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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.
|Summary:||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.|
|Rating:||4.5 (out of 5)|
Thanks for your awesome post!
I am in the process of selling my site through Empire Flippers. They’re going to list it today, so I’m hoping all goes well. Would love to wake up tomorrow and get a notification the site’s sold!
It’s been nerve wracking as a first time seller. But yes, the EF team is pretty awesome. I didn’t mind paying the $297 fee just to get this kind of service.
All the best,
Thanks Angie, that’s awesome, hopefully you will get a good price. Most websites listed on Empire Flippers sell very quickly!
Thanks for writing such a detail post! I have a quick question. The average monthly expenses of the site are quite low to me. Could you please explain that? Thank you.
The site was hosted on a VPS with a bunch of other websites and that was the only expense. There were no other cost items and I also did all the writing myself.
Is it possible to sell a website that never makes money and gets little traffic on Empire Flippers?
No Empire Flippers is not the right market place for sites that don’t generate any revenue. You could consider selling the domain through Flippa.
Thanks for writing this blog post.
I have a few questions for you:
1) First, you wrote this in regards to calculating how much your website was worth:
“Average monthly revenue = $10,375.60 / 12 = $864.63”
I’m a little confused. Are you saying that your website made $10,375.60 per month? Or that’s how much you made for a full year, and thus you divided $10,375.60 by 12 (months) to get the average monthly revenue?
If it’s the latter, I understand. But if it’s the former, I don’t understand, so I just wanted to clarify.
2) And secondly, again just to be clear, you gave Empire Flippers access to your Amazon Associates account, and your Google Analytics account. How long did they need access to your account? And if you owned other websites that used Amazon Associates, how was Empire Flippers able to know which site was generating which income via Amazon Associates?
3) Lastly, did any potential buyers need access to your personal accounts (Google Analytics or Amazon Associates)? Or just Empire Flippers?
4) Ultimately, how long did it take for you to transfer the website to the new owner? And if you used any security for your website, was it difficult or challenging to remove the security or firewall protection on your site in order to transfer the website?
1) Yes it’s the latter. I should have used brackets haha, like so:
Average monthly revenue = ($10,375.60 / 12) = $864.63
There’s nothing spectacular about that income of course, but the purpose of this article is to describe the selling process via EF.
2) Yes Empire Flippers had read access to both GA and Amazon Associates. From what I remember, they required access up until the site was handed over, to make sure the listing was correct up until that point. For example, if the listing were to be live for a couple of weeks or months, I would have had to add new traffic and revenue data and screenshots to the listing to keep things recent. Hope that makes sense.
If you have multiple sites in one Amazon Associates account, you would typically have a different tracking ID (or IDs) for each website. Of course, this is never 100% scam proof, but the people at Empire Flippers (and buyers as well) are smart enough to see through that and to work out whether the numbers make sense or not.
3) Potential buyers who pay the deposit get read access to GA, but I didn’t have to grant anyone access because the site was already sold by the time I woke up in the early morning (I am AUS based).
4) The transfer was handled by EF but you can also decide to do it yourself if you prefer. So both myself and the buyer had to give Empire Flippers access to our hosting accounts. I believe it took a couple of days to transfer the site. This also included changing all the tracking IDs to what the new owner wanted them to be. Security wise, the new owner simply purchased an SSL certificate at his host and installed it after transfer. No firewall or anything like that.
Hope this helps.
Hey AJ Mens,
I have software base website which is making good money, can I sell it on Empire Flippers?
Yeah I don’t see why not. Just submit the site, if it doesn’t get listed, you’ll get your listing fee back.
Thanks AJ! Jut a quick question. Did the buyer use the 14 day inspection period? If so, was it ok handing over control of your site without actually getting any money?
Hi Adam, as soon as the domain and site were handed over and everything was set up on the buyer’s hosting account, Empire Flippers simply requested the buyer to confirm that everything was working as expected and ask permission to release the funds to me as the seller. I didn’t mind handing over control at all, because the buyer would need to have a legitimate reason to cancel the sale and not release the funds. If there is no valid reason, then Empire Flippers would always release the funds to the seller. It’s like an escrow agreement and protects both the buyer and seller. In other words, if the site you’re selling is legit, there is no need to worry about not receiving the payout.
It’s not a real escrow, since Empire Flippers has a vested interest with the seller in seeing it close. Therefore EF and the seller are on the same team.
That’s a fair point Juan, but I do believe that if it turns out that there is something fundamentally wrong with the site being purchased, the buyer has a right to cancel.
How did you grow the website without any backlinks?
Please explain, thank you.
I simply focused on publishing good quality, highly optimized content, and let Google do the rest.
You can read more about it in the case study linked in the article.
I had a bad experience with Empire Flippers and I’m going to post it here because I think others should be warned.
Empire Flippers gave my affiliate marketing website a multiplier of 46x to win my business over a competitor, telling me they would sell it within 30 days. The valuation was 780k.
Dozens of buyers were given access to my Google Analytics and P&L and other highly sensitive information. That’s necessary, of course, but the problem was that I got no offers at all.
What I did get was a crap ton of competition in the SERPs, within a few months of listing the site (which I pulled from the listings after two months of no offers).
I am convinced that these competitors entered my niche after gaining access to my site via Empire Flippers. Now that there’s so much competition in my niche, revenue is down more than half.
They have no way to screen out potential competitors versus serious buyers so listing your site is extremely risky. If I had a do-over I would have gone through a more discreet and private broker.
That’s interesting, thanks for sharing Remy.
One would think that having to pay a sizable deposit to see the URL and stats would keep copycats and competitors out.