Shhh! I’ve got a killer tip for those interested in finding good sites to buy.
Send the owner an email.
No, no, it’s not about searching Google for sites saying “copyright 2002” to identify abandoned sites and email the owner. Nor does my tip involve crawling through DMOZ listed sites to see which ones look dated. The first is a very hit and miss affair. The second is far too time consuming as well as hit and miss.
It’s where you look and how you time it!
But first, the example: Today I bought a $35K site. It didn’t come through any of the methods described above. It came through a very simple route – something any of you could duplicate (but probably don’t).
And I Got It At Half Price
History: I keep track of sites that I have been interested in but didn’t end up buying. And I revisit those sites after a reasonable lapse of time.
One of those sites listed in Sitepoint a long time ago went for over $60K. I thought the bidding was too high and there may have even been some shill bidding involved. So I took a back seat. Today, over a year from when that site “sold”, I find the WHOIS hasn’t changed, the contact email address for that site hasn’t changed and the appearance of the site hasn’t changed.
Conclusion: The purchase didn’t go ahead (surprise, surprise) and the owner didn’t get to do much with the site either.
So I emailed him out of the blue. Now, these emails don’t normally work. At least they don’t work when people email me. They often get my email address from WHOIS and write to say they want to buy xyz site of mine. Usually they are lowballers looking to pick up something on the dirt cheap. They first express interest and it’s only after a few emails back and forth that they disclose their budget is a paltry $100. I’ve learnt to ignore those emails. And other webmasters do too.
But this email was different because of timing. I worded my email carefully and, importantly, offered him a decent price. I quoted $35K for a quick deal via escrow. Voila! It worked!
Why Did It Work?
What was different was that I had identified someone who was motivated to sell and had been motivated for a long time. Further, he may have been disillusioned with the sale process as he spent a lot of time trying to sell his site and it didn’t work. So when a half decent offer came up, he grabbed it.
Can You Do It Too?
Yes, you can. Let me give you an example. webmasters.org came up for sale here. It raised quite a lot of interest because of the domain name. And it sold for $50K about 15 months ago. Apparently. In the thread you’ll find the owner signed his replies with the name “Chad”. If you do a WHOIS on that domain today, it’s owned by a Chad and the email address is chad@xxxx. Coincidence? Hardly likely.
The site has dropped in PR, from a PR7 to a PR5 – a good reason why there is extra motivation for the owner to sell and why he may be even more open to a lower price. This isn’t a recommendation to go buy that site but to demonstrate that sites where the owner expressed interest in selling, went to the trouble of listing and actually sold… may not be sold. And he may still be interested in selling, even if it’s at a lower price! It won’t always work, but the success rate is a hundred times better than for a completely blind approach.
Have you got website listings you’ve ever bookmarked or added to your shortlist? Have you tried re-visting those sites or checking on their progress? Are you doing it with just Flippa listed sites or all the main site selling forums?
Does it take a bit of work? Sure. Is it worth a shot? You tell me.