By Matthew Magain

Rich Developer, Poor Developer

By Matthew Magain

In case you’ve had your blinkers on, over the past twelve months the marketplace on sitepoint.com has gone completely gangbusters.

What began as a simple platform for SitePoint’s online community to buy, sell and trade web sites and domain names has exploded into an onslaught of back-to-back auctions, to which there are now entire blogs devoted.

Powered by software that was custom-built especially for these auctions (and with our team adding more features as you read this), the transactions have become so fast-paced it’s getting difficult to keep up, with over USD $1 million worth of new sites now being listed every month! The quality has increased too, with sites regularly selling for tens of thousands of dollars, and some auctions even attracting six figures. It’s an exciting community that has grown out of the forums, and it’s only getting stronger.

So is this post a shameless ad for the SitePoint Marketplace?

No! It’s a wake-up call to those web developers out there who, until now, have not explored adding additional revenue streams in their spare time. Investment gurus like Robert Kiyosaki preach that additional revenue streams are the key to financial independence — but from where should these revenue streams come? Real estate requires large capital to get started, and the stockmarket can be enormously intimidating. But here is a world in which you are already immersed — you already have an advantage over most, and it’s easy to start small and build upwards. This could be the additional revenue stream that you are looking for — and who knows where it could lead? At the SXSW festival earlier this year, we met several people whose full-time income was derived from sales on the SitePoint Marketplace!

So if you’ve been happy to spend your time simply building sites and applications for your employer or your clients, but have yet to dabble in the brave new world of buying and selling cyber-real estate, then I strongly suggest you begin perusing the current auctions and take the plunge. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to do a bit of research first — go read an article on site flipping. If the acronyms and jargon used don’t make sense to you, learn what they mean, and what metrics and tools you can use to evaluate a site. Subscribe to a blog about buying web sites. And monitor the current sites for sale on the SitePoint Marketplace (either in your browser or via the magic of RSS).

Investing some time outside your day job could turn out to be very worth your while. In his best-selling book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Kiyosaki tries to influence his readers not to aspire “What company do I want to work for?”, but rather “What company do I want to own?”

As a web developer, you’re extraordinarily well-positioned to substitute the word company with site.

If you’re new to the marketplace, be sure to read the SitePoint Marketplace FAQ and Auction Guidelines before you make your first investment. The following guides should also prove helpful: Guide To Holding An Auction [PDF, 140KB]; Selling A Website FAQ [PDF, 96KB]; Guide To Buying A Web Site [PDF, 83KB].

  • Excellent article Matthew!

    I find it difficult for people to grasp the significance and opportunity of virtual or cyber-real estate. I just had lunch with a friend who clearly has no concept of the possibilities of establishing a presence online especially in the area of buying and selling domains and sites.

    As one that has worked with Robert for the past 5 years, I can say that the idea of virtual real estate, via domains, sites, franchises, licenses, and partnerships is extremely relevant…right now. Those that can get in and make the impact first will have the upper hand.

    Great job –


  • maxtower


    I am glad to see that you enjoy my website, howtobuywebsites.net, to mention it here.


  • TT7

    Cyber Real Estate requires start up costs, but it costs less than Real Estate (i still like this). Stocks, if that works keep doing it. Find what your good at!

  • I’ve received a couple of emails asking about the best way to get your toes wet using the marketplace, so I’ve updated the post to include links to our Marketplace FAQ page, site buyer’s guide and other useful documents.

  • I can’t think of any other investment that pays off its capital cost within 10-12 months (and potentially quicker if the owner has some experience in marketing, monetization and online sales/e-commerce).

    Of course there are risks, but since the entry cost is low, it’s much easier to build a very diversified portfolio of income generating web properties which mitigate the risks…

  • premium

    thank You.

  • best

    Thats right.

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