EFP 27: How To Use Website Brokers To Buy And Sell Websites

Justin Cooke

July 18, 2012

Being website brokers in the buying and selling website space, we’ve got tons of connections and relationships with others doing the same.  In episode 27, we had the pleasure of interviewing Thomas Smale from Flipping Enterprises, the #1 website broker on Flippa in 2011.  In only a few years, he’s been able to climb through the ranks and make connections with buyers and sellers that has put his brokerage on top.

Using Web Brokers to Your Advantage

Thomas got his start just a few years ago, buying, improving, and then selling small sites for a profit.  We had three main topics we wanted to discuss with him:

  1. The building, buying, and selling of websites
  2. The business of website brokers
  3. His experiences running Flipping Enterprises

Thomas did not disappoint and gave us some juicy info about his business.  Check out the interview here:

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Our upcoming trips to Manila, Puerto Galera, and Bangkok
  • Swapping all of our niche site hosting from GoDaddy to HostGator Profiling
  • High-end buyers/sellers of websites and best practices when considering a sale
  • Site valuations, buyer/seller value, and fiduciary responsibilities for website brokers
  • How to become a broker, find a partner, and scale your website brokering business
  • A quick tip on how to put a valuation on your site


  • Flipping EnterprisesContact Thomas here if you’re looking to sell a higher-end site or group of sites.
  • Social Media Day Davao – A great opportunity for us to reach out to some local bloggers and help them use social media (the RIGHT way!) to drive traffic to their sites.
  • FlipFilter Website Valuation Tool – This online tool allows you to value your site with metrics including domain age, traffic, pagerank, etc.
  • Pocket – Allows you to quickly snip and save sites for later, offline reading.

Now…over to you!  Have you had good/bad experiences with website brokers?  What do you think about that side of the business in general?  Let us know in the comments below or feel free to say hi on Twitter!  Or…you can leave us a message below and have a chance to be featured in the next podcast!


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  1. Praveen Nair says:


    Great Post on Flipping, I have a couple of Local Lead gen Sites that I’m looking to flip, I charge my clients $1000/month serving them with the leads through the sites. Can I list that on EF Marketplace ?


    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Praveen,

      As long as the sites are making $1,000 per month over a 12 month average, they can be sold on our marketplace as that meets our minimum income requirements. If you’re doing rank and rent model with the sites they might be a bit trickier to sell than say using a lead gen affiliate program of some kind (like Campus Explorer or Quinstreet) just because the contracts with those clients have to be moved over to the buyer’s information.

  2. […] been featured at the Flippa blog a variety of times and often have bloggers round the web  talking about us . We’re the all-time top grossing sellers on Flippa, with over $1.3m in perfect ( check our […]

  3. […] been featured at the Flippa blog some of times and often have bloggers across the web  talking about us . We’re the all-time top grossing sellers on Flippa, with over $1.3m in perfect ( check our […]

  4. […] been featured at the Flippa blog numerous times and frequently have bloggers across the web  talking about us . We’re the all-time top grossing sellers on Flippa, with over $1.2m in perfect ( check our […]

  5. […] – 1,493 pageviews 5 Business Failures That Nearly Killed Our Business – 1,318 pageviews AFP 27: How To Use A Broker To Buy And Sell Websites – 972 […]

  6. […] been featured at the Flippa blog quite a few times and frequently have bloggers round the web talking about us . We’re the all-time top grossing sellers on Flippa, with over $1.2m in perfect ( check our […]

  7. Dave Chewter says:

    Very interesting interview. I’ve just sold a network of sites on Flippa for $140K and feel that using a broker might have been a better way to go. In fact from the interview I think we broke every rule about what to do when selling sites, but worked out ok luckily. Next time I think I will definitely speak to a broker before making a decision about how to sell.

    • Thomas Smale says:

      Dave, I don’t really think there are any strict rules – everyone has their own style and way of doing business. As long as the sale goes smoothly and both parties are safe, that’s the main thing. I would definitely recommend at least speaking to a broker before selling a site – you’ll get a lot of free insight and advice (with us at least) without having to sign a contract or paying anything upfront.

      • JustinWCooke says:

        That’s good advice, Thomas. It makes sense to ask around in other similar situations. (i.e. selling your house) Worst case, you pick up a few tips that help you sell it yourself.

      • Dave Chewter says:

        Good points, will keep an eye on your site for potential acquisitions as well as sales in the future.

  8. […] been featured at the Flippa blog one or more times and regularly have bloggers round the web talking about us . We’re the all-time top grossing sellers on Flippa, with over $1.2m in perfect ( check our […]

  9. Yea, we really didn’t like Godaddy either. They just straight up suck. Another great interview guys – Thomas had a lot of good shares in there. Buying and selling sites is something that i’m interested in doing in the future after we’re a little more settled down with our niche sites so this was very refreshing.

  10. Jake says:

    Awesome interview guys. Thomas really knows his stuff when it comes to brokering. I definitely recommend talking to him if you have a site you’re looking to sell that’s in the 10k and up range.

  11. This is a great podcast. Very insightful.

  12. Andrew Crystal says:

    Still catching up on this I downloaded your podcasts last week and am upto around number 12 – some really good straight forward information in there! The comments you’ve had about it being entertaining are totally right too! :-) Problem is a bit of knowledge leads to more questions…

    One thing I did wonder is how do you go on selling sites that use the CTR theme – does the buyer have to buy a licence as I guess you can’t leave yours on there?

    Also on adsense do you just let google do it’s thing with the text & image/rich media ads or do you go with text – I was just thinking that on many small niches there isn’t going to be the big company fancy ads that are relevant to your site as often? Do you have any good resources on adsense as the whole channel thing doesn’t seem very clear on how you associate it to a layout etc?

    • Andrew thanks for the comment and questions.

      For CTR Theme, we have a special deal with Eppie that allows us to transfer single site licenses to purchasers of our sites.

      We generally allow ad units to show image/rich media ads because of higher CPCs. Don’t forget that Google might fill ad units with something more relevant according to the user’s search history. This can lead to those supper valuable high CPC clicks (think over $5) even if your niche only gets 79 cents a click.

      As for the the channel setup thing, see this post on account organization for help:


      • Andrew Crystal says:

        Thanks for the info Joe, I see your point about the ads and its working for you so will stick with that for now – might try some experimenting when I have sites to get better stats from. Might have to speak to Eppie when that time comes around would make transfer much easier…

        Like your article on organising adsense ads – best to get that sorted from the off to save headaches later on.

        Listened to this podcast last night and it was great – plenty of good, interesting and very thought provoking information in there – great job to you guys and to Thomas.

  13. Spencer Then says:

    Thanks guys for doing this interview. I started a couple adsense sites last year but they haven’t really been doing much, maybe averaging about $25 a month in earnings. The niches are kind of small so I’m not sure if they could sell for much and I’d have no idea how to sell on my own. Do you suppose some brokers would take on a sites this small?

    • We give a lot of tips here on selling those types of sites on Flippa. My suggestion is to do it yourself, you won’t get a broker to help out as the price tag is just too low.

  14. Oliver says:

    Hey, Justin. I really enjoyed this interview. Travelling can be a blast cant it? i have never had an experiences with brokers, but I will probably have some in the near future. Anyway, keep up the excellent content production here, Justin!


    • JustinWCooke says:

      Hey Oliver!

      Yes, I absolutely love to travel which makes living out here in SE Asia pretty great. Every 2-4 months I typically have to get out of here and go see something new. I’m not completely location independent as I like to have a “home base” but having the freedom and flexibility to travel/work when I want to is awfully nice.

      I don’t think I could ever go back to a job after doing this for a few years. I might find myself wanting to join a really interesting start-up or help others with their business…but working in a traditional job is off the table! :-)

  15. One of my favourite episodes yet!

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Wow…really, Matthew? Thanks…great to hear! What was it about the content that made it the best, do you think? A subject matter that’s the most useful to you?

  16. Dave says:

    mmm Hostgator is excellent .. but recently i’ve had some crazy waiting times for the wordpress to save the post. I thought it was a mystery plugin so on a new install i had bare minimum running and hostgator was still sloooooow at times then speeding up. Wondering if anyone else had the same problems.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Weird, Dave…

      We kept having problems where AdSenseFlippers would crash when I’d send an email out…it couldn’t handle the incoming traffic. Apparently, it was Popup Domination that was killing us, so I turn it off now when sending out an email, heh. Not sure why the slow load time for WP though…

      • We should note that AdSenseFlippers is on it’s own VPS (Virtual Private Sever) though our niche sites use the shared hosting.

        I have never seen a slow down or outage on the shared hosting side. My guess is you have too many sites on one server and they are limiting you in some way (be sure to check you inode count). This is one of the advantages of HostGator — they monitor they’re shared hosting accounts closely for abuse to make sure no one account is hogging resources. So just because you used a clean install doesn’t mean that one of you other sites is causing the issue.

        • Dave says:

          Thanks Joseph for the fback

          • Dave says:

            Hey Joseph.. Its often been said also to check if a plugin might be affecting the WP saving speed. I was looking at disabling plugins and playing around with it. You know, I deleted the disabled plugins just as another test and huh? the last couple of days the systems been running like a charm where before i couldn’t save (as the system was just stagnant on saving in some cases) .. so it seems even though plugins are disabled, they were having some background effect that deleting entirely provided a solution.

          • Yeah, We try to keep the total number of plugins under 10 for our niche sites. For AdSenseFlippers.com though it’s much more and I am not sure which ones are needed because so much is going on. When we do the site redesign we’re going to sift through that and get rid of the extra baggage.

  17. Sarah says:

    Great interview. Thomas definitely knows his stuff. I was fortunate enough to sell a site through Flipping Enterprises (with Thomas as my broker) earlier this year. Professional service from start to finish.
    It’s always good when someone who knows what they are talking about is willing to share their knowledge and experience.

    • thomas smale says:

      Thanks, Sarah. Glad you enjoyed it. Was a pleasure working with you in April. Don’t forget to get in touch if you have anything other sites to sell :)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Sweet, Sarah…awesome to hear you had a good experience. We’d seen Flipping Enterprises around (definitely on Flippa) and were “watchers” of their auctions as well as I like to check out the sites they typically sell…

  18. Luka says:

    Went through the interview, Thomas is a master site flipper and broker, no doubt! Great interview with him buddy, very informative interview, and good questions!

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