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  1. #26
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    Thank you, that is helpful. I've heard various tips...run it for longer to let excitement build up...run it for less time so that people feel more urgency...I guess there is no perfect formula.

  2. #27
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    I agree, some people tend to change their minds of the length of the auction period when it comes to no one ever bids on it.

  3. #28
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    11. Making things easy for your buyers may attract more buyers. Keep a zip copy of all the reports etc. that you can link him to. Create a limited access account to your stats / Google Analytics / affiliate account so he can log in and download what he needs at his convenience. Be prepared to compile a detailed guide to running and managing the site. And, importantly for many buyers, make a public offer to upload it to the winning bidder's server/hosting and set it all up for him.

  4. #29
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    gr8 helpful post...........

  5. #30
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    Thanks for the tips .Worth reading

    Vilice

  6. #31
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Ever heard of the tomato frog? It's only about 60 mm long so it puffs itself up to fool other animals that it's much larger than it really is: Tomato Frog. Sitepoint has lots of tomato frogs.

    Sometimes as a seller you get threads like this one.

    Selected comments:
    "If the deal falls through, my company is prepared to offer $135,000 for this site."
    "My Budget is around $60k to $70k range so let me know as well if the other $100k bid drops out."

    That's typical of the tomato frog. He (it's usually a he) wants to talk big but without ending up with having to follow through on his boasts. A buyer really serious about buying at $135K would contact you privately.

    Something else the tomato frogs do is boast about how clever they are. They do this by posing as experts: "Nice site, definitely worth $200,000 or more" (of course! They deal in $200K sites everyday so can recognize one immediately")

    My suggestion: Be cruel to frogs. You can splat them, deflate them and let out all their gas by just deleting their posts.

    Tomato frog legs don't taste of chicken, they taste of manure. Specifically, bull manure.

  7. #32
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    That goes both ways though. One of the easiest methods of getting the price you want is to ask a friend to make a fake bid on your own auction. If somebody falls for it, you get someone to bid a higher price, if not, you can say "the deal fell through" and ask the last person who bid. Often a fake bid is exactly what is needed to kick start an auction.

  8. #33
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    Selling a site looks like an art... I see demand for professional website selling advisors who can broker to sell a legitimate site for a handsome amount.

    If someone's willing to take a plunge at that, PM me

  9. #34
    SitePoint Guru marcel's Avatar
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    3six, dishonest buyers waste your time. But dishonest sellers do much more.
    You won't find fakers going to Jail.

    Sellers and freelancers who sell worthless crap to steal your money should go to jail.

  10. #35
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    Well said... disagree aboyt tinyURLs though.

  11. #36
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    Edman, true. But then would you or I get conned by that? No, we'd argue that all the shills bids be removed and the price re-appraised. Exceptions: You and I - and a few others here confident enough about what they were doing - would also pay that second chance offer if we thought the site was a steal at that price. The losers are the buyers without proper experience of how the game is played.

    There are also "sellers" who really have no interest in selling. They're listing to get publicity, drive webmasters to their site, or to demonstrate their site's value to a third party (bank manager/financier/off-site buyer/court/or even to settle a bet). It's in their interest to get a ridiculously high shill bid from a friend to get around Sitepoint's rules of having to sell to the highest bidder. (They also both get feedback for the price of a listing! They may get even more rep value from the history of "high value transactions". If you were buying a $50K site you'd have more trust in someone who has a history of "selling" several $50-$100K sites).

    For genuine sellers there's always a risk with a shill: The site may not sell

    3Six, I love the "Tomato Frog" title. I'm going to quote that from now on and refer people to your post if they don't know what the heck I'm talking about.

    milliondollars, you've probably already got PMs from business brokers There are several here and several more outside if you go looking. Some are better than others, of course. I'm not a broker but - and I don't know if I dare say this - I may be willing to help one or two people with a brief PM reply or two with advice. Rules: Don't PM me unless your site is worth at least $20K. And not based on a DNscoop type of valuation either. Use this one for a realistic figure. I'll reply if I have time. If I don't reply, please don't get offended. If you do ask me about a junk site that I think is worth less than $20K, I'll ban all PMs from your user account. Always use "Top tips to selling your site" as the subject of your PM.

    marcel, honesty and dishonesty are highly flexible concepts these days, unfortunately. So is the understanding of what's "worthless cr*p". There is no substitute for caveat emptor - let the buyer beware. Buying sites isn't like going to your local supermarket. You don't have the same rights, privileges, money-back guarantees or legal protection. Anyone stupid enough to think they do doesn't have my sympathy.

  12. #37
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    Very, very helpful. Thanks.

  13. #38
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    Nice thread. Really helpful for me since I'm planning to sell a site for the first time. (Y)

  14. #39
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    If I may add one more tip that's a shameless plug:

    Before you list, read the article I've written for Sitepoint on valuing your website. Going in with realistic expectations makes the whole sales process that much more enjoyable

  15. #40
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    One thing that immediately turns me off is claiming to have "changed servers" just a short while ago.

    Why? If you're gonna sell a site, show some history, leave it the heck alone for at least a few months.

    I see absolutely no logical reason you'd change servers unless you had a real problem with the old system, which is hardly confidence-inspiring in itself.


    D.

  16. #41
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    Clinton,
    as usual - solid advice for newbies to sitepoint.
    david

  17. #42
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy hooperman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by websitebroker1 View Post
    Clinton,
    as usual - solid advice for newbies to sitepoint.
    david
    Solid advice to anyone, actually.

  18. #43
    SitePoint Member jmneter's Avatar
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    Red face

    Quote Originally Posted by FruitMedley Post View Post
    1. Read the Sitepoint guidelines. There's no point in using up your auction credits and then discovering that you do have to disclose the URL. And that you can't have your sale also listed elsewhere like eBay.

    2. It's also important to list in the right category if you want to reach the right buyers. List a turnkey (new site/no history) in Premium Sites and you'll get a lot of posters annoyed at your mistake. More crucially, you won't get the buyers who are looking for turnkey sites.

    3. Prepare properly for the listing, get all your ducks in a row. Collect the information that buyers typically ask for e.g., traffic and earning stats and have that all to hand. Create some graphs and images that demonstrate the key selling points, people like pictures. Store these, and any spreadsheets you create, on your own site if you wish for control over them or allow for future deletion. Do the type of due diligence checks your buyers are going to be doing so you can uncover any adverse signals and explain them or compensate for them.

    4. Think carefully about your title. This is very, very important. The title is your bait to draw bidders in. Don't be tempted to use it to boast about your achievements. Draw up a shortlist of the top reasons someone would want to buy your site. Then trim it to just one or two. And draft and redraft those to convey the message in the most succinct and inviting way. Words like "established" may be a waste of characters if you're listing in the Premium or Established categories. Don't lie, don't exaggerate, don't use all caps.

    Some recent examples of bad text in titles:
    Made $75 in 2 days (draws people's attention to your lack of history and gives them an excuse not to click)
    mywebsitename.com is for sale (unless you're a well known name this is likely to be meaningless to the average buyer)
    BARGAIN - DO NOT MISS (comes across as immature. Don't use all caps and don't beg for buyers to read your auction.)
    abcdmysite.com: A site dedicated to the World Reknowned Game (this isn't a speech at the Oscars, no dedications are necessary. The title is not the place for extended explanations of what the site is about)

    5. In the auction listing itself, provide as much information as necessary without overwhelming buyers. Explain clearly what your site does and how it makes money, don't assume everybody will figure it out. Talk about your traffic and where it comes from. Be honest. Don't boast about fake PR as someone will catch you out. Don't claim that all traffic was free if you've been running paid ad campaigns (as even that can be uncovered in due diligence).

    6. This isn't a stage for your own talents. Boasting about how many Digg frontpages you get or how clever you are at SEO may be counter productive as that suggests to the buyer that you are key to the site's success.

    7. Manage your thread. Yes, your auction thread needs to be managed. Show good faith by amending your auction listing if something comes to light that you didn't disclose earlier - or add a comment. Delete comments that add no value .e.g, "fantastic site, good luck with the sale". Answer questions publicly where possible as it will be of use to buyers watching from the shadows.

    8. Do NOT {SitePoint Guideline #4} use a tinyURL kind of service for your main domain instead of listing the domain in the auction. Some buyers could be dissuaded from bidding because of the perceived negative SEO, DMOZ or brand value associated with a public announcement of sale. Similarly, don't change WHOIS once your auction has started - leave that to the winning bidder to do on completion of sale. Don't make any major site changes in the interim either or you'll spook some buyers.

    9. Appreciate that sometimes buyers pull out post-sale so keep non-winning bidders on-side, don't burn your bridges. You may need to get back to them with a second chance offer.

    10. For goodness sake, use an escrow service if the value is high enough to lose you some sleep should you get conned.

    There are some more tips I've written about elsewhere but please feel free to add your own below.
    Thank you,this is a excellent advice, I think this will help me a lot!

  19. #44
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    Thanks for all the kind comments. I put together a post on choosing an escrow company and was going to post it in another thread, but this may be the best place for it. So, here goes:

    Let me explain some things most people don't know about escrow services.

    1. With financial services it's all about brand management. Escrow.com have done a brilliant job - their brand is synonymous with "escrow" as we've seen here. However, not many people know that escrow.com doesn't handle the escrow transactions at escrow.com. It's a company called IES who sorta "rent" the escrow.com website. Why don't they own it? I don't know but if IES ever ran into financial trouble, they could be liquidated and the escrow.com brand doesn't get badly damaged; the owners could rent/lease the domain to someone else. That's a masterstroke of property rental that webmasters here can only drool about

    2. Contrary to popular opinion, escrow.com doesn't cater for website sales - just motor vehicles, general merchandise and domains. That creates considerable problems if you ever run into a dispute with the other party. Sellers can retain the core part of the agreement (like the code and content) and demand payment if they have transferred just the domain name. Buyers can take possession of valuable code/programs/database and reject the "domain transaction" and they've got all the rest for free. This is a big flaw. For many years I've been speaking with management at escrow.com about just this point. They assure me it will change in the near future.

    3. If you live in Europe your best bet is escroweurope.com. Also, they are far better at transactions involving software/code/data - they are geared towards handling this. But, more importantly for people living in Europe, they offer better protection, (Escrow.com is geared towards protecting people in California - in a BIG way), better privacy, and free help with legalities like free draft contracts. escroweurope is eBay's preferred escrow company for all their European offices. And is also the preferred escrow handler for many major UK and European companies. Buy a poker site through escroweurope and you don't risk arrest the next time you go to America (OK, that's a bit alarmist but US authorities do have form in this matter, they've arrested owners of bigger poker sites than yours or mine). Further, this lack of escrow privacy has implications for those who believe they have private WHOIS protection.

    4. Similarly with EscrowAustralia. I haven't used them but I hear good things about them. Again, companies like eBay who know a sh*t lot more about escrow transactions than I do, recommend this company for Australian residents.

    5. If you're selling domains you're already probably using the SEDO escrow service. They combine a Sitepoint type marketplace with a very fine backend escrow service.

    6. Californian law is a good reason for all non-Californians to avoid companies registered in California. It is draconian. It is hugely geared towards protecting Californians at the expense of everyone else. It is exhorbitantly expensive for escrow companies. No, let me correct that; it's an exhorbitantly expensive protection racket. This is how it works: Any company wanting to escrow a transaction involving one party who's based in California has to cough up hundreds of thousands of dollars and submit themselves to ridiculous dictats of the Californian Commissioner. Here's an external article on just how ridiculous, overbearing, pompous and dictatorial Californian law is in this regard... but that's offsite so the Commissioner doesn't sue Sitepoint. Why does this affect you?
    a. This pushes up prices. A company like escrow.com registered in California has to recover all those fees from someone. That's you and me. Compare their prices with the good, solid, iescrow. For the $10K+ transactions that I normally do, escrow.com is about 50% more expensive.
    b. Any contract you've entered into with the other party is worthless. Escrow.com requires you to sign up to their terms and if there's a problem you go to their arbitrators who work to escrow's terms and Californian law. Your agreement with the other party is worth less than $0. If it needs to go to court, you have to fly to California.

    I have no bone to pick with escrow.com/IES. The company who do the transactions, IES, have always behaved well with me, processed many large transactions smoothly for me, and I still promote their affiliate program on some of my sites and tell people how good they are and many other webmasters do too
    Last edited by FruitMedley Post; Aug 21, 2008 at 06:56.

  20. #45
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    I agree!!! This is what I do for a full-time job and lisint the information in an easy to read format is your best selling tool. No matter how much infoamtion you provide. Like the saying goes. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid)

  21. #46
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    Great tips... I have a question, we have auctions on a regular basis on eBay and I was wondering how I can go about (if at all) promoting those eBay auctions here in the SitePoint marketplace ?

    Is it acceptable to publish a SitePoint notice publicising the external eBay auction?

    I've had a quick look through a few of the marketplace (and forum) guidelines, but I didn't notice a specific answer.

    Thanks,

    Rob
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  22. #47
    Non-Member robmacleod's Avatar
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    Made a mistake and submitted more than 1 domain. Sitepoint cancelled it. However, did they refund my money? credit my account? - they are quick to take the money, quick to cancel but its been over a week now and the refund process has been very slow - no communication at all after 4 emails / pm

    All one way traffic

  23. #48
    SitePoint Member Necati's Avatar
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    I have another to add to this list.
    -If you aren't too keen to sell, don't list.

    That is to say, if you listed your franchise resources directory with all kinds of information like where you get the traffic and how, wher you find buyers for leads etc., someone like me who likes to read listings for new business ideas may be your new competition -if you don't end up selling.

    It is safest to list basic revenue, traffic info publicly and share further info with those who seem like they are seriously interested.

  24. #49
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    -If you aren't too keen to sell, don't list.
    Sometimes listings are a great way to gauge the price the market will bear - you could always set a high reserve of a billion dollars.

    The type of information you mention is not what most people would disclose even when they do want to sell their site. Opening the doors to copycats is not a good way to inspire buyers to bid.

  25. #50
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    I agree about that whole 12x revenue pricing, that really only works when you deal with merchant sites, other than that I think it's pretty useless. You may have a site that cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars to make plus all the time put into it, but you only make about $30 a month--somehow people think you need to give it up for only $300 dollars.

    In the end it all depends on the specific type of site you're selling.. but people still think that formula applies to everything.


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