Ever since I got into internet marketing, I’ve been “scared” of selling websites. It seems extremely risky, time consuming and just a very stressful process to go through. And it was, when I sold my first website ever. I listed it on Flippa, wrote all the details in the description, paid for the listing and tried to do some extra marketing as well. It was an utter failure – I had practically no offers and ended up selling the website with a LOSS.
That’s not the way things should be.
FE International Is The Answer
They got me:
- 85% more money than I was expecting to get
- The first offer within two days of listing it
- The offer I accepted in 15 days
- More than 90 different people seriously interested in the listing
- The motivation to keep building out bigger and better sites for the future
It’s common sense to use a broker when selling your apartment or house, yet I’d never thought about getting a website broker. I met Thomas Smale, the founder of FE International (formerly Flipping Enterprises) on an internet marketing forum and have occasionally gotten in touch with him. We met up in Prague last October at Microconf Europe 2014 and at that time I was really considering selling one of my Amazon affiliate sites.
I had heard of website brokers before but never really understood the benefits or knew I needed one. I thought it was just something you’d do when selling massive sites or online businesses, but yet again, I was wrong.
Why You Should Get a Website Broker
First of all I’m going to list some of the key benefits of using a website broker in the first place, then I’ll get to why I chose FE International and why I think they’re the best – consider this my FE International review.
- Website brokers will get a higher price for your website – No matter how much experience you have with websites, I can almost guarantee they have more experience selling them. They know what buyers want, they know what your strong suites are, they have huge lists of serious buyers and investors and a ton of experience with the process in general.
- They make certain that everything is safe and legitimate for both parties – If I would’ve sold the website on my own, I’d still be doing due diligence on the buyer, worrying about whether they’re legit, searching for or writing legal documents and whatnot. Brokers deal with all that – they facilitate the due diligence for both parties, set up escrow for secure payments, help with the transfer, create all the documents, agreements and contracts.
- The marketing is done for you – “List it and they will come” doesn’t work for website auctions. You have to promote the listing to get the right buyers.. Or any buyers for that matter. Brokers usually have their own buyer lists, known investors and the reputation that will help you sell the website quicker.
- There’s little to no work for you – A solid description of your website and it’s financial situation is one of the keys to finding a buyer. If you don’t know how to present it and show it’s strong sides, no one is going to care. Brokers usually write the prospectus aka the sales description for you and bring out what’s most important for buyers.
- They know how much your website is worth – I was initially going to let the website go for less than half of what it was really worth. Thankfully they have more experience than me and were able to provide me with a more accurate valuation. There are so many factors to the value of a website – ranging from the profit to the work put in each month to sustain it. This is also why automated tools that estimate your website value are off so much. There are way too many variables, some of them simply cannot be put into an algorithm. You need an experts view on your business as a whole to get an accurate appraisal.
Why I Decided To Go With FE International
Choosing a website broker was hard. It’s a pretty big decision to sell your website and you want it to be in the right hands. This is what was most important for me, when selling the website:
- Getting a fair price for it
- Being certain that I don’t get scammed
- That the website gets into the “right hands”
- Getting it sold quickly
- Making sure I don’t lose money if the website doesn’t sell
I Googled around for others as well, but they couldn’t win my trust. EF and FEI are the two companies that have a serious online presence. Active on forums, the internet marketing community, blogs, podcasts – the whole set.
It’s clear now that I chose the guys at FEI, but why? Yet again, there are quite a few reasons for this.
First of all, the thing that mattered the most to me at that time. Empire Flippers charged a rather big listing fee and guaranteed no sale. Meaning that if I listed it and they couldn’t sell it – I wouldn’t get my money back. On the other hand, Thomas and his team have no listing fee. They’re responsible for getting it sold and they only get paid if they actually sell it – this also means that they have more motivation to sell the website and get a higher price for it.
Secondly, the valuation. The offer I got from Empire Flippers was 25% lower than what FEI valued my site at. Obviously, being the owner of the site, I agreed that it was worth more.
Thirdly, it was the trust and seriousness. Empire Flippers (formerly Adsense flippers) are “rather new” to the business, although they definitely know what they’re doing. The old sandcastle logo, their niche site background and their audience was quite a turn-off. I knew that their following is mainly people like myself, who deal with small niche sites and stuff like that.
On the other hand, FEI has a serious corporate image to it. Half of their team consists of people with a serious background in finance, they’ve been in business for longer, they sell way bigger sites and in larger quantities and most importantly, they have a more “mature” audience. In fact, the owner, Thomas Smale is even an author on Entrepreneur.com!
Looking around the FEI website, you get a good look into how they do business. It’s all formal, documented and they have set procedures for everything as well. Going through the process myself, it was always a pleasure knowing that James Morrish, my broker, was thinking ahead, had planned ahead and made things simple for me. Digital signatures for contracts, secure workplaces to discuss details, super simple transfer and all that.
I don’t mean to put the EF guys down in any way, but I believe FEI is ahead by leaps and bounds and their “image” is more professional.
Some Facts & Figures
Here are some facts and figures I thought are worthy to point about my work with FEI and their business in general.
- Time from FEI listing the website to first serious offer: two days
- Time from listing to winning offer (my cherry picking): fifteen days
- I got 85% more money for the website than I initially wanted
- In the first weeks, there were over 90 serious buyers looking into buying my website
- They’ve been in business for 5 years
- They’re the biggest websites brokers in the world
- Although they stopped using Flippa 3-4 years ago, they’re still the user with the MOST sales on Flippa both in terms of value and in quantity.
It has been a big pleasure of mine to do business with people like this. Just like I love, they do business with the mindset of “win-win-win”. I won because I got my website sold, the buyer won because they got an amazing website for a fair price and FEI won because they got two super happy clients, their recommendations and of course, a commission.
One of the things that made me most happy about this deal is that my website got into the right hands. I still talk with the buyer occasionally and give him ideas on what I’d do to improve the website. He’s keeping me updated on “how my baby is progressing” and sharing lots of valuable insights on how to make similar websites better.
To my surprise, Thomas and FEI had reached out to the buyer post-sale as well, giving him advice on how to make the site better and get the most value out of their purchase – now that’s customer service! This is something that’s second nature to a man like him, so I imagine the buyer got a lot of valuable insights from that.
If you are looking to sell a website, get in touch with FE International. Hopefully you’ll have a great experience, just like I did.
I have two more posts coming in the future about Thomas & FE International:
- How To Sell Your Website With A Business Broker (Step-by-step, going through the process and explaining how it works)
- A recap of Thomas’s presentation at Microconf 2014 Europe – How To Build An App You Can Sell