In this years list of the top marketplaces and brokers to buy and sell websites from I’ve narrowed it to just 22 companies. The websites for sale that were analyzed did not include domain names. I focused on websites for sale with established traffic and / or revenue.
A unique feature to my 2014 list of marketplaces to buy and sell websites is the Rankings.
There are four different ranking categories in the 2014 List of Marketplaces for Buying and Selling Websites.
The ranking categories are:
Overall Buy Site Rank
Overall Sell Site Rank
Over a Million Rank
Methodology to My Rankings of
Before I get into the results and which marketplaces come out on top I have to share with you my methodology for the listings and how they were put together. I know I’m going to hear many of you complain about where certain brokers and marketplaces are listed and why I choose to list Ebay.com in the rankings at all. So I’m going to do my best to give you some insight on how I put together the rankings. Here we go…
‘Websites for Sale’ Marketplaces
This year I didn’t want to just put together a list of the top market places to buy and sell websites by looking in Google organic search and giving you a number of how many website “for sale listings” they have. Instead I wanted to do some serious research on each of the main websites that list online businesses for sale. My business partner, Chris Yates and I have spent time on every one of these sites over the last six years, some more then others and believe the list of 22 is a fair representation of the marketplace.
One drawback of ranking ALL marketplaces for buying and selling websites together is they don’t all cater to the same customers. For example, a high end website broker isn’t going to attract the same buyers as you’ll find on Flippa.com.
So to compare a website broker and an auction site, side by side, doesn’t seem fair. At the same time it is important to have all options available for buying or selling a website online in the overall rankings. So to do my best in making the playing field fair in the rankings, I set up three sub- category rankings and then an overall ranking list. Again these categories for the rankings are:
- Overall Buy Site Rank < $1 Million (OBSR)
- Overall Sell Site Rank < $1 Million (OSSR)
- Over a Million Rank (OMR)
- Overall Rank (OR)
Buying and Selling Website Marketplaces
In determining the rankings I need to develop criteria that was relevant for website buyers and sellers. The criteria I pulled to determine the rankings was based on five key areas.
These areas are: Website Listings, Website Traffic, Social Media Influence, Industry Authority and Subjective Look at Listings on Site.
The criteria is for the marketplaces and broker’s websites where you will either list your website for sale to find a website to buy.
Website Listings: This is criteria is based on the number of listings available on the marketplace (or broker site) and the price range of those listings. The more listings the higher the rank and the more focused in a specific price range the higher the rank. For example, if a marketplace or broker listed sites for sale with the prices ranging from $100 to $100,000,000, they would rank lower then a marketplace with websites for sale ranging from $300,000 – $1,500,000.
This category made up 10% of the overall score.
Website Traffic: The amount of traffic (unique visitors) a website marketplace receives is important to factor in the overall rankings. I used a few third party applications to determine the traffic to the marketplaces and broker websites. Two of these third party tools included SEMRush.com and Compete.com.
The amount of traffic a marketplace or broker received made up 20% of the overall ranking for the site.
Social Media Influence: The influence a marketplace has in social media was determined by two factors, the number of followers in various social media sites and the amount of activity that marketplace or broker has by the public. Social mentions is one of the tools we used to determine the amount of social activity of a marketplace.
This accounted for 15% of the overall rankings.
Industry Authority: The industry authority of a website marketplace or broker was determined by looking at several factors. Those factors included the number of domains linking to their website, the domain authority according to OpenSiteExplorer.org and the amount of news mentions and press releases in this industry.
This accounted for 30% of the overall ranking total.
Subjective Look at Listings on Site: I felt there had to be a portion of the overall ranking scores that was somewhat subjective. I needed to browse the marketplaces and broker sites to determine how many quality websites were listed versus just “junk sites”.
In addition, I looked at the ease of listing a website for sale and buying within the marketplace or broker’s website. I also took into account the responsiveness of that site to inquiries. (Of course I didn’t use my own name for this – so no bias on their part in responding or not responding for that matter.)
This category made up 25% of the overall rank.
Within the 3 sub ranking lists, each of these ranking categories was weighted slightly different. Obviously I’m putting more weight on Authority for someone wanting to sell a $5,000,000 website then I am on traffic to the marketplace. Here is a graphic showing how I came up with the overall rankings (OR).
Who Made the List?
The Website Marketplaces and Website Brokers on the 2014 ListSo who made the list? We pulled from our 2012 and 2013 list of website marketplaces and searched for new sites and brokers as well to compile this years list of influencers in the space. We found not much changed. A few sites have dropped off the list but overall the vast majority of marketplaces and brokers remains the same, yet the number of listings and amount of traffic the sites receive has changed in many cases. Here are the 22 website marketplaces and brokers we have included in our rankings.
Top 22 marketplaces and website brokers
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Top Places to Buy and Sell Websites 2014
The number one overall ranking went to Flippa.com.
Not much of a surprise as they’ve been the ones with the largest presence in the market since I started buying and selling websites back in 2008. I asked for Luke McCormick from Flippa.com to give us some feedback on what they’ve seen over the last twelve months so we could give you an idea of what the #1 marketplace is seeing.
“Here at Flippa we’ve seen some exciting changes and trends within the industry across the last 12 months as the market continues to grow and evolve.
We’re seeing more ‘traditional investors’ enter the market, as digital assets become more commonplace and a focal point for smart investors. Our marketplace in particular has evolved to not only being the dominate force in website sales, but we now facilitate the sale of domains and mobile applications. On average each month Flippa has 10,000 live listings and over 2,000 sites sold, totaling $2 million in sales per month.
We’ve seen strong growth particularly from the top end of the marketplace with the introduction of our Premium Brokerage service, Deal Flow. Deal Flow is a full-service broker business designed to privately connect Flippa’s high-end buyers with verified, premium opportunities.”Luke McCormick, Business Manager Flippa.com
The Next 12 Months for Flippa.com
So what’s in store for website buyers and sellers over the next year? Again, I asked Luke McCormick from Flippa.com to give us some insight on what they see for the next year.
“Across the next 12 months one big focus for us is to continue improving the user experience for both our buyers and sellers, which means providing exceptional customer support, allowing buyers to find exactly what they’re looking for faster and facilitating an even smoother seller experience, making it easier for a digital business to change hands.
We’re now seeing an increasing number of domains being listed daily and we’re quickly becoming the destination for premium domains including H2O.com, Sushi.com and Unplug.com. An exciting innovation coming from our Domains marketplace is our crowd sourced appraisals tool, which launched earlier this year. Across the overall marketplace – we’ve introduced ways to not only find what you’re looking for faster and easier but also to drill down to find sites with verified revenue, traffic and even verified Super Sellers.
Marketplace integrity continues to be one of our most important elements and we now have a dedicated marketplace integrity team continually working on making our marketplace safer and more secure. In line with this, we’ve also introduced sharper browsing and filtering options, introduced live chat for support, along with a continually evolving and powerful backend security system. In the coming months we’ll be unveiling redesigned listing pages providing you more information and security on each opportunity and a bigger community of Super Sellers.”Luke McCormick, Business Manager Flippa.com
Overall Buy Site Rank (OBSR)The OBSR ranking is of marketplaces you can buy and sell websites on that have the best opportunities for buying websites under a $1 million price tag. Without question the #1 marketplace on this list was Flippa.com. It was easy to see with the data I pulled together that Flippa has a corner in the market with sites to purchase under $1 million.
Other then ebay.com, only one other site came close to the number of listings available on Flippa. That was dealasite.com. However, dealasite.com is ranked last in every one of my ranking lists because they have no traffic and it seems they are running some type of aggregation software to pull the listings from other sites. Its likely DealaSite.com will be dropped from my list next year.
Only ebay.com had more websites for sale then Flippa. However, the majority of Ebay.com’s website listings were start-up sites (sites with no traffic or revenue). In addition, when I narrowed the search to U.S. based sellers only, the number dropped to 1,114 from 9,846. Again, when I searched for sites over $500 in price within the U.S. the number of listings dropped to just 214. Even when I was searching the 214 it took me awhile to find a website that had any real traffic to it. Ebay.com is ranked #5 in this category.
At first I wanted to change their rank when I saw the numbers come through my analysis in the spreadsheet. At the time I thought Ebay was ranked too high. It ended up #5 because I put an important emphasis on traffic to a website and the number of listings. Ebay certainly has both of those. Although I wouldn’t spend a lot your own time searching Ebay everyday for an undervalued website deal, although I would suggest setting up systems for a VA (virtual assistant) to do that for you.
Where I’m comfortable in keeping Ebay.com #5 on this list is the opportunities in not just finding a ‘website’ to buy in their auction listings, but to find a ‘real business’ to buy. In searching through the listings several times over the last couple months I’ve seen businesses for sale with a mediocre website. The business in most cases was a product they owned or developed and tried to sell it online but with not a lot of success. Thus the reason they’re selling. This is where I believe there is some opportunity. To find the quality products people have developed and buy them with the site and use your skills to market the product online.
Ebay has plenty of these types of businesses for sale but you won’t always find them searching just for “websites for sale.”
The top five websites for OBSR ranking:
The #2 marketplace I found for buying websites at this price range was WebsiteBroker.com. They have a fair amount of targeted visitors to their site and are getting some decent listings. The number of potential buyers looking at these sites is less then Flippa, which means less competition to deal with in buying the sites. According to the SEMRush.com traffic reports Flippa.com had 19,241 unique daily visitors, whereas WebsiteBroker.com had 2,160.
WarriorForum.com and Digitalpoint.com are forums that have been around a long time. Both have marketplaces for listing websites and have been known for having some decent listings over the years. In the past it was a common strategy for website flippers to buy sites from these marketplaces and then turn around and sell them on Flippa and other sites.
The challenge today with WarriorForum and DigitalPoint, when it comes to buying sites, is the lack of quality. There may be a large number of websites for sale, but the quality of the websites is lacking. This is where the opportunity comes in. Remember, the ranking category here is for “Opportunity for buying sites under $1 million”. If there are a lot of websites being listed and many of them are junk sites, buyers will start to lose interest and stay away. However, the sellers are still there.
Again, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time searching ‘website for sale’ listings with Warriorforum or Digitalpoint on your own. It should be a function you give a low wage VA to do for you. From time to time you’ll find a gem in the mix of garbage sites.
Price Range of Websites for SaleThe most difficult price range to find quality websites under $1 million seems to be $1,000 – $25,000. There are a lot of first-time buyers who want to get their feet wet in this industry and are willing to spend up to $25,000. However, the valuations they push the sites to, in an auction site like Flippa, is crazy at times. The supply of these sites is relatively low, while the demand is very high. (Thus a great opportunity for people building sites to get them to a level of traffic or revenue where they can be sold for in this range.)
That being said, it’s still difficult to find quality sites undervalued in the $25,000 – $150,000 price range as well. There are not as many buyers at this range, but the number of buyers seems to be increasing every year. Of course the supply of sites in this range aren’t as plentiful as the lower range either. Determining the valuation of sites in these price ranges is becoming more and more difficult as well, when more and more novice buyers enter the market.
Speaking of valuations, I asked my friend Justin Gilchrist from Centurica.com to provide some insight on what he’s seeing with valuations and the multiples sites are going for over the last year. I wanted to give our readers an idea of what’s a reasonable multiple for buying sites at this level and Justin has done a lot of research in the topic.
Justin GilchristFor buyers and sellers alike, multiples seem to be a fairly hot topic recently with an obvious increase in the price of the average online business. In my opinion, the buyers who will see the biggest wins over the next few years are those who take a long-term view, and look at the business for sale first, and the relative price second.
On the surface, multiples offer a quick solution to compare two investments. For example, if Site A is for sale at $200K and earns $80K net per year (2.5x), and Site B is for sale at the same price but earns $100K net per year (2x), it might seem like a no brainer to purchase Site B, but it’s not always that clear cut.
If Site A was 10 years old, and had stable growing earnings for the last 5 or so years, versus Site B which was two years old and had only just reached its current revenue level, then that might make you think twice. You would probably reconsider again if you discovered that Site A earned most if its income from a base of recurring memberships with good retention and recruited new clients through a small but scalable paid traffic campaign. Compare this to Site B that generates advertising revenue from just a few advertisers and recruits all of its new visits from organic search traffic, and that no-brainer isn’t such a no-brainer anymore.
Whilst it’s always good to have a guide to compare potential acquisitions against, being too focused on multiples will almost always result in newer buyers missing out on the best deals. Those deals that sell at 3 – 4x now, will usually be the same businesses that survive the next three years and flourish, selling for 4 – 5x with significantly improved annual profits, providing excellent returns for investors smart enough to see their potential. –Justin Gilchrist with Centurica Website Due Diligence
Overall Sell Site Rank (OSSR)The marketplaces with the best opportunities for selling websites under a $1 million price tag are found on the OSSR ranking list.
The top five rankings for selling a websites under a million dollars are:
The #1 ranking goes to BizBuySell.com because of the potential to sell a website for a higher multiple here then on Flippa. For the most part BizBuySell.com seems to bring in higher multiples.
This is changing with more novice buyers on flippa coming into the market and for that matter more experienced online marketers buying sites as well. An experienced online marketer is able to pay higher multiples on websites because of the future potential of that website’s traffic. The online marketer understands how to drive traffic to a website where someone who just set up one website to sell their information product may not understand driving traffic at all.
The other major factor that lifted BizBuySell.com above Flippa in this ranking list was the amount of traffic the site gets in comparison to Flippa. BizBuySell.com has 179,168 unique visitors a day according to SEMRush.com, while Flippa.com has 19,241. (Keep in mind that SEMRush.com data is not always accurate, which is why my overall traffic analysis pulls in a few other sites’ data.)
Bizbuysell.com also had 274 listings with the majority of those being quality sites from what I could tell without doing much due diligence on them.
Over a Million Rank (OMR)This list is for buying or selling websites over a $1 million. The website ranked number one on this list was where we believe you have the best opportunity to sell your website or find a quality website for sale when you are spending over a $1 million.
All websites in the top five are website brokers, not too much of a surprise. So I thought it would be important to provide you with some insight from two brokers that made our list.
First, I asked Jock Purtle, DigitalExits.com to provide you with a few differences between using a broker to sell your website versus selling a website on your own. Here is what he said:
“The biggest advantages between listing a site for sale with a broker versus online marketplaces.
Did you know your site is probably more profitable than you think it is? One of the processes a broker uses when preparing a business for sale is identifying expenses that are deductible from your profit and loss statement to increase profits. The main advantage of using a broker is getting access to this knowledge. Proper preparation generally equates to a higher valuation and puts more money in your pocket. A broker normally uses online marketplaces to find potential buyers, but it is the work that is done before and after a site is listed that is the biggest advantage of a broker.”–Jock Purtle Digital Exits
I also asked Jason Yelowitz from QuiteLightBrokerage.com to let us know what they have seen over the last year when it comes to buying and selling websites and the overall market.
Jason Yelowitz“In the past year, we have seen a real shift toward high quality listings. Many of the marginal sites, including those that are 100% dependent on organic traffic, have disappeared from the marketplace. Most of what’s left are sites that boast diversified marketing, years of history and professional records. We are pleased with the evolution that we see.” Quiet Light Brokerage is a full service website brokerage specializing in sites valued between $100k and $5 million. – Jason Yelowitz, Quiet Light Brokerage
The top 5 marketplaces for
buying and selling websites over $1 million (OMR) are:
When someone is interested in selling their website that they feel can warrant a price over $1 million they tend to seek out a business or website broker. Very few sellers at this price range go to the auction marketplaces or classifieds. Which is why website brokers made up the top five listings in the OMR.
In the free report I provide the top 22 listings for the OR (Overall Rankings), OBSR, OSSR and OMR.
I’d love your feedback as well on which website brokers and marketplaces you’ve had experience with and what your unbiased thoughts are in dealing with them.
Add your comments below…