Whatever happened to the sites you sold?

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Sold two sites.

First site was for XX,XXX in 2014 on EF. It changed owners twice since then and is still ranking for the legal terms. The owner now made some YT videos for it and saturated the webpages with ads. Like, ads on the sidebar, ads that follow your scroll, video ads that auto play, etc. It's quite ugly now.

Second site was a project I made for a marketing class and sold for X,XXX on Flippa. The new owner bought the review site, made a private label for Amazon, and recommended his own private label brand. He got his capital back within two months from my analysis. Good move. The site was an EMD in a low competition niche. This was back in 2012 when Colorado was just legalizing recreational marijuana. After legalization in CO and many other states, the niche became competitive and the site lost rankings to large magazines. The site's now a PBN.

If I held on to the first site, I'll still be getting regular income. If I did the move the other guy did, I'd gotten more money out of my site before competitors took over. My lesson is to not sell your sites.
 

eliquid

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My lesson is to not sell your sites.

I disagree.

You're basing that on knowing the info you know now, on those specific sites. Hindsight is always 2020.

A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush.

I think the real lesson here is, not to stop building.

You could have sold those 2 sites, got exactly what you got, and built more to keep the income flowing instead.
 

stackcash

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Piggybacking off of what @eliquid said...

A blanket statement like "don't sell your sites" is advice that won't apply to everyone...and could potentially be terrible advice for certain people.

The decision to sell a business is 100% related to your personal and business goals. This is unique to you.

My decision matrix for potentially selling a business boils down to a few related questions:
  • Does the business still hold the potential to allow me to hit my goals within the timeframe I set to reach the goal? If yes, keep it. If no, you have a good reason to let it go.
  • What does the opportunity cost of holding onto this business look like?
  • Are there other opportunities that I can leverage that would help me hit my goals faster?
  • What kind of costs, in regards to both time and money, am I looking at when it comes to selling an existing business and getting into something completely new. Do these costs negate the benefits of getting into the new biz in the first place?
As you can see, it all comes back to goal setting. If you know what your goals are, you can answer these questions. From there, your decisions should be pretty clear.
 

Ryuzaki

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I've sold a lot of sites but the most interesting ones ended up (and I have to be vague here) going to a guy who ended up in prison for running a "scheme" and are now the highest earning sites operated by the FTC from his collection (that situation could have changed by now, this was a long time ago). They had some killer links for a fiasco where they ended up being syndicated in the news for "placing links" on the most famous and polarizing website from about 12 years ago. I wish I could give the details. Those sites were gifts that kept giving in the funniest ways. High level governmental fuckery, basically, all legal on my end.

Every other project I've sold ends up offline within a year or two. That seems to be the case with most sites sold. The buyers either do nothing and tank them, or change everything and tank them, then let them die. I've seen it happen to all of my buddies' sites they sold, too. I've seen this happen from 4 to 7 figure sites. It's almost the rule at this point.
 

Boy

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I've only sold 1 of my sites, my 1st one. Started in Jan 2016, sold on Nov 1st, 2016 after the highest earning affiliate partner closed my account. It was a sloppy site with sub cent per word content and looking back the only reason it ranked at all was that I was the second site in the industry. I barely let the articles marinate enough to start ranking well so the buy got to see that continue to grow. Nowadays the site is still online, it appears to be top 5 organically in the industry, and the guy I sold it to (just peeped him on LinkedIn) is the Director of SEO at some agency. Good for him.

If I knew what I know now, I would have simply redirected those links to the closed account to either a post about "alternatives to [closed account platform]" or just send them to a competitor site. There was/is some serious potential for recurring revenue in the industry, which is why I started a new site in the industry last year.
 

secretagentdad

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I used to flip info sites as fast as I could make them when emds worked. (kinda like fry)

Same experience as Zuki. Buyers either changed them and fucked them up or failed to do anything and watched them wither.

This is why I think the multipliers thrown around lately for web properties are insane.
Especially organic content driven plays.

The other big item people forget is autocomplete allows google and sophisticated market participants to change the terminology traffic flows over time. The degree with which content marketing participants are pushing the conversation in directions that evolve the organic landscape is way under talked about when valuing these kinds of things.
 

bernard

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I've sold a few and they were still going strong years after.

None of them had improved a lot, but neither had they tanked.

I sold to people who run websites, so that's probably why.

Actually, seeing a site I created 6 years ago still doing well, without a lot of links, is pretty cool.
 
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Just quickly checking SEMRUSH, looks like since our portfolio was sold in Dec 2020, 4 out of 5 main sites took off in terms of traffic and rankings - upwards to 30% increase in traffic since the sell. Makes me happy knowing they are succeeding and growing the business constantly. Also makes me think we could've done the same thing, but its life and we move onto new things!

I think selling is based on everyone's preference - in life, nothing last forever, but things decline and some things grow - its a matter of perspective and personal factors that i think really factored into our decision to sell.
 

EyesExist

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Wow. I've sold a few sites. I'll only keep up with the ones that made $XX,XXX+ profit

1 - The first Urban fashion site online. Started in 2002, sold in 2008 to a couple who now have ownership in two major web brands/projects. One being instacart and another being SEJournal . I was happy with what i walked away with.

Owners had money & knowledge to invest in a team of the best talents to rennovate site, scale up production, and even launched a media team to go interview celebs in events I got access to. They were making $XX, XXX per month within a short time and showed me the power of scaling. Also the need to have funds to scale.

The ended up selling to another company who appeared to me, had no clue or interests in really developing sites. Eventually site died off. They tried to redirect to a listicle site, made no sense.

And now, a 3rd owner appears to have come about. I wasn't even aware. They just tossed up content and turned the site into an amazon affiliate project it appears but it's pretty dead.

I made a life-long valuable , distant friend from this sale. Someone who's great to talk to and we never want a thing from each other . but for me, it's . WELL WORTH THE SALE. Great people. Great connection.

2. My personal brand, I developed around 2008. Sold it in 2012 to a guy when I switched gears to a plan with YouTube & was in Hollywood acting. I was a starving artist needed a boost. He wanted to exploit the Google News account. Well he killed it instead. Bought it for $XX,XXX and sold it back to me for $X,XXX. Still have it til today but not really active with it at all, though I'd probably not sell at this point.

3. Recently took a men's accessory i was selling on ebay and converted it into a brand. Made a solid income for about 2 years then just sold it recently to an Indian group. I have no quarrels in the sale. I was exhausted. I hope they take it to it's full potential of $XX,XXX monthly.

I do wish the guy never got my site taken off Google News. That's a 'money' feature and a site with that age on Google News would be AMAZING today, to have. None the less, my experiences have been great and I wouldn't reccomend holding onto sites you dont have a passion to upkeep
 
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I wouldn't reccomend holding onto sites you dont have a passion to upkeep
Everything requires maintenance and upkeep. Stocks that pays dividends require a staff and managers. Rental properties require a property management company. Even a "100% passive" business such as a parking lot with an electronic gate still needs bookkeeping and an occasional repavement. The idea that you can just make a site and forget about it while still earning income is only true for sites that are not at their potential. Large sites that get enough traffic to make a few thousands a month or more will definitely need upkeep. This is true if it's in your portfolio or someone else's. Seems like many buyers don't realize that.
 
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Most of the sites I sold on Flippa (been a few years) were for $x,xxx and the owners quickly abandoned them. One site I sold for mid $xx,xxx and the owner still has it 7-8 years later but hasn't really done anything with it. I saw the writing on the wall with some Google updates coming and decided to sell high, but if the guy spent any time developing it he would have made his investment back 10x, but he didn't.

Dude makes bank in the financial niche so probably doesn't care, but it's always bugged me and I considered trying to buy it back a few times. I still feel ownership on it for some reason so I hate to see it in the current state it is.
 

andreint

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Sold a 4yo site last week for 6-figures. The monetization was Amazon + Mediavine. RPM was hovering between $50-70 pre-covid and $30-40 in 2021. I did my best to keep it clean and not put ads on my buying guides/reviews to avoid noise and to keep everything streamlined.

The new owner ditched that approach, changed MV with Ezoic and now, 10 days post-purchase, has RPMs between $70-90 and Amazon revenue is pretty much intact xD.

I necked myself and just don't want to think about that site anymore :D
 
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Sold a 4yo site last week for 6-figures. The monetization was Amazon + Mediavine. RPM was hovering between $50-70 pre-covid and $30-40 in 2021. I did my best to keep it clean and not put ads on my buying guides/reviews to avoid noise and to keep everything streamlined.

The new owner ditched that approach, changed MV with Ezoic and now, 10 days post-purchase, has RPMs between $70-90 and Amazon revenue is pretty much intact xD.

I necked myself and just don't want to think about that site anymore :D
Ezoic smashed MV? Is this real life?
 

bernard

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My first site I sold back in 2013, It was semi-successful, an adsense gaming blog. It was making about ~$800 a month. I super needed the money at that time so I decided to sell it.
Shortly after, I felt super regretful and thought I made the wrong decision.
But later on, I came into terms with my decision.
I remember checking often to see how the site turned out, I noticed it changed owners completely about a year after I sold it, then afterwards, the site had a 303 redirect and shortly after its back on the market with spam/porn links tied to it.
My end thoughts were, if I needed to sell my sites, I shouldn't feel as much attachment to it, since not everyone would treat them the same as you would :cool: