Flippa is the most popular online marketplace for the buying and selling of web businesses, so if you’re interested in buying a website, it is definitely one the first online platforms you will be directed to.
Despite its popularity, Flippa is quite notorious for harbouring lots of scam sellers. In fact, a visit to its Trust Pilot page may dissuade you from conducting business on the site. So you’re not wrong to be apprehensive about buying a website on Flippa. Truth is, if you go in naïve and blind, you’ll definitely end up with a worthless website.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that Flippa itself is terrible. There are good and lucrative websites on the platform; they are, however, too expensive or have so many buyers bidding for them.
Still, about 70% of the online businesses for sale on Flippa are pretty much worthless. So, when you’re about to make your foray into the popular marketplace, you must be prepared to avoid making a costly mistake.
Here are a few rules that I personally abide by when buying websites on Flippa. If you stick to them, you won’t fall into the hands of notorious Flippa sellers.
Don’t bother with any website that doesn’t have Google Analytic traffic data
Flippa does try to encourage honest dealings by making it possible for sellers to upload Google Analytics traffic data. Unfortunately, Flippa doesn’t make this mandatory so a seller can simply choose not to upload it.
Truth is, only sellers that have something unpleasant to hide won’t make their traffic data available. It is common to see website listings rave about earning so much money yet having no traffic data to back such claims.
Don’t be fooled by this. It is easy to pull a random figure out of one’s ass and claim it’s a website’s monthly profit. The site’s traffic is, however, what gives credence to the claim.
Traffic is the principal source of revenue generation for any online business. No site can make money without it, so any seller that fails to show you the traffic data for his or her site shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Be wary of sites with declining traffic
There are several reasons why sites are placed on Flippa to be sold. One of the common ones I have come to notice is declining traffic. If you check out a site’s Analytics data and notice a steady fall in traffic, then you want to be wary about buying such a site.
While I won’t tell you to abandon ship entirely, I will still advice that you inquire about the drop in traffic from the seller. It may be due to a mundane reason like the lack of content update; it may, however, be as a result of a Google penalty. You definitely don’t want a site that is affected by the latter.
Don’t be obsessed with financials but don’t discard it either
Most buyers especially newbies who visit Flippa to buy websites, blogs, or other online businesses tend to put financials over anything else. And this often lets them fall into the hands of scrupulous sellers looking for easy bucks.
The only reason you should check the financial data of a website is to gauge the potential of the website to earn back your investment. Truth is financials means squat on Flippa. Most sellers tender false financial data, and those that are accurate are still exaggerated.
The only way you can guarantee the revenue of a website is if it is placed side by side with the traffic data. Some sellers do this but many don’t. Anyways, all you need from the detail is the monthly cost of running the site as well as the income it generates.
This information lets you know from a financial stand-point if the website is worth investing in. Remember, though, that traffic should be a determining factor when buying a site on Flippa.
Confirm that a sizeable percentage of traffic comes from the search engine
Flippa sellers are some of the craftiest scammers online. With more and more buyers not willing to buy sites without traffic data, sellers on Flippa have devised new ways to deceive buyers by manipulating the traffic to their respective sites.
Since buyers now request traffic reports for prospective sites, sellers have equally adapted by purchasing traffic to the websites they want to sell. This traffic immediately disappears once the sites are transferred to the new owners.
Yeah, so even if you see an Analytic report of a website, it is possible that the traffic in the report is purchased.
How do you avoid this scam? Thankfully, Flippa accesses every traffic detail of the website including the source of traffic. If a website you’re interested in has far more referral traffic than organic or social, then it is likely that the traffic was purchased.
Only use Flippa Escrow for transactions
For no reason whatsoever as a buyer should you use any other payment method for a website apart from Flippa Escrow. This payment arrangement helps to protect both the buyer and seller so that the transaction goes smoothly.
Due to the commission sellers are charged for using Flippa Escrow, some sellers may try to convince you to use PayPal. Don’t listen to them, insist on completing payment via Escrow as it allows you to assess the website before finally confirming payment.