In this article you will learn a few tips on what things to look for when looking to purchase a website on Flippa. Most of the advice found in this post is practical.
It can be exciting thinking about owning your own online business. Being able to say goodbye to the day job forever, having an autopilot income, you can be your own boss. And a lot of people will find auction sites like Flippa appealing. I mean, hundreds of turn-key sites which are already generating revenue, and all you need to do is buy one – sounds easy, right?
Perhaps not though…
Take my advice when I say auction sites like Flippa are extremely risky and despite it not being a physical business, you really need to execute due diligence. Probably even more important in this case, since you’re not really buying a physical asset – essentially, everything’s virtual.
I have had several bad experiences on Flippa – some of which cost me a substantial amount of money, but let’s say I was naive and ignorant.
To ensure that the same does not happen to you, I’ll walk you through exactly what I should have done at the time – and what you should do if you decide to start using Flippa to buy a website.
1) Duplicate Content
First warning sign is if the content appears to be using content stolen word for word, from another site. Steer clear, as even if the site is ranking for anything, it will get penalized at some point by Google for duplicate content.
2) Mini-site Product Listing
A common scam is sellers who buy a pre-exisitng website template/product from Jvzoo or Master Resell Rights, set up the site and then claim they have a ready-made “product” worth $100. Run a Copyscape report and you’ll find out if that’s truly the case.
3) Fake Traffic
The traffic could potentially just be fake traffic or auto-clicks which have been bought by traffic sellers. This is typically cheap paid traffic which is not targeted at all and consists of people not interested in your site or buying anything anyway.
4) Income Claims
This is a big one, and can appear in many forms and from this, can affect how much people are bidding.
Find out exactly why the site is making money and how much. If its making $1,500 a month, why is it making that? Where are the buyers coming from? A half-decent seller will know exactly where the income is coming from . If they don’t steer clear! (Note: “potential” doesn’t count, you need solid proof of an income)
5) Multiple Re-listings
If it’s been re-listed multiple times in the last 6 months, it’s a big sign that something is deterring a lot of buyers. Especially if the previous accounts are getting banned, that’s a huge warning sign!
Tied in with this, if the seller appears to have sold multiple, similar looking sites or products, this is an almost definite scam. They often make money with one site and use the earnings proof of that one site, to sell copies of it multiple times.
6) Fake Earnings screenshots
Can be difficult to know if they’re doing this but a possible way round this is to ask them to view their Paypal/payment account while you are connected via Teamviewer. No reason why that shouldn’t be possible.
7) Ranked by PBN?
This is a last point, which I have NEVER seen mentioned anywhere. It’s partly how I was scammed and I want to impart this last point of wisdom so you are more educated than the majority of Flippa buyers.
If the income seems to be generated by Google rankings – what is holding up the rankings? If it’s a PBN (private blog network), they have a reputation of causing massive swings in rankings- i.e. if they sell you the site, will they just stop pointing the PBN at your site and cause its rankings to crash – and then causing your income potential to be zero? Just something to think about.
This is by no means every single thing you should look out for, but some common sense and investigation need to be used. Just as if you were buying a physical business.
Does the seller seem legitimate? Do the earnings seem believable? And would you expect a site like that to be making that much money? If something looks off, run the other way! I’ve learned the hard way so you don’t have to.