fit in one of those categories?

    How can you tailor an approach based on what category the seller falls into? The pitch that works on a hobbyist who has put blood, sweat and tears into his site is very likely different than a person who needs cash now, even at a heavy discount.

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  8. #6
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    InternetTycoon had some software they developed to automate the process of finding and emailing prospective buys in your niche (sites that hadn't been updated in a while).

    Anyone used that? How did it work?

    As the owner of several sites I have been getting these emails for years, I now pretty much ignore most of them. It would have to be worded pretty cleverly to keep me reading to the end. If it made a single wrong move along the way it would get immediately deleted. What are wrong moves? The slightest whiff that it wasn't personalised for me and for the site in question; any indication that the buyer is a bit of an amateur; any request for information on the site (stats/revenue etc) as I feel only an idiot would ask for that in the first email; any impression that the buyer hasn't already done a fair bit of due diligence on the domain and on what's publicly visible....

    I won't say too much on this topic as there are lurkers here looking for tips to make their automated emails look "real" and I don't want to make their job too easy.
    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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    Clinton, I think you're referring to Kenny Goodman's Deal Trojan which was offered as part of the Internet Tycoon package. I tried it in April and reported back with this:

    The concept of Deal Trojan (DT) is very good, but the product is still in beta so it's not really working as it should yet.

    It's a tool which takes you through a process - Harvest - Refine - Process - Portfolio.

    I tried it by using a niche I'm very experienced in, the idea being that I'd be able to assess the usefulness of the info at a glance. First, you "harvest", ie insert your keywords to find potential sites to buy. You then get some more info on the sites you've harvested and at this stage might decide to score some off your list, ie "refine".

    Having refined your list, then you "process" the sites you've chosen to explore further. This involves their system doing a bit of data crunching to give you the results about each of the sites you've harvested - PR, Alexa rank, and stuff like that. Some of the figures which might have been more interesting, such as estimated traffic, didn't seem to be working yet on the DT software. It's not that I was looking at new sites, data for the sites I was looking at is easily available elsewhere.

    Then you select the sites you're still interested in and these go into your "portfolio" as prospects for you to follow up. It all sounds great in theory, but sadly it doesn't quite deliver.

    For example, I put a site I own into the data-crunching process and by the time it had had its data crunched the DT results showed only the information for one obscure page which had been written several years ago. I'd actually forgotten about that page and wouldn't consider it as being representative of the site, its content, or its worth. Perhaps they'll get it fixed up to work better soon.
    http://experienced-people.net/forums...etTycoon/page2

    As I also reported later in that thread, by June the domain DT was parked at Sedo, and it's still parked today.

    Perhaps Kenny is working on a new version, as the concept of the tool was good.
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    Alternatively, webmasters do reply to your offer with aggressive (sometimes outrageous) counter offers, i find that happens when someone is not really interested in selling, trying their luck to get some gold when it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COBSolutions View Post
    Alternatively, webmasters do reply to your offer with aggressive (sometimes outrageous) counter offers, i find that happens when someone is not really interested in selling, trying their luck to get some gold when it is.
    True, in many cases the owners believe their site is worth a lot more simply due to all the time they spent on it. Frankly I've got discouraged from the results of my tests on this (we were working on some custom software to try to find good sites people would want to sell and sending inquires) and stopped doing this, so only dealing with sellers who actually want to sell nowdays.

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    I used to get them often but not as much over the last year or so. Probably due to the economy. I sometimes would reply with a high enough price that would make it worth my time to let the site go even though I wasn't interested in selling. I actually got $3,000 for one site that way and $1,500 for another. The revenue was very low on these sites but the sites fit the needs of the buyers.

    So, it's not always that the sellers think their site is worth a lot more, it's just that it needs to a big enough number to motivate me (them) to sell a site that I had no intentions of selling. If they needed the money due to a hardship the site would already be for sale.

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