A few days ago I vented my frustrations at the number of time wasters on Flippa. Today I’d like to talk about the upgrades that are available to sellers and whether these upgrades are worth spending your money on.
On Flippa there are two pricing options available to sellers:
- Pay a $29 listing fee and then a 5% success fee of the final sales price.
- Pay a $9 listing fee and then a 15% success fee of the final sales price.
The minimum success fee is $10 and the maximum is $2,000. This means that all sales above $40,000 will incur a success fee of $2,000 (i.e. a website selling at 40k and a website selling at 250k would incur the same closing fees).
The cheaper option was only recently introduced. It was added specifically for people who are selling turnkey websites i.e. websites that are brand new and have very little traffic. The break even point for the two options is $200. That is, if you think your website or domain is going to sell for over $200, you should choose the $29 listing fee and 5% success fee option, as your fees at the end will be lower.
Whilst listing a website on Flippa is fairly cheap, getting some exposure to the listing is not. Listings that haven’t been promoted get less buyers than those that have been promoted. Due to this, a lot of people purchase upgrades.
Are they worth it? For lower priced websites upgrades are generally a waste of time and do nothing but fill the coffers of the people who own Flippa. Upgrades have only proven valuable to me when I have been selling higher end websites (e.g. at least $5,000).
There are 6 upgrade options available to you on Flippa:
- Tweet listing to @flippa followers Cost: $80
- Listing featured on the front page Cost: $50
- Screenshot on listing row Cost: $20
- Listing row highlighted Cost: $10
- Listing title in bold Cost: $5
- Hide listing completely from public view – $30
- Hide from search engines and non-logged in users $20
- Confidentiality Agreement – $100
Two premium upgrades are also available. The premium upgrades offer priority positioning and support for qualifying websites and domains:
- Premium Website Listing – $250
- Premium Domain Listing – $500
There is nothing more frustrating that paying money for an upgrade and getting no additional watchers therefore you need to look at the benefits of each upgrade and decide whether it is worth it or not (watchers are people who have chosen to track your auction and get active updates).
Twitter Promotion – $80
As I write this, Flippa has just under 8,000 followers on Twitter. For $80, Flippa will tweet an announcement about your auction on Twitter. Is this worth it? I’m not so sure. On the surface, getting your auction announced to 8,000 potential buyers sounds like a bargain.
What concerns me is how they got those followers. I’m sure that many of them are real however Flippa is also following close to 3,500 people on Twitter too. This suggests that they have perhaps grew their list using a ‘follow me and I’ll follow you’ script such as TweetAdder. This raises the question: How many people are following Flippa because they want to know about the latest auctions and how many followed Flippa simply because they wanted a follow back?
Despite the risk of their true following count being artificially inflated, I expect a lot of serious buyers follow Twitter and actively check their latest Tweets. Therefore $80 could prove to be a bargain if you are selling a high end website. I’ve purchased the Twitter upgrade before but I used it at the same time as a front page listing so I wasn’t sure where new watchers for my auction were coming from.
It’s a good upgrade option if you are selling a mid to high end website.
Do not purchase a Twitter upgrade. When I wrote this article I thought that the Twitter upgrade may be worth it for higher end websites. It’s not. One week after writing this article I purchased a paid tweet and got 4 additional views. That works out at $20 per click. Please read this article to read more about the issue.
Front Page Listing – $50
The front page listing option is one of the most popular upgrades on Flippa. For $50 Flippa will display your auction in the New Featured Listings section on the home page. It will be displayed in 1st place at the top of the left hand side column. As more featured listings are added, your auction will move down and down the left column and then down the right hand column.
The front page listing is only worth it if you are selling a mid or high end website. I’ve had mixed results from it. For my sale of WPMods.com, I featured my auction on the home page about 4 or 5 times. This was a small expense when compared to the final sales price though looking back, the last few bumps to the my auction on the home page did not really help me.
For cheaper websites it usually proves to be a big waste of time. The problem is that the front page listing is used by so many Flippa sellers therefore your $50 investment may only get you around 6 hours on the home page. Sometimes that will only give you 1 or 2 new watchers for your auction. Sometimes you won’t even get any new watchers.
Last month I sold WordPress Theme Gallery for $3,100. The final bid of $3,100 was actually made over a week before the auction ended. During the last week I purchased a front page listing of $50. Not only did I get no new watchers, the front page listing only gave my auction about 7 more views. It was a complete waste of money.
The main problem with front page listings is that your auction leaves the home page too quickly. You’ll be very lucky to get half a day on the home page so you need a little luck and hope that an appropriate buyer is browsing Flippa at the time (you obviously need a good website for sale too).
If you are looking for to gain some extra interest in your auction, the front page listing is a good option if you are selling a valuable website. If you’re selling a website at a low price, it may not be worthwhile. Whilst it is undoubtedly a gamble at the lower end, you do need to remember, all you need is one solid bid in order to cover your costs (assuming your site’s reserve has been met). More often than not, all you will do is lose $50 from your bank account.
Listing Design Upgrades – $35 (Total)
The three listing design upgrades won’t give you an instant promotional boost like the Twitter and front page listing upgrades however they may encourage more buyers to view your auction when they’re browsing Flippa listings.
To remind you, the three design upgrades available are:
- Screenshot on listing row Cost: $20
- Listing row highlighted Cost: $10
- Listing title in bold Cost: $5
There’s no doubt that these upgrades do make your listing stand out more however there is no way of accurately tracking how much your exposure on Flippa is improved.
If you are running a 30 day auction for a mid to high end website, I think there’s value in adding a screenshot and highlighting your listing row.
There may be times when you do not want others to know of you selling a website. One way to do this is to pay $20 to remove your listing from search engines and non-logged in users. It’s a good option if you don’t want your readers/members to know that you are selling your website however by doing so you may hurt your chances of finding a buyer. It’s pointless doing this if you have a website within the internet marketing niche as your regular readers probably visit Flippa regularly too.
You can also remove your listing completely from public view for $30. This is particularly useful if you didn’t sell a website or decided not to sell it as it allows you to remove all evidence of the auction from Flippa.
The final privacy option is the Confidentiality Upgrade for $100. It’s used by website owners who are concerned that competitors or suppliers may see the website for sale. Once applied, anyone interested in the website needs to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before viewing any sensitive details.
Flippa explains that more about the issue in the help area:
For sellers who value privacy over broad exposure, a Confidential Listing is a great way to list a website for sale while keeping prying eyes (from competitors, website users or suppliers) away.
Confidential Listings hide the site’s URL, screenshot, WHOIS details, ranking keywords, and hosting information from Flippa users. Interested bidders must contact the seller and sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in order to gain access to that information.
Once the potential buyer has signed and submitted the NDA, they will be able to see the previously-hidden information in the listing. There’s no need to send that information directly to the interested parties once they have signed the NDA, as they will be able to view it in the listing.
The Confidential Listing option must be selected during the listing creation process; it cannot be applied retroactively once the auction is live.
Sellers should be aware that the Confidential Listing option severely limits the public visibility of their listing. It’s a good idea to share as much as you’re comfortable in your site description, in order to interest potential buyers.
These listings do not have public comments; potential buyers will instead send their questions directly to the seller.
The confidentiality upgrade is used a lot for high end websites that are for sale for hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you have a high end website and are worried about people viewing sensitive data (traffic, income, keywords etc), you may want to consider a Non-Disclosure Agreement to be signed before anyone can view your auction.
Premium Listing – $250 for Website Sale, $500 for Domain Dale
The Premium Listing Upgrade is another option that is worth considering if you are selling a high end website. At $250, it’s the most expensive upgrade available to website sellers. For your investment you will get priority support, optimised rankings within the Flippa marketplace (styling, keywords etc) and a Tweet about your auction on Twitter (worth $80). This option is not available for private sales over 30 days.
I purchased this upgrade for the sale of WPMods.com in May. I’m unsure as to whether it was worth it or not. My website did sell for the price I wanted however I don’t think it had anything to do with the premium listing (I may be wrong). Flippa emailed me at the time asking if I needed help but I had already spent a lot of time making an listing that was useful to potential buyers, so they didn’t change anything.
I’d probably use it again if I was selling a website for more than $100k, as $250 is such an insignificant expense in comparison.
Flippa’s help page states that:
A Premium Listing is a way to really set your listing apart. It offers sellers priority placement for their listing on our Buy and Browse pages and at the top of Keyword search results, along with distinctive styling. The Premium Listing option is offered to older sites and premium domains.
We also offer dedicated auction management assistance to Premium Listings. A member of the Flippa team will help you optimize your listing to ensure that crucial information such as the website description, auction title and relevant details give the best representation of your website.
And, to help promote your listing beyond Flippa.com, we’ll tweet about your auction from our @Flippa account when the auction goes live, or when you upgrade to Premium Listing.
You can start a new Premium Listing auction in the creation process, or select “Upgrade to Premium” in the right-hand sidebar to upgrade a current auction.
In my opinion, this upgrade is best suited to high end websites. For most sellers, a front page listing and a tweet from Flippa would probably give you better results, and save you $120 in the process.
Length of Auction
There are disagreements as to what the optimum length of auction is on Flippa. Many sellers choose to a 30 day auction as it means more potential buyers will see your auction. Doing such a long auction can sometimes go against you as buyers tend to lose interest quickly. You need to remember, the more time interested buyers have until your auction ends, the more time they have to check out other websites for sale. Unless you have a unique website that everyone is fighting over, chances are a longer auction may lose you buyers.
I believe 7 days is a good auction length. 14 days is good if you want to promote your auction yourself for a week or so. You can then boost traffic to your auction in the second week using Twitter upgrades.
For my current auction I chose 21 days. Though normally I wouldn’t do this. I chose 21 days as I was informed directly be a rep on Flippa that less people buy during the holidays and it would be best to ensure it ends in early to mid January.
What upgrades you choose to buy may depend on the length of your auction. If you choose a longer auction and you have a lot of people watching and bidding, you may feel an upgrade is not necessary (though you could argue this is the best time to promote it). For shorter auctions, you have less time for your auction to be viewed, therefore upgrades become more important as you have less time to promote your website for sale.
My advice is to not promote your auction too heavily if there is a lot of time left on the listing. For example, if you create a 30 day auction for your website, you shouldn’t spent $200 on upgrades in the first few days and then nothing the rest of the month. It’s much better to list your auction and then purchase upgrades close to the end of the auction (e.g. 3-7 days before it ends). This will give you more exposure close to the end of your auction, which is the time when people are more likely to bid.
Love them or hate them, Flippa is the best place to sell your website at the moment. I hope I’ve managed to help you understand the pros and cons of upgrading on Flippa.
I reiterate that upgrades are a waste of time for lower end websites. All you are doing is increasing your Flippa fees with little to no extra exposure. For mid to high end websites, upgrading can make the difference between selling your site for $50k and selling it for $60k. Just stay away from the Twitter upgrade as it’s a waste of money.
Whilst I have sold over $200,000 worth of websites on Flippa, I don’t profess to be an expert on the marketplace (and don’t believe anyone who says they are!). If you have a different point of view on this subject, I encourage you to leave a message in the comment area.
Thanks for reading,