5 Things To Watch Out For When Buying a Site On Flippa

There are many marketplaces to purchase new and existing websites to add to your portfolio, and no marketplace is quite as popular as Flippa.com. Its a great place to search for valuable websites that you can add to your Adsense or affiliate marketing portfolio. However, there are a few things you need to watch out for, and without further ado, here they are.

Will You Actually Make What They Say?

Don’t be a newbie and get all dreamy about sites that make a good amount of monthly income. They might have the stats to backup PAST earnings, but how sure can you be that you will make that much? Be sure to read where the past traffic was coming from. If it came from private email newsletter blasts, you of course won’t have access to that. So my tip is to make sure that the majority of the traffic is coming from the results of SEO optimization and backlinks.

Duplicate Sites

Be on the lookout for duplicate sites by using tools like copyscape.com to check for duplicate content. Sometimes sellers can argue that the website is part of a PLR resale, and while that’s perfectly legal, I prefer not to buy those types of sites. I go for sites made by individuals who want to sell with the intentions of trying to flip it for the full value of the original site, or just letting the website go and they rather see it in better hands.

Know How The Site Will Be Transferred To You

Most likely, the website you are trying to purchase will be eventually transferred to your own hosting account, and that’s fine. But from my own past experience with Flippa, be sure that you will receive 100% of the content. There are two scenarios that I want to mention. The first is simply getting all the actual website content that you purchased. Sometimes by mistake, they might not include all the files, especially if it’s a big site your buying, and you might not even realize that those few pages were missing. The other scenario really bugged me. This was when I bought a WordPress site that had all these fancy automated Plugins that required all these customized SQL databases and whatnot. The website that I bought was supposed to bring in fresh new content to my website every week, but never really worked. When I tried to get the seller to help me out, he never replied.

Additional Fees

More important than anything else I’ve mention (and should be the #1 thing to analyze when you find a seller) is to note the additional fees that you might incur if you buy a site. Each sale is unique because of the price, the different methods of payment, transferring fees by the seller (if you don’t know how to transfer it yourself), and so on.

Why Are They Selling It?

Before you do all your who what where when, you need to understand the why. Why is this seller willing to let go of their website? If it’s a completely new website that you’re buying for cheap, then it’s probably because you’re buying a jump start site that’s already made but now it’s your job to build traffic and maintain it. When it comes to the sites that are already making money, this question really comes into play. Why would someone be willing to let go of a comfortable and passive profit stream?

These five tips were meant to keep you alert of some things to look out for, not to push you away from buying these websites. Some websites on Flippa.com can be extremely valuable, so don’t get discouraged, and make sure to take note of these five tips before you get ready to buy.

This post guest blogged by Hemal Patel.

54 thoughts on “5 Things To Watch Out For When Buying a Site On Flippa”

  1. Melvin says:

    Actually for me I always conclude that 70% of the sites being sold there are either junk or fake. I mean screenshots are easily faked and I see some clickbank type of sites where the profit is $2k and they’re selling it for less than that amount which is ridiculous.

    For me I usually hook up with the seller through IM or even Skype to ensure things

    1. Yeah, usually the higher appraised sites are the more legit ones…you will have to really communicate with seller and get access to everything prior to purchase.

    2. d3so says:

      So, from what youre saying, you’ve bought sites before?

    3. Salesfist says:

      The best thing to do is to actually build one yourself.

  2. Well when I read the title I was expecting more detailed review.

    But however writer added few points but all are vital.

    1. It gets you thinking about flippa and people will probably head over there just to take a look…another aspect of making money online…served it’s purpose

      1. Yes could have added more detail.

        1. probably….but the idea was delivered…

          1. Some time only idea is not good enough.

  3. Well I have never thought of buying a website.

    I believe a person should make his own web business, so that he knows the in and out’s of his business.

    Also, just like the point you mentioned, if it is a successful website, why are they selling it?

    One thing comes to mind, that is, they do not want to drive traffic to it anymore..


  4. “When I tried to get the seller to help me out, he never replied.” Doesn’t Flippa offer some sort of buyer protection? If not, than it is a really bad place to buy websites from! You should have also included some tips on how to check for false pagerank, stats etc, SY

    1. I concur. I mean if you can’t do anything about it when the seller doesn’t reply, what’s the point?

    2. Hemal says:

      I didnt go into detail about the seller, because I wanted to just make an example. As far as my personal experience, it was one of my first sites, and I paid via paypal. I contacted for help AFTER everything was finished, and I thought that he would help me with this one problem, but yea no luck.

      As far as checking for false stats, thats why Flippa authenticates Google Analytics and Adsense, and thats also why you shouldnt rely on other things like AwStats for statistics.

  5. videoglade says:

    I thing if person wanna be “internet businessman” is better to make his own website or pay someone for it.

    1. The thing about that is that some don’t want to spend the time to create a website that has links and authority…they would simply like to buy one and grow it from there….

    2. Indeed. Sometime you just want to buy a website because the time and amount of money you have to spend on a website is much more of a hassle. But you just have to be careful about the buying part 🙂

      1. Most people who simply buy a site don’t have the extra time to build it up…easier to pay

  6. Hey John / Hemal,

    Good rundown. I’d also add to use Escrow for the payment where possible as many cases involve sellers running off with the money and either not transferring a site or only transferring the domain.

    I’ve wrote an article on the most common Flippa scams and how to avoid them

    Website Selling Scams

    (Feel free to edit this out if it’s not cool to post a link here!)

    All the best


    1. d3so says:

      I think those of you who are interested in buying or selling sites should read his article. It was very helpful.

    2. I’ve just read your article mate. And i gotta say; really nicely written 🙂

  7. leo says:

    Will they sell the site that not own by them?

    1. d3so says:

      I don’t think it’s possible to sell sites that aren’t owned by the seller.

    2. Yeah i don’t think that you can sell a website that is not owned by you 😛

  8. If you create a site with wordpress that won’t happen.Every thing will go as planned. 🙂

    1. Did you take the time to read what Hemal wrote? He clearly states “This was when I bought a WordPress site…”, so yes, it can happen if the seller is not trustworthy, SY

    2. Indeed. Read more carefully when writing next time 🙂

  9. I think I would rather stick to building my own sites, after all it is not a hard thing to do and at least you are familiar with all the settings etc..

    Some good points for those thinking of buying a ready made site.


    1. I concur. Unless it’s a huge site that you can’t build, just do it yourself 🙂

      1. Rick Nielsen says:

        I agree. Unless it’s just to costly, build your own site and business model. I know too many people that have been burnt before. Thanks for the post.

  10. I will be sure to check out Flippa, because it looks like a great idea to have additional sites added to the portfolio with already steady traffic! Thanks!

    1. Addy Kho says:

      I have never tried flippa before but heard som e people are making good money there

  11. Rick Byrd says:

    I have never used Flippa, as a matter of fact I have never bought an existing website.

    I have thought about it but just have not brought myself to do it…yet.

    I do appreciate the tips. I never really thought about the fact that their might be duplicate sights. I guess I am still a little nieve.

    With all the potential issues with buying an existing site, is it really worth it? Are there as many success stories as there are horror stories when flipping websites?

    – Rick

    1. Hemal says:


      Its definitely worth it to find that “needle in haystack” website to add to your portfolio. Its always great to be able to create your own custom websites, but those who don’t have time (or want to accelerate their income) will find that buying premade sites is a great way to start generating side income.

  12. PPC Ian says:

    Awesome post! Another tip that has worked for me: patience. Don’t jump at the first site you see. If you wait long enough the perfect opportunity will come around. I have paid very low multiples of AdSense rev by being patient and negotiating well.

  13. Great post hemal. I know a lot of people that use flippa and so far it’s been a good experience.

  14. d3so says:

    A couple of years ago my cousin sold his blog for nearly $10K. That was when flippa was sitepoint. He had a profitable blog with a good readership but the new owner killed it 🙁
    same thing happened with theuniversitykid
    I’m probably going to sell my blog within a couple of years.

    1. Well, as long as your cousin is happy, i don’t think the rest matters. Although it would probably feel bad when your successful blog falls miserably after being handed to a new owner. I mean it has your effort and all 🙂

      1. d3so says:

        Yea he needed the money for a new car cause he was graduating from high school. That blog would’ve been worth even more if he kept it.

  15. Lovely post. It’s really important to watch out when you’re buying any type of website or anything on the web. Otherwise the odds are; you’re screwed 😛

  16. Dino Vedo says:

    just use escrow and you should be safe! dont use paypal since they can screw you over sometimes..

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I always use Escrow.com when buying sites and recommend it. Great point!

      1. d3so says:

        Nice, thanks for the recommendation Ian. I will keep this site bookmarked.

  17. Never bought a site of Flippa but will watch out.

    1. PPC Ian says:

      I also recommend this site called Buy Sell Website. Lots of junk but some real gems from time to time. Snapped up an amazing financial services site a few years back.

  18. Lee Roy says:

    I had few buys there, but i ask for video confirmation of stats and much more, if they want to pay them a lot cash, then make me vids!

  19. Addy Kho says:

    good tips John

  20. Luke says:

    I have a site up for sale right now on flippa. I think it’s a quality site and a good sale 🙂

  21. Hemal says:

    Luke, I don’t want to be rude, but I dont think anyone will want to buy that site. It doesnt have solid statistics proof, nor does it have any proof of monitization. I should make a new article about flippa from the sellers perspective! 🙂

  22. racks says:

    Some nice tips there. Definitely have to do a lot of homework before buying.

  23. Could you do a segment on selling? How exactly do we sell a site and transfer the content to them? Thanks John!

  24. I’ve been dipping into Flippa for about 6 months. It’s really hard to find the diamonds but they’re in there.

  25. tony says:

    Hi i have a question. i just recently bought a site from a seller online. the seller promised to help me start up the site, knowing it was my first. i cant get in contact with the seller, and have no idea where to begin. Now im out a large amount of money, with a site i know nothing to do with. please reply with any advice or suggestions.

  26. Very good one.

    Certainly Flippa is growing and in near future we are not able to see any competitor as well.

  27. Robert says:

    Another important thing for all buyers to remember is that if you do buy a website where the seller has made false claims that Flippa may not be much help to you.

    Whereas Flippa is one of the largest and most popular website marketplaces it is by no means the safest place to conduct business. Just try to get Flippa to look into any auction you report as fraud and see how far you get.

    Flippa has the potential to be a really great marketplace, but until it places the needs of its buyers and sellers above its own profit motive it will fail to be the best it can be.


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