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  1. #1
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Selling Affiliate Web Sites- Best Approach?
    I'm looking for advice about the best way(s) to approach selling income-generating affiliate web sites. Unfortunately, I find myself in a bit of a bad situation and I need the upfront cash more than I need the web sites, so I am working on preparing some of my web sites for sale. I've never done this before and could use some help figuring out how to find appropriate buyers for my sites.

    I have been looking around at sites like sitepoint and ebay, but I'm a little bit hesitant to actually list any of my sites for sale in that kind of a public forum. I am very concerned about protecting both my own interests and the interests of the eventual new site owners- it seems to me that if I list these sites for sale on sitepoint or ebay, they would easily become the target of copycats. Most of my sites are in fairly unique micro-niches and so obviously it would be advantageous to keep copycats away. It also seems to me like the best person to sell to would probably be another affiliate who already has an understanding of the industry, relationships with the networks involved, etc. Or possibly another person interested in the niche which the sites promote. (Most of my sites are in crafts niches, plus I have some that focus on art, antiques, and collectibles, and other miscellaneous niches.)

    So I am wondering where affiliates typically go to sell their sites? If you had to sell some of your sites, how would you do it?

    I was just taking a look around the barter/ buy / sell forum here. It seems like kind of a quiet little nook on ABW. Wondering if anyone has actually had success selling a site via a posting there?

    http://forum.abestweb.com/forumdisplay.php?f=197

    Also, after finding a buyer, would you go through an escrow service? If so which one?

    Any pitfalls you've encountered with selling sites? Any other advice you could offer about this process would be gratefully accepted as well.

    Also if there are any seasoned affiliates who would be willing to take a look at one of my sites and offer their opinions about what a fair asking price would be, I would be very grateful.

    Thanks in advance for any insights.

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador John Kruger's Avatar
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    I have always struggled with switching affiliate ids and ensuring the buyers can/are approved affiliates for the vendors in question.

    I would also suggest using an escrow service.
    Respectfully,

    John

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  3. #3
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    It really depends on what your websites are generating financially.

    How much is your typical website earning? 2 figures, 3 figures, 4, 4+?
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  4. #4
    Full Member Code Monkey's Avatar
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    It's a tough situation. Someone smart enough to maintain your site is already likely earning what you're earning, so why would they buy your site instead of doing it themselves?

    Selling it to someone that can't make any money at affiliate marketing isn't a smart idea either. They will eventually run the site into the ground and feel like you ripped them off..
    Stop blaming the parasites, low return days, cookie stuffers, networks, lousy AMs, and TOOLBARS!

  5. #5
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    "Someone smart enough to maintain your site is already likely earning what you're earning, so why would they buy your site instead of doing it themselves?"

    If someone has that kind of knowledge already, making money in this business, they might look at it for the potential. Could depend on the size of the site, how much it's earning, age of site, how it's ranking, inbound links etc. A lot of that takes time but if the foundation is already down, they can just come in and improve it.

  6. #6
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    How to go about selling your sites depends on how many you are selling, the revenue, Google listings, what are the monthly expenses and how much money you need.

    If it were me, I would lump the ones I want to sell into one business, incorporate and issue yourself stock for each site ...

    Then sell the corporation which is just you exchange the stock for money.

    All you have to do is sign over the stock in exchange for a cashiers check to the buyer, provided he agrees to buy it and the amount.

    The buyer gets all the domain names, sites and it's now his or hers lock stock and barrell.

    They would need to do all the change of ownership stuff regarding the domains, hosting etc.

    That's the way to get the best price I would think. If you have good Google rankings and a proven monthly revenue stream, you are looking at about 5 times gross revenue as the selling price in this economy.

  7. #7
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the responses guys.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kruger
    I have always struggled with switching affiliate ids and ensuring the buyers can/are approved affiliates for the vendors in question.

    I would also suggest using an escrow service.
    John, do you have any experience working with escrow services? Any recommendations? I've heard there are some shady ones out there so I just want to make sure to steer clear of those.

    That is a good point about making sure the new owners are approved for the programs. I was thinking I'd email the affiliate managers I work with and let them know that the site is changing hands. Most of the affiliate managers I work with have always been really responsive and helpful, so hopefully that shouldn't be a problem, I wouldn't think...

    Quote Originally Posted by Code Monkey

    Selling it to someone that can't make any money at affiliate marketing isn't a smart idea either. They will eventually run the site into the ground and feel like you ripped them off..

    I really don't want anyone to buy any sites of mine and feel ripped off. I'd definitely want it to be win-win.

    Quote Originally Posted by Trust
    "Someone smart enough to maintain your site is already likely earning what you're earning, so why would they buy your site instead of doing it themselves?"

    If someone has that kind of knowledge already, making money in this business, they might look at it for the potential. Could depend on the size of the site, how much it's earning, age of site, how it's ranking, inbound links etc. A lot of that takes time but if the foundation is already down, they can just come in and improve it.

    This is my line of thinking also. The sites I will be selling all have a good foundation, good sales copy, good unique content, and are ranking well in google, msn and yahoo. However, there is definitely room for improvement and growth with all of them.

  8. #8
    Affiliate Manager
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    Do you have a list of the sites you are wanting to sell?

  9. #9
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    read the first sticky post here at the DigitalPoint selling and buying sites area, also a decent place to sell a site:
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/forumdisplay.php?f=52

  10. #10
    ABW Ambassador simcat's Avatar
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    Be very careful if you decide to accept paypal as a payment method. I have bought/sold things on another forum...and was ripped off several times, nothing delivered. I was the buyer, but have seen many seller complaints also.

    Paypal considered them digital goods, or digital delivery items and did nothing to help me, despite filing disputes, etc.

    I'm not sure how paypal categorizes websites, though...

    Escrow might help you there, if the price of the website justifies it.

  11. #11
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donuts
    read the first sticky post here at the DigitalPoint selling and buying sites area, also a decent place to sell a site:
    http://forums.digitalpoint.com/forumdisplay.php?f=52
    That's helpful info Donuts. I will take a look. Thanks, I appreciate it!

    Quote Originally Posted by simcat
    Be very careful if you decide to accept paypal as a payment method. I have bought/sold things on another forum...and was ripped off several times, nothing delivered. I was the buyer, but have seen many seller complaints also.

    Paypal considered them digital goods, or digital delivery items and did nothing to help me, despite filing disputes, etc.

    I'm not sure how paypal categorizes websites, though...

    Escrow might help you there, if the price of the website justifies it.
    Thanks for sharing this most helpful information. Wow, sorry you got ripped off. I am not a huge fan of Paypal- although I grudgingly use them- but it just seems like an additional complication, having a third party involved in the transaction. I was once involved in a dispute with a seller on ebay who never delivered, and paypal's "buyer protection" didn't actually protect anyone but paypal.

    This raises another set of questions I had not considered, though. Would buyers be willing to send a check or money order?

    I haven't ever used google payments or amazon payments but I wonder if they would be a better service to use than paypal?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcswee01
    Do you have a list of the sites you are wanting to sell?
    Yes, I do have a list of sites I want to sell. Are you able to receive PM's through this forum? I see you've specified that you don't want to receive emails, so I wasn't able to email you.

  12. #12
    Affiliate Manager
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    I have it set to receive email, but I probably haven't posted enough on here to do PMs

    you can email me at joe@jcstechnology.com

  13. #13
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Donuts, I am reading through the sticky at Digitalpoint and there is so much good info there. Thanks again.

    Leads me to one more question. One of the things mentioned in that thread was screen shots. Most of my commissions come through shareasale, and my reports in shareasale show all the sites jumbled together on one report. Does anyone know if there is a way to generate reports for separate sites in shareasale? I can understand that screen shots would be more credible than, say, my excel spreadsheets, but a screen shot with zillions of blurred out areas is hardly credible either I wouldn't think.

  14. #14
    Affiliate Manager
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    You could print it a PDF

  15. #15
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    I'd be curious to see the list as well, and also to hear more about your experience during the sales process.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  16. #16
    Lite On The Do, Heavy On The Nuts Donuts's Avatar
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    PDF is a very good idea. also try the "activity summary" report in sas, i think that's compressed reasonably and you could show the top of it, might fit top 7 of your merchants in a single screenshot, so they could see your biggest producing merchants. screenshot the bottom where the totals are as well. thinking that should suffice for pre-sale purposes.

  17. #17
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Guys, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread. That wasn't intentional. I've had some unexpected 'net down time and it put me a bit behind schedule this weekend. Phooey.

    RE PDFs, I am feeling kind of dense at the moment- can you be more specific about what you are talking about in regards to printing PDF's? Sorry and Thanks!

    Eathan and jcswee (Joe?) I will be contacting you ASAP. Hopefully tomorrow if all goes according to plan. Thanks for your willingness to help, I really appreciate it.

    Donuts, I just took a look at the activity summary report. Thanks for the suggestion, which has merit. I can certainly attach a screen shot of that. I do have some concerns about it though. In my particular case I think that report kind of falls short of ideal. Let me explain. I promote the same basic merchants across multiple sites. So let's say I go to sell site A. If I attach that report it looks to me like it shows stats for those merchants for sites A, B, and C. So it's going to give the potential buyer an overly optimistic viewpoint of the money made by Site A alone.

    But, perhaps combined with my actual spreadsheets at least the potential buyer will have a fair idea of the situation.

    (But I still wish there were some way in Shareasale to generate individual reports for each of my sites.)

    Hope I explained that clearly...I've had a long day.

  18. #18
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    Hi Amy,

    You can get individual reports for each of your merchants on SAS, here's how:

    Under Reports/Stats click on Download (csv)
    Choose the dates you would like to show of the stats.
    In the pull-down menu, choose the individual merchant.
    Click on "generate report"
    Save the report -- then open it in Xcel or compatible to view the stats.


    Hope this helps.

    Anne

  19. #19
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Hi Anne, thanks for posting. That's helpful, but it isn't really what I need. What I would like to be able to do is to be able to separate out the earnings from each of my individual web sites. Sorry if I wasn't clear.

  20. #20
    ABW Ambassador ladidah's Avatar
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    this may be a stretch.... but
    maybe if you ask the network for a favor or willing to pay for a fee? Kinda like asking citibank for an end of year statement . ?

    I guess in hind sight, when thinking about selling websites, it would be good to have each site under a different affid or name so that sales could be done smoothly. Just transfer an id over to the new purchaser instead of having to change all id links. This way you don't have to sell the all sites in one lump rather than individually.

    This is me thinking out loud ...but makes me think about a post I read elsewhere about transferring ownership of websites to loved ones in case of emergency, death, and in this case here... just a sale....

  21. #21
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ladidah
    this may be a stretch.... but
    maybe if you ask the network for a favor or willing to pay for a fee? Kinda like asking citibank for an end of year statement . ?

    I guess in hind sight, when thinking about selling websites, it would be good to have each site under a different affid or name so that sales could be done smoothly. Just transfer an id over to the new purchaser instead of having to change all id links. This way you don't have to sell the all sites in one lump rather than individually.

    This is me thinking out loud ...but makes me think about a post I read elsewhere about transferring ownership of websites to loved ones in case of emergency, death, and in this case here... just a sale....
    Excellent points and suggestions, and definitely food for thought.

  22. #22
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by net4biz
    How to go about selling your sites depends on how many you are selling, the revenue, Google listings, what are the monthly expenses and how much money you need.

    If it were me, I would lump the ones I want to sell into one business, incorporate and issue yourself stock for each site ...

    Then sell the corporation which is just you exchange the stock for money.

    All you have to do is sign over the stock in exchange for a cashiers check to the buyer, provided he agrees to buy it and the amount.

    The buyer gets all the domain names, sites and it's now his or hers lock stock and barrell.

    They would need to do all the change of ownership stuff regarding the domains, hosting etc.

    That's the way to get the best price I would think. If you have good Google rankings and a proven monthly revenue stream, you are looking at about 5 times gross revenue as the selling price in this economy.
    Not sure how I missed replying to this most interesting post, sorry. These are ideas that would never have occurred to me. Thanks for posting.

    I am not sure how this would work as some of my sites would appeal to the same buyer and some wouldn't. But this is probably worth looking into.

  23. #23
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    How many sites are you going to try to sell?

    " find myself in a bit of a bad situation and I need the upfront cash more than I need the web sites"

    If you are in extreme need for some quick cash, selling a lot of sites may not be the best thing to do, as you probably know that a good site done well can become a very good money maker in the future. Is there no other way for you to find the money that you need?

  24. #24
    Full Member Amy_S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julian
    How many sites are you going to try to sell?

    " find myself in a bit of a bad situation and I need the upfront cash more than I need the web sites"

    If you are in extreme need for some quick cash, selling a lot of sites may not be the best thing to do, as you probably know that a good site done well can become a very good money maker in the future. Is there no other way for you to find the money that you need?
    Julian, your point is well taken...no doubt about it, selling these sites is short-sighted on my part. I'd rather not post all the intricate details of my situation in a public forum though; hope you understand. The short version of the story is "just another credit crunch victim trying to get by". Yes, there is a "long version" of the story, and I'd willingly share it with prospective buyers who will invariably ask "why are you selling" (or even with regular posters on the forum who are curious enough to PM me about it.) It is a perfectly legit question. Thanks for your concern, I really appreciate it.

  25. #25
    ABW Veteran Student Heyder's Avatar
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    If you want you can send me some figures, business and financial information. Maybe we can work something out. I'm would rather spend money than time right now.Thanks

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