Flippa: Buy and Sell Digital Real Estate Like eCommerce Stores, Amazon Products

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Flipping, rehabbing, or rental residential real estate is a popular entrepreneurial activity, but I’ve always been more partial to digital real estate (websites). There are similarities in that anyone can enter the business as long as they are willing to learn quickly and put in the hours. Nobody gets a degree in “landlording”, just as nobody gets a degree in “digital marketing”. Everything is about results, not letters after names. Some own $500 websites, while others own $5,000,000 websites.

You can now also buy and sell digital properties via online marketplaces. I often spend idle moments browsing the email newsletter of the biggest one, Flippa.com, and realized that a beginner could learn a lot about the industry by just reading through the listings. The best way to learn is still to jump in and get your hands dirty, but seeing the inner details of all these properties will accelerate your education. How does their website valuation tool work? What are the ranges in terms of multiples of revenue? How do you verify traffic stats? By signing up for a free account, you can see the non-public listings as well. I’ve learned a lot more about the Amazon ecosystem myself.

Some people love to start websites from nothing and quickly sell them for $1,000 to $10,000. Others like to find a starter drop-shipping site or Amazon product with potential and improve it into a six-figure property. Others are just looking to build a portfolio of properties that creates a steady cashflow with minimal maintenance. The market is a lot more mature than when I was buying domains on small internet forums. Private equity funds and publicly-listed corporations are also increasingly in the game.

You should also know that digital properties are much more volatile in price. A condo in Manhattan, NY or a 4-plex in Portland, OR might double in price in the next 10 years, but it won’t go up 2,000% or drop by 95% either. They also vary widely in the ongoing work involved. Some require hardly any maintenance, while others require ongoing marketing campaigns and a team of independent contractors.

One of the pathways to wealth is to find an asset type that you have a passion for, instead of a consumer product. Some people get $1,000 and spend it on video games, a car modification, or some nice clothes. Others get a kick out of buying another share of BRK, JNJ, or VTI stock. Same for a downpayment toward a rental property, reinvesting into their own private business, or to improve or acquire a digital asset. You also end up increasing your knowledge in that industry, which is highly valuable on its own.

Disclosure: I did sign up to be an affiliate of Flippa, and will receive a commission if someone clicks and lists a site for sale, but not if you just sign up for an account to browse listings.

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  1. Jonathan, have you purchased any of these sites through Flippa? I’m curious how accurate the monetization projections are.

    • No, I haven’t made a purchase through Flippa. I do follow-up and track the sold prices and bookmark a few interesting sites to see how they change after sale. I’m well into the winding-down phase of things, ha!

  2. Thanks Jonathan. I’ve been browsing flippa.com for a while, as an interested party, but didn’t really know how to get started. I didn’t notice they had a newsletter. Thanks for the tip.

  3. Back in 2010 or so I sold a few websites. Wonderful experience. I found a niche, built it up for a few months, and sold it for 50k. However, I was single at the time and was able to nurture a community….don’t think I’d be able to do that again with my limited time. …well…scratch that…I’m about halfway done with my next project!

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