Where do you go when you want to buy or sell a website?
The answer for the internet’s ever-increasing number of digital renovators is Flippa, a sort of eBay for websites and online businesses that Matt Mickiewicz and Mark Harbottle started in 2009.
Flippa, which had revenue of $1.816 million last financial year, is a spinoff business from Sitepoint Marketplace, which was also started by Mickiewicz and Harbottle. The pair are also the brains behind 99designs, a website that uses crowdsourcing for graphic design commissions.
Flippa’s success is a sign of the matured state of development in the evolution of internet sites. Much like in a real estate market, some websites might have fallen into disrepair but – just like the rundown house in a premium street – these sites might still have plenty of things going for them.
Flippa chief executive Dave Slutzkin says the site is the largest marketplace for buying and selling websites in the world.
“[It’s for] website owners wanting to sell their sites; potential buyers who wanted a site without building it themselves,’’ Slutzkin tells StartupSmart.
“Before Flippa came to prominence, website buyers and sellers were conducting deals on forums, through brokers or on other marketplaces like eBay.
“This made it difficult for sellers to find high-quality buyers and for buyers to find a wide variety of sites.”
Slutzkin says Flippa’s beginnings as a spinoff from Sitepoint made elements of getting it off the ground quite straightforward, but there were early teething problems, as with any start-up.
“While we already had an established user base when Flippa started, the challenge was in finding other groups of users,” he says.
Having a dedicated marketing team targeting new users went a long way to resolving that challenge. The site now attracts more than 70,000 unique visitors each week and there are on average 1800 website auctions at any moment.
“Our feedback system and comments on listings have fostered a community of buyers and sellers, which goes beyond the site to include outside forums and Facebook pages.
“We currently offer promoted tweets as an advertising product for individual listings, and Facebook and LinkedIn verification are part of our user authentication process.”