A week or so ago I wrote an article which explained all the Flippa upgrades that are available to sellers. In the article I expressed my concerns that they had artificially inflated their follower count by following thousands of people themselves.
I’ve purchased the Twitter upgrade in the past but as I always purchased it in conjunction with a front page upgrade, I was not able to accurately track the effectiveness of it (my mistake). With the auction for my martial arts video website ending tomorrow, I was keen to promote it with just a few days left. I wasn’t sure whether to go with the front page listing, a tweet about my auction or both. I decided to purchase a paid tweet for $80 first and then review the situation.
The tweet went out directly after I paid for the upgrade yesterday afternoon (you cannot schedule the tweet). The results were nothing short of terrible. I kept my auction page opened in order to see additional views being tracked. This is the only thing I could do as Flippa do not give you advanced statistics which shows where traffic is coming from. After about an hour I had 4 additional views, 0 new watchers and 0 new bids.
The tweet had one retweet….from me! Yes, I probably generated some of those page views myself. Not only that, one of the Flippa followers left a message to my tweet about gang rape. How nice 🙂
I was very annoyed about this. I effectively paid $20 per click; more if you consider I probably generated some of those clicks myself by retweeting the message. It wasn’t so much the money, it was the principle of purchasing something and getting nothing in return. I’ve paid Flippa thousands of dollars in fees this year but I never grudged one penny as they secured me a buyer. In this instance, I got nothing, and that’s why I feel like I’ve been conned.
I spoke with Edward Glassman about this via Flippa and he advised that he had purchased the upgrade recently too and he got the same return. There is no doubt in my mind that Flippa knows that their tweets give a terrible return too. It’s a total scam. They have followed other witter users in order to gain extra followers and this has enabled them to promote the Twitter upgrade as something worthwhile. It’s not, particularly when you consider that the Twitter upgrade costs close to three times the cost of the listing fee for the auction.
Flippa need to stop scamming their members. They need to be more transparent about the effectiveness of their upgrades and try and look at a way of allowing members to track the performance of upgrades such as Tweets and featured listings on the home page. Perhaps that is wishful thinking. If they did that, all members would realise that many upgrades are not worth the money.
On the plus side, Flippa did email me back saying they are going to refund my upgrade fee however I was a little disappointed with their assertion that traffic from Twitter is among the most active on the site. It’s not. I demonstrated this myself yesterday.
Our Support department forwarded me your email, and our PR director, Lara, mentioned that she had been in touch with you. We’ve also been in touch before — I commented on your original blog post earlier this week.
Your claim that our Twitter account is artificially inflated is false. We originally followed each Flippa seller who listed their Twitter account on their profile in order to keep up with our most active sellers on social media. We don’t do that anymore (because a database change broke this feature, not through a deliberate decision to stop), but I do add some active sellers and members of our industry to our follower list.
We also don’t deliberately seek out followers. We do get a lot of followers that are inactive, and potentially fake accounts, but that’s just the name of the game when you’re a relatively well-known brand in your field.
I see that the Tweet upgrade hasn’t given you the intended results, so I’ve refunded you for the upgrade (it may take a few days for the refund to be processed by your payment provider). The Twitter upgrade is among our least popular options, but those who use it are generally happy with the results. Our stats show that traffic coming from Twitter is among the most active on our site.
As you outline in the blog post, and as I specifically mentioned in the comments, not all upgrades are a good idea for all listings. I’ve seen some listings perform brilliantly after applying the Premium Listing upgrade, for example, while others barely receive more views. We can’t guarantee the effectiveness of promo upgrades, but we do work with our customers to make sure they’re happy with the money they’ve spent on Flippa.
Let me know if you have other questions about this.
I appreciate in situations like this Flippa need to apply damage control. They obviously don’t want bad press. My intention for this post was not to speak negatively about Flippa for the sake of it. It was to warn others so that they didn’t lose money. Their support has always been excellent and over the last year they have undoubtedly improved the service. I’ve always been the first to praise them in the past when they have made improvements. They do however need to acknowledge the fact that their Twitter upgrades are not worth it. They shouldn’t just continue to present the lie that $80 is a good investment for members when people like myself have proved that it is not.
Flippa remains the best option to see websites but please please do not pay for the paid tweet. You’d be better off sending traffic to your auction via a pay per click service.