205 – Flipping websites with Blake Hutchison

Interview with Blake Hutchison and Nathan Wrigley

Flipping domains can be a profitable business and today on the WP Builds WordPress podcast we’re going to be hearing about how and why you might want to look into doing it.

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Firstly though, what is domain flipping? In it’s simplest form it’s the process of buying (or selling) a domain. In the real world businesses are bought and sold all the time, there’s nothing unusual about it at all, but buying a current domain can be a little harder.

This difficulty is what lead today’s guest, Blake Hutchison to create the website Flippa. It’s a marketplace where you can look to purchase an existing online business from the current owner.

They’ve packaged up the whole process so that it’s as easy as possible, and as you’ll hear in the podcast, there’s a lot more to this that you migth think.

Firstly, it’s a double fronted marketplace, meaning that you can go there with a business to sell, or go there with the intention of buying a business. Flippa works from both ends to make the process as smooth as possible.

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I keep using the word business, but Flippa deals with just about anything online that could be bought or sold. That could be any of the following:

  • website
  • eCommerce store
  • blog
  • domain
  • SaaS business
  • affiliate site
  • app

The list could go on, but the point is that it’s not just domains that you can buy and sell, but to make life easier, I’ll just use the word ‘business’ and we know that it means way more!

In the podcast I talk to Blake briefly about how the pandemic is affecting the business of flipping.

We then move into a more substantive talk about what the Flippa platform is like to use from the point of view of a seller. What hoops do you have to jump through to ensure that your listing is accurate and suitable for sale on the site? What kind of websites are a good fit for flipping? Are there any rules for what sells well and what does not. What due diligence does Flippa need before a site can be listed? We don’t want to buy something which turns out to just be smoke and mirrors do we? We want to know the details: how many people visist the site a month, what revenue streams does the site offer? What do the books look like over the last period? All of this is vital if you’re going to buy something worth investing in and not a dud!

This leads to the opposite side of the same conversation – what is not worth flipping. Maybe you have a passion project that you’ve devoted countless hours to, it’s worked out well, but it’s not likely to continue being a success unless the new owner shares that passion. I for example can think of multiple sites that I would love to take over. I’d pour my energy into them because I’m interested in the content that they create, but there also countless websites that I’d hate to run. I’d be lousy at keeping them going because I’m just not fascinated by what it is that they create. I’d run them into the ground in a few months and what profitability there was would be squandered.

So… we talk about that. If you’re going to get into flipping websites, what are the questions that you need to ask yourself in order to make the process more likely to get a return.

I also get into a conversation about the legalities of flipping domains. Clearly, you’re going to need to know that what you’ve bought is legally yours. How does Flippa ensure this. It’s actually really robust and allows you to move through the process with confidence…

  • How does the payment system work?
  • What about cross border sales, who takes care of the legal side of things when there’s multiple jurisdictions at play?

It’s a great conversation about a new subject to me. The audio is a little spotty at times, but there certainly nothing unlistenable in here.

Please comment here or in the WP Builds Facebook group if you’ve got something that you’d like to add.

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Transcript (if available)

These transcripts are created using software, so apologies if there are errors in them.

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Nathan Wrigley: [00:00:00] Welcome to the WP Builds podcast, bringing you the latest news from the WordPress community. Welcome your host, David Walmsley and Nathan Wrigley.
Hello there and welcome to the WP Bill's podcast. Once again, this is episode number 205 entitled flipping websites with Blake Hutchison. It was published on Thursday, the 12th of November, 2020, my name's Nathan Wrigley, and some very short housekeeping before we begin. As we all know, black Friday is just around the corner and WP has got all of your work.
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WordPress's it's a great place to hang out. The WP Bill's podcast was brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time? Like in a couple of minutes, use your existing pages and test anything against anything else? Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or builder and the WordPress block editor.
Go check it out and get a free [email protected]. Okay. What are we talking about in the podcast today? This is a really interesting subject. It's an area that I haven't really strayed into. It's all about flipping things. And what I mean by that is something that you've got that you want to sell or something that you'd like to have, and you wish to buy it.
There's loads of different opportunities here. For example, it could be as simple as buying a domain, but it could be buying an app or it could be buying some sort of SAS thing, which is out there. Blake Hutchison has a product called flipper, F L I P a.com. And that service takes care of the entire process.
And there's more to it than you might think. So check out this episode of the WP Builds podcast. I hope that you enjoy hello there. Welcome to the WP Builds podcast. I'm glad that you've made it to the interview part today. I'm joined all the way from Australia by Blake Hutchison. Hello, Blake.
Blake Hutchison: [00:03:06] Hi, Nathan, how are you?
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:07] I'm very good. It's an interesting time that we're going through as we're recording this, the location where Blake lives is undergoing lockdowns and things. So we were just saying he's been sat in the same chair for many months. probably getting a bit fed up. Is his life normal over there?
How's it going?
Blake Hutchison: [00:03:22] Yeah, look, I wouldn't say it's normal. I think we're doing better than some, but we've got a. Particular problem in Victoria, which is the state that Melbourne is based in Melbourne, Australia, and we're on six week lockdown. So you're allowed out for an hour's worth of exercise and only to get food, unless you are considered an essential worker.
It's pretty restrictive. I'm sitting on a dining table in a little house and I go out for my coffee and then in the morning, and then my walk in the afternoon. And that is
Nathan Wrigley: [00:03:53] yeah. I know the feeling. yeah, I don't mean this to sound flippant. He said coining a phrase, which we'll get to shortly, but, yeah, best of luck.
I hope that all of that works out for you, but, Blake is certainly not here to talk about that. He sought to here to talk about something which we've really genuinely never strayed into and it's an area. I feel some of you may be deeply interested in, perhaps it's something you've engaged in. but Blake is here.
I don't, I'm going to say the word represent, but that might be the wrong word. It may be that he founded or owns or what have you, we'll get him to talk about that. But, we're talking about flipper F L I P a. So you can find [email protected] two PS and an a at the end, and this is a service. I could describe it, but you know what?
I think you'd do a better job. So what is flipper?
Blake Hutchison: [00:04:38] Oh, thank you. Nice. And yeah, it's a market, the place to buy and sell what we define as digital real estate. So for your listeners, WordPress sites, the most commonly sold. Piece of digital real estate on flipper. And that's pretty cool. Cause you get to see, awesome passion projects that are listed and people sell those to go on and do whatever they want to do, but to get a good price for, and the marketplace has lots of demands.
So it seems to be a burgeoning area.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:05:10] Yeah. So let's just take it from the point of view of the seller. First of all. So I presume that this is where the journey begins. if you, is there any sort of criteria, does the domain have to be a particular age? Does it have to have a certain volume of traffic? Do you go through some sort of onboarding process to give the domain evaluation?
Cause at the end of the day, that's what it's about. It's about selling on your digital real estate, as you say, I'm just going to say website to somebody else for an agreed fee. Everybody's happy. I presume that there's a proportion of that fee. That goes your way as the marketplace, but is there any sort of gotchas on the way, are there any domains that you just flat turned down because they stray into topics that you don't want to touch that are a bit toxic or perhaps they just don't have the traction, anything that you require before onboarding
Blake Hutchison: [00:05:55] then.
Yeah, great question. generally not, there's a couple of taboo areas, but generally speaking, those taboo areas relate to legality, versus anything else. So if it's legal subject matter, then you can list it on flipper. but where we do have some, criteria and hurdles, if you like relate to price, So you can't just list a three month old WordPress site for, a million dollars.
Cause that would be a little bit silly and wouldn't be representative of the true value of that website. So price is the biggest hurdle. and we help people along in that regard, but really what it's about is helping people who have run a passion project or helping people who. Build WordPress sites, find a path to realizing the value of what they've created.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:06:50] Yeah, it w we use the word estate agent in the UK, but I think in maybe in Australia, I don't know if it's the same realtor, somebody that sells. Yeah. Property's actual physical bricks and mortar buildings and so on. and, you rock up to the estate agent. You say I'd like to sell my house, please.
And then, there's a bunch of criteria. A, is it yours? Yes, it's mine. where is it? Okay. How many bedrooms? What age is it? Has it got insulation and so on? And so you go through this sort of tick list. They come around, they inspect it, see what the decor is like and so on. And then in the end they slap a price on it.
And you say, yeah, that seems to be what the market can bear. is it a similar kind of process?
Blake Hutchison: [00:07:26] Yeah, it's similar. I guess probably the biggest difference is that we're not a agent or a broker, so we have an onboarding system. and that onboarding system allow, it enables you to connect to certain things, to verify the information about your site.
So there's some stuff that's verifiable, there's some stuff that's not, but as an example, we automatically pull in the SEM rush data. or data depending on the era of the world you're from, and that gives us some sense of domain authority, keyword strengths, organic versus paid search. You can then, as the seller also connect to Google analytics, if you use ad sense, for example, you could also connect to Google AdSense, and therefore we populate your listing with that.
So there is a similar process that Saya. in your analogy, a real estate agent would use there's certainly checks and balances in that regard. And then of course there's lots of questions. So how long has the site been around for? that is validated information. All the way through to, less objective and less validated information.
why are you selling it or how do you make money or, had, w what do you write content about? That's stuff that the seller populates through an onboarding process. Got
Nathan Wrigley: [00:08:44] it. in the real estate model, there's this one killer factor, which is location, trumps everything.
If you've got, if you've got an identical house, in the middle of where I live. Compared to the center of London near the houses of parliament. you know how that goes? There's, it's literally going to be 50 times the value, maybe more, I don't know. But, I'm wondering if there are any kind of key killer components in amongst all of this.
Like for example, I dunno, the domain ending the shortness of the string itself, so if it's a very short four letter domain, as opposed to a long and wordy 15 letter domain, or perhaps even like a topic area, are there any things. Basically which are in your experience really have that kind of location value.
Blake Hutchison: [00:09:26] absolutely. so domain can come into it, but often doesn't so let's, I'll give you an example of where did come into it. So there was a website sold on flipper and the domain was translate.com.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:09:42] Wow.
Blake Hutchison: [00:09:42] Okay. Now that's clearly I strong domain. that website was second for translation as a keyword or translate these trends like that as a keyword on Google second, only to Google's own translation functionality.
So they were receiving, lots and lots of traffic. And as a result of that, whilst the domain was super strong and of course played. I huge factor in them. I will, them I'm able to rank as high as they were. ultimately what the buyer valued was its ability to acquire traffic organically. So the domain slight effect, but then you get other cases.
I'm staring at one now and the domain is crochet Kim. Now the person who owns the site was called Kim and the site was about crochet. now in that particular case, it has absolutely nothing. To deal with the divine. It has everything to do with, one the traffic and how that traffic is originated.
So is it organic or is it paid? Is if it's organic, is it coming from social? Is it coming from, search and then of course, age, which gives buyers some, I guess confidence in the seasonality or the consistency of the performance. And I would say age and traffic origination, akin to location.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:11:07] Yeah, really interesting. Just something Springs to mind, you mentioned crochet Kim, which let's say for example, I was into crochet, which it turns out I'm not, but where I to be into crochet and I was to acquire that domain. Like the Kim bit would really sit badly with me that would irk me and I'd want it to be crocheting Nathan.
but the traffic. It's really interesting to me, so you could buy it and then presumably once you've bought it, that there's all sorts of processes by where you could then re flip that domain under your ownership, redirect all the traffic and obviously do it carefully and do your due diligence and make sure you re you know, push everything into the right page and so on.
But you could then take the traffic from that and have a completely different domain
Blake Hutchison: [00:11:51] going forward. absolutely. you own the asset, you own the content that comes to that asset. You own the revenue that comes with that asset and then it's then up to you to optimize it in any way fit.
and we actually have, I guess there's two, I know we were talking about sellers, but there's two types of buyers. You've either got a sort of. I guess a side hustle or buy your next job group. So that means they're looking to supplement their income or in some cases replace their income in full in which case, they might just take crochet Kim and just continue to run it as it is.
Maybe they're not as. perturbed by the human bit as you might be. and they're just genuinely looking to make money from it. So in the case of crochet cam it's currently, or it was when it was sold making two and a half thousand dollars a month, that can be a very strong income for someone. but then on to your point, you also get those people who are.
Super into, aggregating sites and then optimizing them together using techniques or technology or whatever it might be. And so you get publishing companies who literally buy these small niche sites, because they've got the ability to acquire the eyeballs. In which case they might change the branding, they might change the design entirely.
but what they're buying is the content based, the ability for that content to drive, users, not only users, but ultimately advertises. And then I aggregate that accordingly. So yeah, you can turn it into whatever you want. It's like buying a house. You're a. you're looking at it for the value that it is today, but you're also looking at it for the value it can create for you.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:13:29] Yeah. It's interesting. So the, again, staying with the sort of seller model, if I was to go to the website, are there any kind of like rules of thumb that you would say, look, it's just not worth it. If X it's just not worth it. If Y in other words, if it's, you've got three months, Since you bought it, you've done nothing with it.
There's a WordPress website on there, but that's about, are there any kind of just don't bother
Blake Hutchison: [00:13:52] if yeah. when I think it's very easy. To start a site today and therefore, don't bother if you are selling something that doesn't have something unique about it. and by uniqueness, I think there's a couple of things there.
So uniqueness can be, it's. Set up beautifully for someone who is less familiar at setting up a website compared to yourself. And it has therefore a great design. Maybe it's got, some ideas embedded where you're aggregating content for it automatically. maybe it's set up beautifully with all the plugins or where did it go.
And maybe when somebody takes it over. That you've just saved them so much time in which case it's got value. But if you've literally just put a template design that you might've bought on in vAuto on top of a WordPress instance, and then you try to sell that for a thousand dollars. I wouldn't bother because buyers are stabby enough to say, you have an added value to my experience and there's enough data.
And. Insight for people out there now to know that. that's not what I should be buying. And therefore, if you own that type of asset, you shouldn't be selling it. There's a lot
Nathan Wrigley: [00:15:07] of people, community who were very skilled with WordPress for obvious reasons, and they wouldn't fully understand that. it's possible to spin up a WordPress website literally in seconds.
And it's also. Fairly easy these days, too. If you're not interested in doing it yourself, you can actually obviously get VAs or you could get some sort of third party service to create content of your choice on that. The reason I'm saying this is because that there might be people who are interested in this just as a, like a sideline to their business, just setting up websites, getting some growth.
And then as you call it, flip them over on flipper. Is that a sort of common di are there people in your community who are literally doing this as a career, again, from the seller point of view, they are building digital real estate somehow massaging it, working with it over time. And then with purely with an idea, then flip it a year, two, three years later.
Blake Hutchison: [00:16:00] Oh, absolutely. There are the interesting thing about the community, on flipper is that sellers and buyers or sellers. it's not actually the case that, that our seller doesn't buy and a buyer doesn't sell. And so you have members of the community, who are absolutely making a living from creating sites, optimizing those sites and selling those sites on flipper.
And there'll be people doing that, at a smaller level, I making maybe five to $10,000 a year. but there's people doing that. At a big Tom level, I making a hundred thousand dollars a year. And that means that they are highly skilled. They've got a knack for spinning these up efficiently, building a small content base, or at least providing the tools which enable a future buyer to get that content.
they know the recipe for articulating themselves on flipper. They're building credibility, like in any marketplace environment, like an EBI or even an Airbnb as a super host. And they're being recognized as go-to, sellers of these smaller WordPress assets. And, yeah, that's a thing. And then you've got people who buy those because they say.
I'm going to go back to the super seller, which is what they call it on flipper. And I'm going to go and buy myself a new WordPress site from, this trusted individual. And they're trusted because they've sold a hundred of them before. And you're getting what you pay for, which is, you might be spending $500 to get something that's beautifully set up and that's worthwhile because if you're not as skilled as your community, It's your community thinks it's easy, but for the layman.
Yeah. It's not that easy.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:17:48] Yeah. It's just remarkable actually to me, that there is a business to be had in that obviously, as with all businesses, you have to have the hotspot, or shall we say, you've got to be prepared to put in the hours. I'm guessing nobody falls over a log and makes a hundred thousand dollars a year.
No, this is hard work. Presumably there are times when it works out beautifully and catching and other times where you've banged your head against the wall in this particular domain, for reasons that you can't explain, just doesn't work out. Does your community. in some way support these people that is to say, do you educate them?
Do you have a, I don't know, like a set of tutorials or guidance on how to build these kinds of things.
Blake Hutchison: [00:18:25] No actually, I wish we did. and we're getting better. We've got a lot of advice on how to buy and sell, but not a lot of advice on how you build a business yourself from selling.
and I think we've got some work to do around that. the key thing is that, Ultimately given your community, there'll be a bunch of people out there who are really skilled in setting up certain types of WordPress sites. So maybe they're really skilled in setting up ad sense powered sites, Amazon associates powered sites, maybe they're skilled in helping people set up sites that are able to generate content very quickly.
And so that's what you've got to find like in any specialization in life, I guess you've got to find your niche. And once you find your niche, as long as that's repeatable and you're making more from your efforts, then, the efforts cost you, then you can get up and going pretty quickly. I actually imagined that you'd have a bunch of people in your community who could do that.
Plus I imagine that a bunch of them are own, really successful sites in their own, should they want to, they could probably realize, quite significant value for,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:19:35] yeah. Okay. Just fascinating. The, okay. You said that buyers or sellers and sellers or buyers. So it's probably a bit of a stretch to do this anyway, but let's do it.
So we've talked largely about the sort of, buyer side of know the seller side of things. Let's move on. more to the sort of bias side of things. How does that process work? Is it literally you just go to flipper.com browse around, see if something takes your fancy or is there more to it than that?
have you got tools which will help you find certain things? Or if maybe you're in a certain niche, you can drill down in a certain way. and so on.
Blake Hutchison: [00:20:08] Yeah, look, I think this is there's a little bit more to it and that's just because we encourage people to go through a fairly exhaustive browsing and searching process.
And the reason for that is that you can get caught up in the idea that, all right, great. I'll spend $15,000 on flipper. The site I'm acquiring is making $500 a month, therefore, $6,000 a year. And that is therefore, what is that? A 40%. return on investment in year one, and then I'm home free, toward the end of year two.
Yeah. Now that can sound really appealing, but you've got to one, not spend more than you have to spend to understand that there's no, almost no such thing as passive income. A lot of buyers will say, I'll looking for a site which will generate passive income. that'd be nice, wouldn't it?
You and I would be buying lots of sites if we that money. So you've still got to, know what the bones of a site are and what to look for. And so what we say to people is. Set up a couple of alerts. So use flipper search, narrowed down to the platform. Let's say WordPress. think about how much you've got to spend, therefore narrow down to your budget.
Don't go outside of that. Don't. Start to wander off into a territory, which is going to stretch you beyond what you could ever, afford. And then, spend at least 30 days, contemplating what type of business it is that you would like to run or what type of blog it is that you would like to run.
So if you take. just for the sake of the example, if you take crochet Kim, in your case, you said you're not interested in crochet. So if you buy that, just because it looks good on Piper, monetarily, or from amount of monetization standpoint, you're going to get pretty bored of your crochet content after a couple of.
I was going to say years, but maybe a minute,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:22:02] frankly minutes.
Blake Hutchison: [00:22:04] And you, you want to not only invest the type of money you can afford to invest, but you also want to invest where you've got a passion. and in that particular case, the owner, sold it to someone who was, just as interested in crochet or at least, hobbies and interests that relate to that.
And so that's a really critical piece. So what they essentially do is after they've found something that they're interested in, they'll contact the seller and there's a contact seller button, and that will take you to a discussion forum. And from there, you can ask lots of questions of the seller and take the data that's on the listing and use that to inform your conversation.
And then finally, after lots and lots of back and forth, you can place an offer and that offer. Happens on the platform as well. we encourage that much like other marketplaces to protect you. So that then opens up a escrow service and a contract service. And so that's all encompassing and buyers don't pay flipper.
So we make our money from sellers selling and that's a success fee. And so buyers are encouraged to place an offer, on the platform use the contract of sale, which is embedded use the escrow service, which is integrated. And that's essentially it's a kin to E-bay. Yeah. The only difference is you're not buying something tangible.
You're buying a digital product.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:23:25] Yeah. Yeah. It's it's just fascinating. just like I said, we never really straight into this. I noticed on the website though, w flipper.com. I should reiterate that websites is the, it's the kind of first thing on your menu, but then we strain to other interesting areas as well.
So the next one that comes along. And again might be of interest to our community because a lot of them are developers and not necessarily just WordPress developers. there's the choice to list. And presumably by, apps as well as domains e-commerce comes up as a possible option content, interesting marketplace services, SAS and ad sense.
I'm just curious, some of these are pretty obvious. Like I can. Probably figure out that an app is a mobile device. I'm going to say iOS, Android.
Blake Hutchison: [00:24:11] That's correct. Yeah. So we, the reason those particular categories of areas is those categories dominate our search results. So what happens is buyers will use the flipper search function, much McLaren, Google search fund, or any other search function.
But we see around 10.8 million searches a month. Cool. it's quite extraordinary. And so we therefore know what people are looking for and ad sense. he's number one, amazingly. now an ad sense powered website is typically a WordPress site. but people search ad sense. They don't necessarily search WordPress.
and then for apps, people don't necessarily search iOS or Android, they just search apps. And so that's why it's apps. But yeah, what you've got there is a. Is a platform that represents real estate, digital assets, digital, real estate, online businesses, stuff that trades in a digital environment.
And then of course, people who have those assets can sell those assets and make money from them. And we look, we genuinely think it's a burgeoning asset class and actually it's an undervalued asset class. If you go and drop your money in the S and P 500, maybe you can earn. Six seven up to 10% a year, which would be fantastic.
but if you invest in, a WordPress blog powered by AdSense, you can be making 30, 40%. On your investment, which is pretty outstanding.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:25:31] Yeah. Yeah. That is, that's amazing. The, one thing that I'm curious about is if I go to your website, there's a, as you would with real estate, there's a valuation tool, which I confess I haven't used.
So I'm about to be extraordinarily ignorant, apologies for that. How does that work? And presumably that is a, an automated process, excuse me. An automated process, but does, do I have. carte blanche to say, do you know what? I'm still going to list it, but I want to drive the price down or alternatively, I still want to list it, but I'd rather ask for two X that D do you have any constraints on what you're willing to list on your platform?
Blake Hutchison: [00:26:06] Yeah, it's a great question. So the valuation tool, takes into consideration some of those things that, you and I talked about before, where we were giving the, the analogy to a good straight or a good town or a good, location. so it takes into consideration the age of the site, the, traffic, how you acquiring traffic, is it organic or is it paid?
It takes into consideration the business model, because for example, SAS. commands a higher, multiple than say, an e-commerce business. so it takes into consideration. Lots of things. What have been does is it looks at our sales data. So it cross-references your inputs with all of the sales data on flipper, and then basically spits out a valuation based on what other assets that are similar to yours have sold.
And so that valuation is, More often than not accurate, but of course there's lots of things that can go into how a site is valued. Is it currently declining? Is it, has COVID-19 impacted the traffic over the last 30 days? there's lots of things that can go into it. So it is accurate, but it doesn't take into consideration edge cases or anomalies or pandemics.
as an example, the question on price is a really interesting one. Yes, you control price, but there's two things. One, we have price hurdles, so we won't allow people to. Price their asset for something which we deemed to be unreasonable or ridiculous. and that's just for the integrity of the marketplace.
So you might, we might let you stretch to something like, a fray and a half times net profit, multiple. for argument's sake, if you're doing a $30,000 net profit, Through ad sense revenue, just as an example, we might let you price that for $105,000, but you certainly couldn't price it for a four and a half times multiple or a five times multiple.
now you can Mount your case. So when you go through it, we'll say that is too high. Please do not do that. This is what we recommend. And are you willing to put it into the recommended range? but there was one, always the opportunity. It says through the onboarding experience, Please contact flipper.
If you feel like this is an unfair, valuation and justify to us why you want to price it so high, and someone can do that successfully because they might be getting for argument's site 500,000 visitors a month, getting that all organically. And for whatever reason, they've never monetized the thing.
Yeah. in which case the valuation is going to be way off and we would therefore provide an exception, to our own rules. once they're up and going, you'll tend to find that the buyers, they're pretty switched on the buyers will tell you if you're being silly. So buyers will say, I have bought three other assets, that, have been performing to a similar level are of a similar age, Mike, the money in the same Y and I bought those for X, Y, and Z.
And you are trying to sell me yours for X don't do that. so you'll find that. and then on the flip side, if something super attractive, So I'm looking at, and again, use the, Oh, let me change examples. So there's an example called personality max. it's a nine-year-old site offering free personality tests.
And so your question around pricing, there were 13,399 buyers who looked at this asset. So it gets pushed up above and beyond what would be considered a reasonable valuation because for whatever reason, there's lots of people interested in it. And, you don't necessarily have it over there in Britain, but in Melbourne, for example, houses can go to market by way of a straight auction.
And sometimes, at a straight auction, the individuals can get a bit carried away and the price gets pushed up way above the reserve. and it's a slightly similar thing here where, the reserve, it was set at 108,000. It ended up selling for 254,000. Nine-year-old side offering a free personality test.
Great traffic. no marketing spend, therefore, unrealized potential buyers really liked it. There are 114 bids, lots of, as I said, that investment framing on and views and therefore pricing becomes a little bit silly. But, the buyers are controlling what they're willing to pay.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:30:23] Do you, in terms of the way that it's managed, you were talking about this kind of, E-bay style that everybody's familiar with that let's just go with that.
is that it, is there a period in time at which, right? This is closing. is that forced onto you by the platform or is it possible to just say, look, can I just leave it on for a year and see what the best offer was during that period of time? Or is it all now got to close on a particular date and hopefully the, the interest will ramp
Blake Hutchison: [00:30:46] up no, completely flexible.
in fact, a lot of people just use auctions to drive a bit of, excitement and attention, and then they sell post-docs. so you can choose so you can list as an auction and you can then set the number of days. So you can set a seven-day auction, 14 day auction, $30 and whatever number dies you think is best suited to your asset.
I must admit, we need to provide a bit better guidance around that, but most people who choose a 30 day auction, or you can choose to sell it as a fixed price listing, which means you drop in the price and people will then. contact you and place an offer. You can accept reject we'll counter that alpha
Nathan Wrigley: [00:31:23] on your platform.
If somebody, if I was to sell something and somebody was to buy it from me, How do we, how does that actual sale take place? In other words, let's say that you're in, I don't know Australia, for example, and I'm in the UK, there's two colliding sets of lawyers there. I just genuinely don't know what the constraints are, in other words, are you taking ownership of the domain for a short period of time and then handing it over to me?
Do I then have to communicate directly with the perk, with the seller and trust that they're going to be honorable? how does it.
Blake Hutchison: [00:31:59] Yeah. great question. And there are some constraints around jurisdictions. So for example, to own a WordPress blog with a.com dot I use domain name, you're going to need to set up, an Australian business number.
Now you can only get an Australian business number if you're an Australian resident. so that means that. that's less likely, however, let's say you're a Brit and you want to acquire a sock, which is being operated at, out of, the U S that's right. that's easier. So how does that process then work?
Let's say that FRA fragment, psych we're not dealing with some of the jurisdiction challenges. the first piece is to. To a grade two I a price. And the terms around that price. So agreeing to the terms around price could be anything from, I will pay you the full amount upfront all the way through to, seller financing, which is, a form of financing where the seller basically takes, the payable amount I've arrived, fixed period of time with some interest, charged on that amount.
So let's say you get over that, and that is, constructed on the platform or over a phone call or whatever you then accept that offer on flipper on you, then going to what we call the sales completion area. And that's where the legalities, start to take place. So the first thing is that we're integrated with escrow.com.
And what that means is that. The buyer will pay in the money. You will see that the money is sitting in a secure wallet. , encrypted, they will go through an identity verification. It's like a KYC check and know your customer check. Both parties must go through that. And we obviously can see that's playing out, for both the integration, but also depending on the value of the website, we will oversee it ourselves.
So at that point, I know that the money's sitting there and I can now, use the contract of sale now. the steps are interchangeable. I could have exchanged a contract of sale beforehand, or I could not have, but let's say I did not. I would now grab the contract of sale. I might have lawyers involved, but I could just as easily use the flipper, integrated contract of sale.
So you download that, you fill in all of the details and that becomes to some extent, an asset register at the same time, because you're listing all of the assets, which are encompassing social media profiles. Databases, maybe there's some employees involved, et cetera. So both parties need to sign that agreement.
And that agreement is then stored on the platform and used as a point of reference governing the transaction. Now, at that point, you've got a signed agreement. You've got some money in escrow. now making this sound pretty simple, it can get complex, but in short, what would now happen is that the assets would begin to change hands.
Now, remember the money's sitting in escrow and we're protecting the cash. So the seller would start to transfer. The domain name ownership, they would start to transfer the assets. Let's say there's a, a MailChimp login or whatever it is that would start to transfer all of those accounts across to, the.
Seller to the buyer. Let's say for argument's sake, there was also a developer involved who was agreeing to be contracted for 15 hours a week. Then the introductions to that developer would happen and all of that stuff. Now, finally, the buyer needs to say. And let's assume that they've done their due diligence, by the way, at this point in time, the buyer would then need to say, I have received the assets.
The assets are in the order, that I. Thought I would be. So they're in there in working order. I've checked. everything's great. On our certify escrow.com. I'm using this button to release the money. Now what that will say is, are you sure you want to do that? Did you receive everything that you intended to receive for your $20,000?
Yes I did. And then the money would land with the seller and job done.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:35:56] Okay. it's, I can imagine when you're dealing with high, high ticket items, there's going to be lots of interesting little turns and shimmies to be done and so on. But obviously, in a much smaller one, probably much more straightforward.
Yeah. Quick inspection. It's fine. I've got the domain, click the button. Don we're at we're over, but yeah, that's fascinating over on the, over, on the platform itself. How do I, are there ways, let's say, for example, I'm selling a domain and I wish it's to be surfaced by the platform. can I do that?
Does it automatically surface things which are coming up in terms of time, or do you have a premium tier that you can pay for to say, look, this one, everybody noticed me.
Blake Hutchison: [00:36:37] Yeah, that's a really great question. so we are a little bit like other marketplaces. Let's take a buy again, where we have what we call marketplace dynamics playing out.
Now we are going to reward certain assets regardless of what they pay us to list. and we'll talk through that in a minute. We're going to reward certain assets for certain reasons. And so they're going to rise to the top. And that's no different to Google search algorithm. It's no different to any other search algorithm.
you have certain way of scoring the quality of an asset. In our case, we score both the asset, but we also score the seller. And for example, if you choose not to verify your ID, if you choose not to verify your phone number and you choose not to drop a profile photo on the listing, your listing is getting penalized.
So that's just one example. now if your asset is. Got very high organic traffic. It's been around for some period of time. Let's say three years. Then we know that lots of buyers look for those assets. So we therefore score at high and we then push it to the top. Just as an example, now you can pay flipper more than the standard listing fee, which is pretty approachable.
It's $49. so what is that impound? Call it 25,
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:03] something like that.
Blake Hutchison: [00:38:04] so you pay a standard listing fee and then, your you're beholden to our scoring algorithm. but you could in theory, pay for an upgrade and you can get all sorts of things. so you can get us writing blog posts about, you can get us advertising you on Facebook.
You can get us doing a whole heap of stuff, which ensures that you can a lot of. Eyeballs. and so there's a few things to play out, whether it's quality or whether it's UPI. we take that into consideration as to what gets shown and what doesn't get shown.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:38:34] So there are ways if you fail that this, real going to be real interest in something that you're.
You're owning, you can promote it and push it to the front. as an example, at the moment I'm just browsing on the homepage. I can see that there's, single moms income.com going for 34,000 us. And then there's ring to perfection.com, which I presume you got something to do with rings on your fingers.
175 thousand.com. Is it likely that the editor's choice ones have come through that? bumped up, fee paying structure, or as you said, is it just possibly organic because they've got these great attributes.
Blake Hutchison: [00:39:10] Yeah. Good question. So in the case of, editor's choice, you can't pay to be there, right?
that is our, marketing manager and content marketing manager looking at assets, that they believe are unique. And that they believe are going to be super interesting to buyers and they typically have something unique or they're in a particular niche that we think is interesting right now. And so as a result, they'll get there.
but directly below that, or a little bit below that you've got sponsored listings. and then when you jump into search. you've got sponsored listings that are getting all sorts of additional treatment because they've paid us, but the editor has choice you can't actually pay to get into. and typically it's certainly a good quality listing.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:39:54] Yeah. Yeah. That's really interesting. So I think probably I've gone through my battery of questions. I hope I've managed to get everything, but as always at the end of these interviews, I just say. Is there anything that I missed? Is there any glaring thing that you think your platform delivers that I've just totally missed?
Blake Hutchison: [00:40:12] no, that's been fantastic. what, one of the things I want to reiterate is we completely, respect and admire, communities operating in all sorts of spaces. Very be at Amazon, be at ad sense, be at WordPress. we genuinely believe that. There are communities that are creating extraordinarily extraordinary value right now, and value not only for themselves, but potentially for others.
And so we, we see ourselves as being a marketplace that can represent those people. And that's probably the only thing I did with.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:40:41] Yeah, and it is an area where our community do have some expertise. It may not be something that you've thought of before, maybe something you're heavily into.
but flipper.com is how you're going to find, Blake. I wondered if you wanted to drop any, emails, Twitter handles anything, any way of contacting you personally, you can of course
Blake Hutchison: [00:40:59] avoid that question. no, not at all. I'm very love. I love feedback and I love helping people in this space so people can get me directly at Blake, B L a K [email protected].
If they just want to ask me any questions about, what it all means and how to go about it. obviously. I'm on LinkedIn. so find me there. Blake Hutchison, H U T C H I S O N. And I'm at Twitter at Blake now.
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:26] Thank you very much. I've enjoyed chatting about flippers. It's certainly something that I'm going to be exploring in the near future.
That looks really good. Thank you, Blake. Stay safe. I hope you have a nice week.
Blake Hutchison: [00:41:36] Thank you very much, Nathan. I hope
Nathan Wrigley: [00:41:38] you enjoyed that conversation. It was certainly very enlightening to me. I didn't realize that there was so much that went on behind the scenes when you flip things, be that domains or apps or whatever it might be.
And it was really fascinating chatting to Blake about what goes on and all of the measures that they use to make it easy and to protect you. The WP Bill's podcast is brought to you today by AB split test. Do you want to set up your AB split tests in record time, then you AB split test plugin for WordPress.
We'll have you up and running in a couple of minutes. Use your existing pages and test anything against anything else. Buttons, images, headers, rows, anything. And the best part is it works with element or Beaver builder and the WordPress block editor. You can check it [email protected]. Okay, join us next week on Monday, I'll be putting out my newsletter at 7:00 AM, UK time.
And then at 2:00 PM, UK time on that same day, we'll be doing the live version and we used to call it. The WP Builds a weekly WordPress news. We're now going to call it rather grandly this week in WordPress. So that's going to be. With Paul, Lacey and myself, and a couple of notable WordPress guests, we'll have to wait and see who they are, but that's 2:00 PM UK time.
WP Builds.com forward slash live. And then I'll also put that out into YouTube the day after as well. So lots in store this week. See you next week for the podcast. Monday for the other stuff. Stay safe. Bye. Bye .

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Nathan Wrigley
Nathan Wrigley

Nathan writes posts and creates audio about WordPress on WP Builds and WP Tavern. He can also be found in the WP Builds Facebook group, and on Mastodon at wpbuilds.social. Feel free to donate to WP Builds to keep the lights on as well!

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