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The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Website On Empire Flippers

~ 9 Minute Read

About a month ago I wrote a post detailing the new website I purchased.  This article went through what the site was about as well as what I planned to do with the site in the future.  What I did not cover in that post was the buying process and my experience buying a website on Empire Flippers.  Today, I’m going to give you the details on the pros and cons of working with Empire Flippers based on my experience.

For those who are unfamiliar, Empire Flippers is a marketplace where website owners can sell their web properties to potential buyers.  Think of it as the Realtor.com for websites.  They have websites for sale that vary in price from over $1 million to under $25k.

Without further ado let’s take a look at some of pros and cons I experienced buying a website from Empire Flippers.

Pros:

1. They Offer Basic Vetting

When you purchase a website from Empire Flippers you can assume that their staff has done some of the basic due diligence before posting the listing on their marketplace.  This basic vetting usually includes verifying traffic and revenue numbers.

Because of this vetting the marketplace is more trustworthy than other sites that don’t do this type of background checking, like the once market leader Flippa.com.  If you don’t have a great deal of experience with how to vet a website, this should give you some sense of relief that Empire Flippers checks things out as well.  Some of the best features to their vetting process is disclosing if a site has a private blog network (PBN), and they report traffic and revenues.

On the flip side, realize that the vetting Empire Flippers does is basic and does not guarantee that the site you purchase will be the real deal.  In fact, Empire Flippers clearly states that you as the buyer needs to do your own research into the web property to ensure that there is no funny business going on.

Before buying TheDailyWant, I looked into other web properties on Empire Flippers and there have been a couple that seemed fishy upon closer inspection.  At the end of the day its a good thing that Empire Flippers does this vetting, but please make sure to do the deep digging to make sure things make sense to you.

2. Empire Flippers Helps Migrate The Websites

When I’ve purchased website from other marketplaces, I’ve had to arrange for the site to migrated myself. I personally do not know how to migrate a website and I’ve had to either rely on the seller or hire a freelancer to do the work for me.  In the case of Empire Flippers, they have a staff ready and willing to move all the website files for you.  If the site has affiliate links they’ll even switch those over to your account as part of your purchase.  You basically just send the money to them and let Empire Flippers handle the migration process.

3. You Have A 14 Day Inspection Period

After sending your money to Empire Flippers they immediately begin the migration process.  Once this process is completed you get 14 days to verify the traffic and revenue numbers.  If these numbers deviate by greater than 50% from the numbers included in the website listing, then you have the right to cancel the sale.

4. Your Money Goes To Escrow

The money that you wire to Empire Flippers for purchase of a website is put into escrow until the inspection period ends.  This means that the seller does not have access to the money until the site has been shown to be a legit property.  This builds trust into the process and you can rest assured that if the website ends up being a dude (or scam) you can get your funds back.

Cons:

While working with Empire Flippers has been a positive experience overall, there are certainly some cons that come from buying off of their marketplace.

1. Premium Prices

None of the vetting and website migration services come free.  Empire Flippers takes a 15% commission on every site they sell, which I feel is about 5% too high.  On top of this Empire Flippers uses a monthly income multiple formula to come up with a sale price.  This monthly multiple usually ranges from 25x to 29x, which is a much higher multiple compared to when you purchase on Flippa.com or if you approach website owners directly.  For example, when I purchased a website off of Flippa.com the monthly multiple for the price I paid was 12x.

The bottom line: there are no “deals” to be had on Empire Flippers.  If you decide to purchase a site be sure to have a plan to make the site earn more than the already steep monthly multiple.

2. Stiff Competition

Because the Empire Flippers marketplace can be visited by anyone with internet access it gets a good amount of traffic from potential website buyers.  This is great for sellers who are looking to make a quick sale, but bad for buyers as the extra demand drives up prices and may mean you miss out on a site.

This is the price you pay for easy access to websites for sale.  If you want to avoid the competition I’d recommend searching for websites you’re interested in and contacting the owner directly to see if they’d consider selling.

3. You Must Deposit To See Website Details

Once you spend a little time on the Empire Flipper’s marketplace you’ll see that to get the actual site URL that’s for sale you have to make a 5% refundable deposit.  This policy is understandable as it helps Empire Flippers separate serious buyers from tire kickers, but it can make it difficult to determine which sites are worth investigating further.

A little secret I’ll share with my readers is that if you make a couple deposits on some sites and show you have the cash, the Empire Flippers staff will give you a VIP code that you can use to see the URLs without having to make the deposit.  I highly recommend asking for one once you’ve made a couple deposits.

4. Relying On Their Website Migration Team

I’ll be the first to admit that having Empire Flippers help you migrate a site is a nice feature.  But there can be some headaches that come from this.  I experienced some of these myself when purchasing my site.

The biggest issue I had with the migration team is the time it took to switch affiliate link codes over to my account.  The previous owners of TheDailyWant used short codes for all their affiliate links, meaning that each link had to changed manually.  There were around 1200 posts that needed updated.  I certainly didn’t expect this to be done in a day, but when I learned that after about a week’s time the Empire Flipper’s team had only switched over 40 of the 1200 posts, it goes without saying I wasn’t happy.

 

It even got to the point where I had to inform the migration team to pick up the pace or I would require a discount on the Empire Flippers commission.  Thankfully, after this back and forth they got their act together and my links were switched over in about a week’s time after making this ultimatum.

In Summary

As you can see there are several pros and cons to working with Empire Flippers.  They are certainly a step up from the wild west days when Flippa dominated the market, but there is still room for improvement.  I would like to see Empire Flippers improve their vetting process and lower their commission, at least slightly.

For those of us who are looking to buy a website but don’t have the time or energy to do the searching yourself, Empire Flippers is really the best choice you have.  I hope that in the future there are more quality website marketplaces so that the variety of sites for sale improve and the increased competition will make this industry more efficient.

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5 thoughts on “The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Website On Empire Flippers

  1. the money is with the empire people, the codes and everything is handed to the buyer, the seller needs to maintain the site during the inspection period. how gets paid for the income during the inspection period?

  2. Thank you very much for the article. I am currently considering purchasing my first online business and the vetting process is my biggest concern. Everything else can be learned. How do you ensure that what you’re being told is true? Expenses can be hidden, traffic can be purchased, etc. How can you verify that the seller has not done guerrilla marketing to drive up their numbers for the last 6 months in order to increase the purchase price?

    1. Gariel,

      Great question! The vetting process is complicated and would be a good topic for an article (wink, wink). To answer your question briefly I look at a few things to verify traffic and earnings.

      1. I get access to the site’s Google Analytics. Within GA I look at the amount of traffic and where the traffic is coming from. From there I investigate further. For example, if the site get’s a lot of traffic from Google I will look at the articles getting a large amount of traffic from Google. Then I will go to Google and type in keywords that are related to the article topic. If the article ranks well organically in Google then it is pretty safe to assume the traffic (from Google at least) is legit.

      2. As far as earnings it depends on the model. Assuming it is affiliate I will want to have either a vetting process like Empire Flipper’s who can verify the earnings are real. If that’s not available I would require a Video Call on Skype and have the seller show me their account so that it takes the ability to edit photos out of the equation. I will accept data from screenshots once I’ve had the video consult and feel confident the earnings are accurate.

      Hopefully that helps. Again, I’ll try to write a detailed article about this topic in a week or so.

      Best,
      Nick “TheMicropreneur”

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