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Last updated: June 11, 2022
In this review of Empire Flippers, I am going to document the process of selling one of my niche websites using them as the broker.
A while back, I published a niche site case study around a small website that generated good revenue within a short time frame, and after much thinking I decided to sell this affiliate website.
Read on to find out more about this website, my reasons to sell the site, and what my experience was with Empire Flippers as a first-time seller.
You can check out the website listing on Empire Flippers here. Please note that the sale took place back in 2018, and I have since sold various websites through different channels. I have tried to keep this review up-to-date in regards to the Empire Flippers selling process to keep it as accurate as possible.
Why Empire Flippers?
As you can read in the case study, this particular website performed really well. With a strong focus on keywords, site structure, and on-page SEO, this website generated $23,000 in Amazon income in its first 9 months.
In March 2017 however, Amazon changed its fee schedule which had a big impact on the site. Commission went from (max) 8% to 3%. In addition, I noticed quite a few big competitors popping up in the second half of 2017 which had an impact on the site’s rankings.
Throughout 2017 though, the site still did very well and earned me a good side income. And with the domain slowly aging, the site would still have a lot of growth potential. But as my portfolio of websites was growing steadily, I was not spending enough time on this site.
To get the website back up in the rankings and knock out the competition, new content would have to be published regularly. But I simply didn’t have enough time or motivation for that anymore, because my focus had shifted to other websites. So, I made the decision to sell the website and cash in.
Choosing a Broker
There are several website brokers out there that you can use to help sell your website. Most Internet marketers are familiar with Flippa and Empire Flippers as two of the biggest brokers.
Option 1: Flippa
For me it was clear right from the start that I didn’t want to sell the site through Flippa. If you’re a regular visitor of the Flippa marketplace, you will know that it has a lot of garbage websites for sale.
In addition, Flippa tends to attract scammers, simply because Flippa doesn’t do much vetting. What you see is what you get. Well, not really, because all too often sellers make false statements about their traffic and income.
Another reason I didn’t want to choose Flippa was that the site would be auctioned in public, with the domain and website stats visible to everyone. This usually attracts copycats which wouldn’t benefit me or the potential buyer.
Last but not least, with Flippa I wasn’t confident that I could get the best price for my website. It’s cheap to list the site, but I often see sites being sold for less than what I believe they are worth. Or worse, they don’t get sold at all. There are too many time-wasters and bargain hunters active on the Flippa platform.
Note that Flippa has improved a lot over the years. They now have an expert vetting team in place, they verify sellers and buyers, they do fund verifications, they offer Escrow services, and much more.
Option 2: Empire Flippers
With Empire Flippers I wouldn’t have to deal with these issues and risks.
The vetting process at Empire Flippers is quite strict, which weeds out the scammers and time-wasters, and attracts more professional buyers and sellers.
In addition, Empire Flippers hides the URL from the public and can only be obtained if you’re willing to pay a 5% deposit.
Again, this weeds out most of the scammers and copycats.
The website flipping industry has quite literally boomed in the last ten years, and many more brokers have entered the scene.
Here are a few good options:
This is a good marketplace for lower-priced content and affiliate websites. Web properties can be sold quite quickly with MotionInvest.
- FE International:
A respected broker in the online business industry. They cater to mid to large online businesses.
- Private Sale:
There is no strict need to go through a broker. A private sale is a common way to sell a website, but it’s important to go through an escrow process. Facebook can be a good platform to find buyers and websites to buy.
Long story short, I chose Empire Flippers to sell my small niche website.
The Empire Flippers Process
Okay, so I decided to sell my website with Empire Flippers. Let’s go through the process step by step and see how it worked out for me.
1. Submitting the Site
The first step was to submit my site to be listed for sale. As I was a first-time seller on Empire Flippers, I had to pay $297 for this service. For any future listings, I would only need to pay $97.
This may sound like a hefty fee, but Empire Flippers will need to do their initial checks to determine whether the site is legit and is a sellable asset. It only makes sense that they want to get compensated for this service.
Note that Empire Flippers right now, in the year 2022, does not charge a listing fee. They do, of course, still take a commission, which is 15% for businesses valued under $700,000.
Empire Flippers required me to submit the following initial information about me and the website:
- The URL of the business.
- Date the business was started.
- Date the business first made money.
- Monetization methods.
- Average net profit (per month) over the last 3/6/12 months.
- Website tracking installed.
- The niche/industry the business is in.
- Reasons for selling the business.
Once I submitted the payment and answered all these questions, Empire Flippers created a support ticket on my behalf. This ticket is called a “First Time Seller” support ticket.
2. Vetting the Site
A couple of days later, Empire Flippers asked me to fill out a P&L form with accompanying screenshots of Amazon reports of the previous 12 months, or as far back as I could possibly go.
In addition, I had to answer a new set of questions with more details about the business. The aim of these questions was to get more clarity around things like link-building services, domain name switches, hours per week spent on the business, any employees, social media accounts, assets included in the sale, etc.
I then had to grant Empire Flippers read access to Google Analytics and my Amazon Associates account. Based on all the information provided, Empire Flippers would then create a vetting report based on which the Vetting Supervisor would decide whether to go ahead with the listing and for what sale price.
Luckily my website was approved at a sale price of $21,555.52 based on a 12-month average income and a 25x multiple valuation factor. My own valuation of the site was similar, so I happily gave my approval to go ahead with the listing.
Average monthly revenue = $10,375.60 / 12 = $864.63
Average monthly expenses = $28.95 / 12 = $2.41
Average monthly net profit = $864.63 – $2.41 = $862.22
Sales price = $862.22 * 25 = $21,555.52
3. Listing the Site
A few days later the support ticket was updated with a message saying that the listing was going to go live on the Empire Flippers marketplace at 10AM that day.
I was “warned” that the first couple of hours of a listing being live would be quite busy, and that it would be good for me to be on standby in case of any immediate Google Analytics access requests by depositors. As it was midnight in my time zone, I decided to go to bed and just set the alarm early.
Empire Flippers closed the “First Time Seller” ticket and created a new support ticket on my behalf. This ticket is called an “Active Listing” support ticket.
4. Selling the Site
When I woke up early the next morning, the site was sold! There were no questions, negotiations, or anything else that required my input.
The eventual buyer paid the 5% refundable deposit, did his own quick due diligence, and transferred the full sale price to Empire Flippers. And all that happened while I was asleep.
I was also surprised to see around 20 Google Analytics access requests in that support ticket. This means that all these people paid that 5% deposit and as such were considered serious buyers.
This actually did blow me away. I expected perhaps a few people to show some level of interest, but not that many in such a short time frame so quickly after the listing had gone live.
5. Migrating the Site
As soon as the site was sold, Empire Flippers closed the “Active Listing” ticket and created a new support ticket on behalf of the seller with me included as a CC.
This ticket is called a “Migrations” support ticket and is used by all three parties (Empire Flippers, the buyer, and me) to discuss the migration of the site and to keep track of the progress.
Having all parties involved in the very same support ticket actually works really well as it promotes transparency and any potential migration issues can be resolved promptly.
The first step in the migration process was to move the website to the buyer’s hosting account.
Both I and the buyer had to provide access to our hosting accounts so that the Empire Flippers migrations team could perform the actual migration. This also includes changing the Amazon affiliate links throughout the website.
Performing the actual website migration is part of the service that Empire provides to the seller and buyer. However, if you prefer, you can also do it yourself in case you’re not entirely comfortable handing out hosting account credentials to third parties.
When the migration was done and tested, it was time to transfer the domain to the buyer’s registrar. I had already handed over social media accounts to the new owner so the domain was the last step in the migration process.
The buyer then had to officially confirm that the website was fully migrated and that everything was working as expected. Once that was all done, the buyer authorized the release of funds from Empire Flippers to me as the seller.
6. The Payout
Once the buyer gave his authorization to release the funds, Empire Flippers offered me a few options to receive the payout. These options were Bitcoin, ACH transfer, bank wire, or TransferWise.
I chose a direct bank wire transfer, gave Empire Flippers my bank details, and the money was received 24 hours later.
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Hopefully this review of Empire Flippers has given you some helpful insights.
Selling websites can be quite a nerve-racking process. Unlike selling a car or a house, selling a website means everything is virtual. You don’t see or know the potential buyers or brokers.
Vetting the site, listing the site, communicating with the broker and buyer, migrating the site, receiving the payment, everything happens online.
This is convenient, but it can also create a degree of uncertainty. I highly recommend Empire Flippers as a broker. They communicate openly and clearly, the process is streamlined and, most importantly, the funds are processed safely, for the seller as well as for the buyer.
|Empire Flippers is a website broker that has a streamlined process in place for selling web properties, resulting in sellers getting the best price and buyers being confident they are purchasing a web property that has been properly vetted.
|4.5 (out of 5)