Dont Use Flippa Until You Read This…Warning

Last Updated August 2012

Since Prosperly’s inception, I have been a proponent of Flippa, formerly Sitepoint Marketplace. Flippa is the main website where people go to buy and sell websites. Whenever I have sold websites in the past I have always dealt directly with the buyer and never used Flippa to sell before. I finally decided to try them out in selling a website to see how it would turn out for me. That is when I realized they have many flaws I couldn’t overlook.

Let me just say that I think you can use Flippa to find websites to buy if you know how to filter through all of the garbage.

Before I go into those flaws let me just report that I did reach an agreement on a purchase price for the site only to have to deal fall through over the next several weeks.

1. Buyers on Flippa expect to get a steal on a website. The seemingly going rate on the site is 10 months of net revenue. I’m not sure where or how this came to be but in the real business world that ratio is laughable. Most businesses sell for 2-3 years net revenue. I sold a website last year for a 7 year net revenue. Why 10 months? Because you don’t want to have to pay for a business what it is worth?

I think the main problem is sellers are putting their site out on display showing everyone exactly how your website makes money and exactly how much money you’re making. This is a problem because in the internet world the barrier to entry is almost non-existent. Any Joe Shmoe can buy a domain for $8, then go get a free WordPress template and be up and running in 10 minutes. Their thought process is since it is so easy why should they pay a 2 year multiple for a website. Inevitably most people that start these quick websites never achieve the traffic nor the money that the site for sell is doing but it just creates a problem where the market of buyers at a real business price is not there.

2. The fee structure gets you on the front end and back end. One of the problems I had with Flippa was the bookend fees they charged. They charge you to list your site for sale with all kinds of listing upgrades. You can easily end up spending $40-$50 to list your site for sale. I have no problem with them doing this. It is normal for businesses to charge listing fees.

On top of the listing fee is the purchase price fee. I can’t remember what that percentage is (I want to say 5%) but they cap you out at $499. That is where my site fell, the $499 cap. So I had to pay $40-$50 to list and then they wanted me to pay $499 once the deal had gone through. I agreed to this reluctantly because I knew Flippa could provide me with an audience. I just think you should make it one or the other. Charge me a listing fee, charge me a final sale fee, but don’t be greedy and charge me both.

Warning About Some Buyers On Flippa

3. Beware of buyers on flippa that bid on your auction and then never pay. After I reached the agreement with the buyer he kept assuring me that he was going to pay me for the site. Since I had never sold on Flippa before I had no reason to question him. He kept asking for more time.

Meanwhile Flippa was emailing me asking for me to pay the success fee and letting me know that if the buyer had backed out I could file a dispute. I didn’t file the dispute because the buyer kept saying he was going to pay me. Now to their credit they did give me several reminders to file a dispute but the timing just didnt work out for me.

So Flippa assumed that I had sold the site and wanted the success fee. They told me they would suspend my account if I didn’t pay, which eventually happened because I didn’t receive any money and therefore wouldn’t pay the success fee. Seems like a simple Whois lookup could have solved the problem. As long as you file a dispute in time you shouldn’t have any problem.

If the buyer drags you on for more than 2 weeks just file a dispute. It is not worth the hassle of being lead on forever just to not get paid.

A previous version of this post indicated that Flippa charges a success fee on when a sale falls through. Flippa does not charge the success fee in this case.

Flippa Alternative

If you want to find out where I go to find websites to buy click here.

So where do we go to find good buyers of websites. I have a few suggestions.

The first Flippa alternative I would suggest when you are looking to sell a site is to contact your competitors. Remember, your competition is not your enemy. They can be some of your most valuable assets. If one of my competitors contacted me about buying their site I would be very interested. I have even tried to buy out my competition before.

Another option is to go directly to a business broker. I would only do this if your website is making over $3k a month. Their fees are high but they will also get you top dollar for your business.

The best option is to wait for someone to come to you. If you build an awesome website with great SEO rankings it won’t be long before people are contacting you about buying your site. This puts you in the driver seat. For example, on the site I sold for the 7 year multiple I had already received an offer for just over a 1 year multiple. The amount didn’t excite me so I passed. I fixed up the site more and got even higher rankings and then sold it for the 7 years of net revenue. That did excite me.

I know that none of these are real alternatives of flippa because they are not marketplaces. I am going to find a good one. This industry deserves something better.

Update March 28, 2012

So I had another flippa account that I had been using long before this ever happened. I recently logged in with it to check a private auction that was happening. About a week ago they contacted me and notified me that they are shutting that account down too because it was a duplicate of my suspended account. I laughed because I hadn’t used that account since they were Sitepoint but I just thought it was interesting that they would come after that account too 2 years later.

As I have thought more about trying to buy websites on Flippa I decided to pay them the $249 success fee from 2 years earlier.

When I went to pay I emailed them and asked them to confirm that I would get the refund of the $249 in flippa credits. This was their response:

As you did not enter the Formal Dispute Procedure, we have no way of verifying that the site transfer did occur after the Sales Completion Date. If you had entered the Dispute Procedure, we would have been able to waive / credit your success fees and allow you to relist the item for free. Now that over a year has passed, we are not able to offer you a credit.
The Suspension has been removed from both of your accounts.

Please let us know if you need further information or assistance.

Kind Regards,

Flippa Customer Support.

But my account is in good standing again so that is good.

Update June 7, 2012 – They Paid Me Back!

I just wanted to give a quick update. This post has gotten a lot of exposure both in the search engines and also in forums as well. Well it finally got the upper management at flippa’s attention. Of course they contacted me and told me that I never should have had to pay the fee for the failed listing and that they have all of these new policies in place to ensure that doesn’t happen anymore. Then they gave me my money back.

How do I feel about all of this? I appreciate that they swallowed their pride and gave me my money back but there is just this prideful part of me that can’t help but think that I got a refund because I am causing them a lot of negative publicity. If this was a true gesture of caring for their customers then good on them. I guess I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Link Cloaking – How cloaking affiliate links will make you more money

Link Cloaking

What the heck is link cloaking? To be as plain as possible, cloaking affiliate links is the art of showing your visitors an internal link when they mouse over an affiliate link so that the visitor doesn’t think they are leaving your site.

For example, one of the websites we used to run was a site that provided leads to online universities. We used a third party affiliate company to gather the leads. So when someone came to our site and wanted to request information from University of Phoenix they had to click on the “request info” button.

When they would do that they would be taken off of our site and to the third party affiliate company where they could fill out the form to request info. The url would be something like

So in order to make a more user friendly experience we started cloaking affiliate links by creating a php redirect that when they hovered over the “request info” button it showed the url destination to be

This type of link cloaking created a less stressful user experience so they would be more likely to click on the link. They still ended up on the same affiliate page but we found out that more people would click through to the page with the affiliate links cloaked.

Link Cloaking To The Next Level

After awhile we saw that there was a disconnect between the design of our site and the design of the affiliate pages we were sending our visitors to. We really wanted to create consistency as much as possible so we wanted somehow to keep the same design of the site on the affiliate page.

Since we couldn’t control the affiliates website we went to the next best thing. We used an iframe to keep the form where they request information on our site. This creates a smoother user experience.


When you set up your affiliate pages using this link cloaking technology your website visitors don’t ever have to know that they are dealing with an outside website. Because the user experience stays completely seamless they will be more likely to fill out the form and thus we would make more money.

So if you are looking for a great way to cloak affiliate links, this has been one of the most successful ways that we have done it. The biggest thing to take away is that ultimately what we are doing is taking away any mental roadblocks our users might have before they get to the form. Good luck with your link cloaking strategies.

Make Money With Clickbank – Does It Work?

Can you make money with clickbank?

We have posted before about how our favorite way to make money online is through affiliate marketing. This has been our bread and butter and has by far generated the most money with the least amount of ongoing effort.

clickbank12One of the biggest affiliate networks around that you can make money with is ClickBank. This company allows you to sell your digital products using their service and create and affiliate program to get a group of salesmen for your product.

They have been widely successful in the internet marketing world and many people make a lot of money with them.

How does Click Bank work?

There are two ways to really make money with ClickBank. The first is to use them to promote your own product. If you have created an ebook for example you can create an account with them and use Clickbank as your payment processor. The advantage to this is that they also serve as your affiliate program manager and they help you recruit affiliates to promote your product.

All you have to do is tell them what percentage of the sale you are willing to pay the affiliates and then ClickBank handles the rest. When an order is placed that came from one of your affiliates ClickBank automatically gives that affiliate the percentage you agreed to and then they deposit the rest of the money into your account. This way you both benefit.

The second way to make money with ClickBank is by signing up to promote other peoples products. This is a great way to decide on an industry to get in. Logon to ClickBank and search through the thousands of products available to promote. These range anywhere from dog training, to diet to learning another language. If you have an interest in life more than likely there is a product (or multiple products) you can promote.

The next step is to find the product and the offer that looks the best and create a website around it. One of the things that we like to do when we find an industry or niche that has a ton of products is to create a review website and review all of the products in that niche. If you do this right you can really help people make buying decisions and they will trust your advice and buy the product through your affiliate link.

It is also easy to create a lot of great content that will end up ranking in the search engines as you write reviews on each product individually. This is our “long term” method to making money through affiliate marketing. I say long term because we love free traffic from search engines and it takes a little time to get ranked but the long term effect is that you get traffic month after month and can really count on the income from the site when you put the time in.

Making Money Through ClickBank – Our Conclusion

We have spent some time on ClickBank looking at different offers that are available to promote. One thing that we have realized is that there are thousands of products on ClickBank that should not be there. Since a person has nothing to lose by placing a product on ClickBank to be promoted they can create a piece of garbage ebook and offer a 75% commission and affiliates will try to sell it.

This is a great disservice to the consumer and my only suggestion to you is that you make sure that any product you promote is legitimate and can truly help people. You wouldn’t want to sell people lung cancer just because you could get 75% of the sale. Promote good products and people will trust your opinion and advice and thus you will make more money with ClickBank.

Make Money Posting Links On Google is a SCAM!!

Yesterday I came across a Google ad on someone’s website. The ad caught my eye because they touted how they made $7k a month posting links on Google. So I clicked on the ad and it was a story about a young guy who believe it or not grew up in the exact city where my office is.

Since he made a point to mention it twice I knew something was fishy. Also the product the guy was selling how to make money posting links on Google. Just the terminology behind this product threw up a huge red flag.

Anyway, I went through the sales copy and saw all these pictures of Google checks he was saying was proof of income yet conveniently all of the Pay To The Order of names were blacked out. So he tells me how he and his new wife just bought their new Range Rover with the money they made posting links on Google.

At that point I knew the whole thing was a scam. If you claim to make $7k a month ($84k a year) there aint no way you’re buying a new Range Rover which is a $90k car.

Anyway, I was on another website this morning and low and behold I saw another ad that looked very similar to the one I found yesterday.


So of course I clicked on it and low and behold it was another website touting the exact same thing.

In fact, by some rare coincidence this guy grew up in the same town that my office is in (their websites are just looking at my IP address and then saying they grew up in that town), and he also was recently married and with the money he made from posting links on Google bought the exact same Range Rover (even used the same picture).

This kind of crap happens all of the time and people get duped into thinking they are buying a product from someone who is sincere about how they make money online.

The point of this is that there are probably hundreds if not thousands of these clone websites that these people just replace their name and pictures and try to convince you that they really have made money posting links on Google.

I am going to show you what the website looks like so that if you see it you know NOT TO BUY ANYTHING from them:


This is the sign up page all of these sites point to:


Updated 4/16/2009

Many people have been asking us if there is a legitimate way to make money posting links on Google (or with Adsense sites) and the answer is yes. We have some good friends over at who do an awesome job teaching people in a legitimate way how to make money with adsense. Check them out if that is what you are looking for.

Update 5/5/2009

Thanks to our readers who have pointed out that these guys are now creating different websites that don’t have the same Range Rover and different pictures of checks but be forewarned that it is the same offer. Here is a snapshot of the new page:


Update 6/3/2009

One of our readers sent me the link to this site. Another version of the scam:


UPDATE: 9-3-2009

We have found probably the most clever attempt to con people that these guys have come up with yet. They went out and bought the website and set it up to look like a Yahoo Answers or something similar. The website has no home page at all, just a sub page that makes t look like someone asked about this Google links thing and then all these “real people” respond with how great it is. DON’T FALL FOR IT PEOPLE!!

Here is what the page looks like:


Update 12-9-09

I found this article this morning on our local news website talking about Google fighting back against these scammers. Here is a link to the article and below is the news clip:

Video Courtesy of

Update July 2011

One of the latest tactics these rat holes are using is to build a fake news website and then write an “article” that supposes that someone made a lot of money using their system.

This Is A Fake News Website

These guys have been doing this for over 2 years now and you probably are wondering how they are still in business. Well if you read the fine print they put at the bottom of these news pages and all of their other scam pages they cover themselves legally.

What Kind Of News Site Has Terms And Conditions On The Footer of the Home Page?

Among other things they say in their terms and conditions that “this blog, and any page on this website, are not to be taken literally or as a non-fiction story.

The audacity! They prey on the fact that we as humans are too lazy to read the fine print. They say right in the footer that the whole thing is a lie.

Lesson here is take the time to read the fine print.

New To Prosperly?

If this is your first visit to Prosperly, this post explains a lot about what we do here. You can also read about the Prosperly Way.