EFP 43: 6 Tire-Kicking Strategies For Vetting A Website

Justin Cooke Justin Cooke April 18, 2013

There’s a negative connotation that comes with “tire kicking”, but when it comes to buying a website it’s a smart idea to take a look under the hood. Joe and I have been looking at a ton of websites lately both on Flippa and from those that would like to list their websites and business on our marketplace.

6 Tire Kicker Tactics When Vetting a Website

In episode 43, Joe and I cover our Top 6 tips for vetting a website you’re looking to purchase. These are some of the same steps we use and require of our sellers to ensure only the highest quality sites get listed with us. Buying your first website can be an exciting, nerve-wracking process…so we wanted to share with you a few tips that will help you avoid the lemons.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

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Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Over 1,000 licenses sold with our week-long IntelliTheme promotion!
  • What’s working (and what’s not) with our site sales
  • Sneaky tricks to dig into the seller’s background
  • Verifying the traffic’s legit
  • The absolute best ways to verify the earnings are legitimate
  • Content – What to look for

Mentions:

What do you look for when purchasing a site? Please feel to share your tips/tricks with us on Twitter or let everyone know in the comments.

 


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Speaker 1:           Welcome to the Empire Flippers Podcast. Are you sick and tired of Gurus who have plenty of ideas but are short on substance? Worried that Ebook you bought for 17,95 won’t bring you the personal and financial freedom you long for? Hey, you’re not alone. Join thousands of others in their pursuit of niche profits, without the bullshit. Straight from your hosts, Justin and Joe, from Empire Flippers.

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to episode forty three of the Empire Flippers podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke and I’m here with Joe Hot Money Magnotti, what is going on my man?

Joe Hot Money:                Hey everybody.

Justin Cooke:                     Got a great episode lined up for you this week. We’re gonna go over 6 tire kicking strategies you can use to vet a website. We been to a lot of vetting of websites recently checking them out. We’re gonna get into those strategies, first we’ve got some updates, news and info for you. Number 1, Intellatheme man, it’s been, it’s been crazy this last couple of days.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, so we had a big launch on Friday, 10PM Philippines time, 10AM East Coast time. And, you know, in the first twelve hours we sold almost five hundred units, so that’s a lot of users, considering we only sold about a hundred and fifty the previous 6 months.

Justin Cooke:                     I’m so excited. So it’s really weird going through like the whole internet marketing, like, you know, product launch strategy. I mean it’s like totally weird for us. We not those guys, but like, it’s really interesting to kinda like, delve into it. And I’ll tell you I’m so happy to get the users, we’ve already got great ideas lined up for Intellatheme for version 2, version 3. So just the fact that we’re able to get all these people on the platform I think is fantastic for the product.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah and the income doesn’t hurt either. It makes me say, hey we have to pay for developers, we have to pay for more stuff and we can actually have a project that can feed on itself.

Justin Cooke:                     Hot Money over here man, it’s always so, so Joe has like this every product, or every project, whether or not it’s profitable on its own, right, so [inaudible 00:01:50] got the money, we can support it, let’s get some developers. Well, is it profitable yet, Joe? Justin, I don’t know man. I don’t know if it’s profitable but we got the money, let’s get it done.

                                                Anyway, moving into our second point, we are sponsoring a tech meet up in a place called [inaudible 00:02:03], here in the Philippines, and one of our developers is actually in [inaudible 00:02:07], Philippina, and she’s got some other developers, or programmers there in [inaudible 00:02:12] that she want to kind of get together and start to build the little community. We actually know the lady that runs Tech Tocks.ph, which is a big tech community here in the Philippines, kind of introduced them and so like, you know, they can start working together, maybe they could do like, start up weekend or something, you know, start building some buzz over there in [inaudible 00:02:28], which is really great.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah this is great, I mean we’ve worked with this developer for only about a month now but we really enjoy working with her and I think this is kind of an awesome thing to do for her outside the box. We’d sponsor a cake and coffee but we could also introduce her and give her some context to really help her build her own business.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah and that really kind of like cements our relationship, we really like working with her, but it also introduces us to other cool, you know, shit hot developers, potentially, that are in [inaudible 00:02:53] that can help us grow our business, which all around it’s a good thing and you know, for a few bucks here and there [inaudible 00:02:59] sponsorship is not really that big of a deal.

                                                Next point we’ve got, I did a blog post on Flipper recently, I become a gas contributor at [inaudible 00:03:06], which is really awesome.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, awesome! It was a very good post and [crosstalk 00:03:09]

Justin Cooke:                     Like forty two comments or something like. It’s kinda popular. I saw it on like Reddit and stuff. It’s really interesting, but it was about life as an ex-pat entrepreneur, we’ll link to that later in the show notes, but you know, Aphoele actually asked for more blog posts like that, talking about what ex-pat entrepreneurship like. It was a fun run try, it was a little different than our usual, you know, here’s the add unit strategies we use, that kind of stuff, so it’s cool.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, it’s good to see that you can, you know, expand your blogging ability a little bit over there and try some different tactics out on a little higher traffic blog.

Justin Cooke:                     So the last point of updates and info we wanted to cover is our vetted sites are selling so we been adding some other people’s sites, some third party sites, and they been selling really well actually in the vetted sites area.

Joe Hot Money:                Up to a point, right?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, up to a point. So it seems like, you know, our buyers are in, you know, $400 to like 6, $7000 range, are good, are strong, there’s plenty of need. But at least with our audience, when you go over that, it becomes a bit more difficult. One of the problems is that PayPal only allows transactions up to ten thousand, honestly in a transaction more than ten thousand, PayPal may not be the best way to go about it anyway.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah. I’d think a wire ACH or something like that might be a better way to get paid for sure just to save on the fees, but you know, I think the main limiting factor probably is been is that our audience has been kind of [crosstalk 00:04:27]

Justin Cooke:                     They’re used to sites that are in the range that they are selling at. Yeah, so, when it comes to the featured sites, we’ve got a lot of attention, a lot of like nibbles, but no one’s pulled the trigger and that’s, it’s a little surprising at this point ’cause I know we do have some [inaudible 00:04:41] that are looking for fifty, sixty, seventy thousand dollar sites. It’s just such a smaller pool of people I think, you know what I mean, like.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I think that’s part of it. I think that, you know, maybe the fact that we don’t reveal a lot of the information for those sites.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh God, yeah, I know. If you’re going to spend sixty grand, you kinda want to know a little bit more about the site, I get that.

Joe Hot Money:                But we have to have some sort of commitment, ’cause otherwise we gonna fall into the same trap that we did with smaller size, which is copy cats and increased competitions.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, way more. Yeah, with these bigger size for sure. So, anyway, that’s it for the updates, news and info. Let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 1:                           This is the Empire Flippers podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     Alright so let’s get into these strategies for vetting a website, Joe. First I should mention that we just released a debate post, or actually, we haven’t, now we recording this on a Monday. But on Tuesday we gonna release the debate post between Spencer and Chris Guthrie, talking about whether it’s better to build or to buy a website. Kind of a follow up to that, we wanted to discuss some of the finer points of vetting a site if you are looking to purchase.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I think this is a good carry over from that post and, you know, what those guys have to say. Great stuff, very interesting kind of debate.

Justin Cooke:                     I love the debaters, they really popular on the blog too, it’s a really good strategy, I think, to bring other people in and get some buzz.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah it’s a good to see kind of a new voice and different direction, something you probably never think of yourself.

Justin Cooke:                     Anyway, some of these strategies that we’re gonna cover are things that we use ourselves to vet the sites that go onto our site ourselves when we’re selling them.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, or even ones that we wanna buy. Like when we bought Twitter, we did some of these strategies. So they’re good for, you know, any time you’re gonna be looking at a site, you should try take these into account.

Justin Cooke:                     God, you remember when we bought Twitter, we were deep diving into [inaudible 00:06:18], we weren’t sure exactly, like, you know, we really wanted to research the hell out of that. But I wonder if most new buyers are that way, where like, that’s why we get some of those questions, they want to know every single detail ’cause you’re nervous, right, you don’t know kind of what you’re getting into, you wanna make sure everything’s right, you’re not sure if it is, you know.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I mean especially people that are doing it for the first time when they cross a certain threshold, right. You know the first time you but a thousand dollar site you probably ask more questions and then you start building up, you build that five thou, you hit that $5000 site.

Justin Cooke:                     Well I wonder if that’s relative though, like, you know, if you have more cash, $5000 site becomes that person’s $200 site, you know what I mean?

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, well it’s just like buying a car. The first time you buy a $15 000 car, you ask a lot of questions, the next time you go through you just like, oh get me my payment plan and let me get out of here. And then you go to buy a $30 000 car and you start asking more questions.

Justin Cooke:                     Well let’s gt into it man. Our first point is to check out the seller.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, know the seller. I really love this one, whenever somebody wants to list something at empire flippers, this is the first thing I look at.

Justin Cooke:                     This is interesting too, because, I mean, a lot of people want to sell anonymously, and they’re legitimate and they’re selling legitimate sites, right. So you can sell legitimate sites and be anonymous. The thing is, if you’re a scammer, you’re definitely gonna be anonymous, so all those scammers or hooksters are mixed in with the legitimate people when they’re anonymous. When you actually find out the person’s legit or real, that’s a much better chance that you’re getting the real deal of getting a real site.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I, I understand some people are nervous about social media, some people are not very social. I get it, but in today’s age, if you don’t have anything about you online, you have no LinkedIn, no Facebook, no Twitter, nothing, that’s a red flag for me.

Justin Cooke:                     So, let’s talk about this a little bit, it’s kind of the anti-cat fishing approach, so , I don’t know if you saw the documentary “catfish”, where someone pretended to be someone they’re not, but you get that a lot where someone says I wanna sell and they have a, let’s say they have a Twitter account, Joe, but it has no real followers, they don’t really say much, it’s all kind of bullshit, right.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     Or Facebook page and it has a couple of pictures of someone but their friends aren’t real, like there’s no real communication going back and forth. Joe will add that person as a friend and really dig through their Facebook page to make sure that it’s a real back and forth, that they’re a legitimate person.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah. I mean I don’t [inaudible 00:08:38] deep dive on it for hours and hours and days and days, but just check them out, have them friend you on Facebook, check out their Twitter feed, look at their LinkedIn. Do they have legitimate content for these profiles, does that stuff check out, do they have pictures other than some generic person, does it really look like they have real friends and connections? This is hard to fake, this is why social signals like this are becoming more important in search. It’s hard to fake this stuff.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s talk about speaking to them a little bit, so Joe really likes to get on the phone, via Skype or whatever, but you can kind of, you can just sense, and some people are a little more nervous about doing that, especially if their English isn’t their primary language, they’re a little nervous about it. But as long as you can ease their concerns and get them on the phone, you can tell in any language, in English specifically, even if their English isn’t great, you can tell a bit about that person.

Joe Hot Money:                You know it’s amazing, you don’t have to be the most streetwise person in the world to do this but when you just talk to someone and kind of listen to them a little bit, you can really see whether they’re a genuine person or not. It’s hard to fake that when you’re talking to somebody. Yes there are liars out there [crosstalk 00:09:40]

Justin Cooke:                     The great liars and the great scammers, this isn’t gonna weed them out.

Joe Hot Money:                Yes.

Justin Cooke:                     But most people aren’t that, right, most people are like the low level scammers and this definitely helps weed them out. And that’s really what you’re looking to do. A real address and phone number, right, make sure you know where they live, no I’m kidding, maybe not that bad, but you’re not gonna [crosstalk 00:09:58]

Joe Hot Money:                Johnny to go break their legs.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, Johnny, broken nose over to the house to go um, [crosstalk 00:10:03]

Joe Hot Money:                But it’s, I think it’s good to have their physical address, have an actual landline or mobile number where you can reach them. I mean that shows that if they’re willing to give that information and share the information, that they’re not afraid about telling you where they live.

Justin Cooke:                     Here’s the one I like, it’s a good ninja tip, you know, if with their email, you can often take their email and they’ll use the same username in forums and that type of thing so you can try to find that person, you know, without them giving you the information, try to find them on different forums. Sometimes you’ll find a particular user name, you’ll find them in some forum talking about some real hacky kinda stuff and like, you know, sketchy traffic or, I saw one a while back, it was in a forum they were talking about buying PVA’s, phone verified accounts at Flipper, so basically they were banned and they had another account banned so they are, there’s this whole market for this like, phone verified accounts and so they can try to pick up another account to give them to the people. This whole circle of stuff, you can find them talking about those forums, obviously that’s a bad sign.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I love this tip Justin, I remember when you first started doing it when we were checking some people out a long time ago. It’s a great way to have background information about someone. And really people think that user names are anonymous, but they’re really not and if users [inaudible 00:11:18] in all these forums it’s a little bit of a unique user name, it’s really easy to find your trace.

Justin Cooke:                     We were just talking abut this before the podcast in an unrelated matter about when you put it online, it is online man. So, yeah, remember that the next time you’re putting crazy stuff online on Facebook or whatever. Our second point we’re talking about is traffic, so one of the key things you look at here is referrals.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah that’s the first thing I look at in Google analytics. It’s not that any other platform is not trustworthy, there are other types of analytical software out there that are good and some people don’t trust Google and they’re worried about their footprint and stuff. That brings up a whole nother set of options, but I have to say, I would really prefer [inaudible 00:11:58] using Google analytics and not some other platform that I’ve never heard of because I know that I can trust Google analytics.

Justin Cooke:                     And people know how to navigate through analytics better, right. So when you’re selling ad you want to have as many bids or buyers as possible, as a seller, you wanna make sure that you add Google analytics, probably sixty to ninety days out from the sale of the site. But anyway, that’s up to sellers. But when you’re looking at sites to vet, and we looking at referral traffic, it depends on the referral traffic, so the site has a bunch of referral traffic from pro bloggers, or something, great that’s fantastic. If most of the referral traffic are from sketchy sites, that’s not so great.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, and I mean most of the time a lot of the sketchy traffic comes from social media, but you could have legitimate social media referral traffic too, if its from a really active Twitter account that the person happens to own. I hope that’s included in the sale as well, but yeah, if you see a bunch of random Facebook accounts, random Twitter accounts that are obviously spam or auto bot kind of accounts and they’re all generating this traffic, then that’s a big red flag.

Justin Cooke:                     I love that and that kind of goes back to the first point, but yeah, if you’re looking at Twitter traffic and you check out their Twitter account and they’ve got all these auto bot followers and they’re tweeting out this crap and it’s not legitimate traffic, that’s another great sign, you follow the referred traffic to their social media and found out it was sketchy.

Joe Hot Money:                Now paid verses organic, this is the other section that I looked at. Paid traffic is not bad.

Justin Cooke:                     Actually paid traffic is fantastic. If you got paid traffic and you’ve got a profitable way to scale that, it’s awesome. Not for ads and sites, but for regular sites, say you have a product site or something and I’ve got a profitable paid traffic strategy, it’s fantastic.

Joe Hot Money:                Now, if the seller doesn’t admit that to you upfront, that’s where the real problem comes in.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah so you wanna see if they’re hiding that information, they’re telling you it’s organic when it’s not, and I think that’s a key thing to look at.

Joe Hot Money:                ‘Cause that’s a cost you really have to factor in to the profitability of the site.

Justin Cooke:                     Another thing, and you can look at key word reports, so like, what key words you being searched for and they’re being found, are they related or are they totally unrelated because some wacky blog post they wrote.

Joe Hot Money:                Right, you’ll see this happen to some sites, they’ll get a big spike in traffic because they wrote a wacky blog post that got ranked for some word and it’s temporary traffic and it’s not really coming from good key word sources so, therefore the CPCs and the revenue won’t be in line.

Justin Cooke:                     Here’s some interesting stuff too, you wanna look at an analyst, you wanna look at on a high level, the countries that the traffic’s coming from, like is it coming from a country that it should be coming from for the advertisers, so like, if it’s selling something that should be available in the US, and seventy percent of the traffic is coming from Pakistan, that’s probably not a good sign.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, we don’t wanna beat up on too many countries [crosstalk 00:14:37]

Justin Cooke:                     Pakistan another time whenever, I don’t know what, its not Pakistan, whatever, Philippines, whatever country.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah. It could be Nigeria, it could be any of those countries. But seriously, it doesn’t really matter what country it comes from, it just has to be in line with what the content is about.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Joe Hot Money:                And if that’s, you know, if you are selling to the Indian market and most of the traffic is coming from the United States [crosstalk 00:15:00]

Justin Cooke:                     That’s sketchy too. Exactly, exactly. So, but even more than countries you can actually dive down into browsers. So if it’s coming from an odd browser, like seventy percent of the traffic’s coming from an odd browser, there’s something sketchy there. If they’re all coming from a weird window sizing, or like old kind of like, bot kind of traffic window sizing, you know that would be bad. If they’re coming from US, seventy percent of the traffic’s coming from the US, and ninety percent of that traffic is coming from 3 states, and in those 3 states it’s coming from 3 major cities and that’s it, that’s not good either.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah this is the reason why Google analytics is the most awesome analytics program out there, is ’cause it can really help you break down this stuff, and I’m not sure there’s any other system out there that can help you measure this kind of thing.

Justin Cooke:                     There are but they’re aid and they’re relatively expensive. Google analytics is great for this. If you deep dive into it and you’re seeing that it’s all coming from very specific geo locations or very specific browsers or very specific sizes or whatever, window sizes, then that’s probably not good.

Joe Hot Money:                So take the time to know your traffic.

Justin Cooke:                     Our third point is monetization so if you’re verifying monetization, screen shots, right, they’re probably not the best way to do it, it’s helpful but screen shots can be fake. A while back I saw someone using our screen shots from our [inaudible 00:16:17] earnings from our previous income reports as proof that whatever ebook they’re selling works. I forget what it was, but yeah, they were using our screenshots. I messaged them and told them to take it down but it’s pretty easy to grab someone else’s screen shots and claim it was your own. [crosstalk 00:16:30]

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah. And it is. And it’s easy to put stuff in Photoshop, I mean if you are gonna accept screen shots, just make sure, especially in ad sense that there’s a date stamp. Ad sense puts in an automatic date stamp right in the bottom. That’s a little bit harder to Photoshop than I would say anything else.

Justin Cooke:                     Better than photos, obviously, video, so they can take a video of their ad sense account, again, that can be faked too, but it’s better, it’s the next step up.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah it’s gonna be tough to get [inaudible 00:16:57] together and you’re faking all this video, guys would really have to know what they’re doing. [crosstalk 00:17:03]

Justin Cooke:                     Again, you’re moving up the value chain so the good scammers can fake it on video but you’re knocking out all the weak scammers basically. At the highest end of the value chain is live. Like if they actually give you access so you can go in and verify.

Joe Hot Money:                And there’s so many ways to share your screen nowadays, I mean Skype does it for free, you could do a Google hangout, all these kind of things to screen sharing for free. So get the guy on the phone, have him walk you through the ad sense or the revenue, wherever it’s coming from, [inaudible 00:17:32] where ever it is live. ‘Cause that’s almost impossible to fake.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s so funny ’cause we have so many people who are looking to sell their sites with us, that they’ll actually give us access and allow us to log in and dig through their stuff. Like, if I was looking to sell my site to someone, I would never give them that kind of access but they trust us, we’re not gonna screw them over with their site, it’s not in our best interest, but it’s cool ’cause we can actually deep dive into their [crosstalk 00:17:57]

Joe Hot Money:                I would guess that would even be better than live, would be the ability to log in yourself, which we definitely have done that for several vetted sites and it’s a great way to verify [inaudible 00:18:06].

Justin Cooke:                     Another point on monetization, I think, is a reasonable revenue amount per user, so Filter had a great article I still reference this, and it’s old posts but, a great article on revenue per user based on the type of site. So, for example, let’s say that you have an ad sense site about ski boots and [crosstalk 00:18:28]

Joe Hot Money:                We love ski boots.

Justin Cooke:                     Love ski boots. We use that’s our example. Let’s say you have an ad sense site about ski boots and the person’s claiming, let’s say a buck twenty, a dollar twenty per user, as far as earnings, that’s ridiculously high.

Joe Hot Money:                Per visitor. Per visitor.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, per visitor. That’s ridiculously high. It should be max twelve cents, fifteen cents or something max. So, it’d be outrageously high, now if it’s the financial services niche or something I’d see it being higher, so it has to be related to the niche.

Joe Hot Money:                We’re not talking about CPCs here guys. We’re talking about actually how valuable each visitor to the site would be.

Justin Cooke:                     So if you have a ski boot site and it’s an ad sense site and it’s getting a thousand visits a month and the person’s claiming eight hundred bucks, you know say eleven hundred bucks a month in revenue, that’s ridiculous. That does not happening.

Joe Hot Money:                Exactly.

Justin Cooke:                     So, you know, it depends on the niche. But, the other point we wanna talk about is, and you’ll love this one Joe.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I love this one, consistently inconsistent. You know, one of the problems with lower end sites is that they tend to have less valuable days in the last month that they’re earning, so a site that makes fifty, sixty bucks could have one day where it made $50, that’s not a good sign. You want site to be consistently inconsistent. You wanna see many days in the month having earnings [crosstalk 00:19:50]

Justin Cooke:                     It can be up or down or whatever, but it’s not like they decided to sell the site and all of a sudden the site has these magical earnings, right, like that’s not cool.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, so when you chart that on a graph, it looks like many different little spikes in the earnings, but that’s a good sign. So if you look at the last thirty days, the last sixty days and you see a lot of little spikes, that’s a great sign that the earnings is not fake ’cause it’s coming in on an inconsistent but consistent base.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s good for smaller sites that when you get in a bigger site and you have a more well rounded strategy, you wanna see some inconsistencies, if it’s too clean of a pattern, like there has to be a pattern, it is going to be a pattern based on the weekly rolls, and how much it makes. But there should be little things that are off, right, if it’s not, basically if it looks too perfect, it probably is.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah like with our ad sense account overall, we see a huge spike on Mondays and then it goes all the way down until Sunday and then spikes back up on Monday again, right. And if you look at our account on a weekly basis, it’s a very predictable pattern.

Justin Cooke:                     But it’s not perfect.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah it’s not perfect and that’s over literally thousands of sites and years of data.

Justin Cooke:                     So let’s get to our fourth point which is the link profiles.

Joe Hot Money:                This is a great one Justin. So, if you don’t have SCO Moz and you’re tryna buy sites, you need to get SCO Moz.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, for sure.

Joe Hot Money:                Because this way you can take a look at link profiles, I mean, are they [inaudible 00:21:10], you know, where are they coming from? Are they coming from just a bunch of form sites and form profiles, of users that never posted anything? Is the [crosstalk 00:21:21]

Justin Cooke:                     You’re tax over and over and over again where they head up with something really spammy link built [crosstalk 00:21:26]

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, we know Panda and Penguin have done these sites in because of this anchor tax spam.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, so I mean, another good thing to look at is, are there higher SCO Moz score profile links that are own, on a platform that’s owned by the seller.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah. It’s not necessarily a problem, right.[crosstalk 00:21:44]

Justin Cooke:                     No, no, no, it’s not.[crosstalk 00:21:45]

Joe Hot Money:                As long as that is gonna be transferred to you or the links are not gonna be taken away. [crosstalk 00:21:48]

Justin Cooke:                     The links are gonna stay. That’s key. So they may just yank the links after and [inaudible 00:21:52] at the next site that they’re selling. So, you gonna want to look at that and make sure that’s discussed in the sale. The other thing you’ll see is like web 2.0 links that are coming from [inaudible 00:22:03] but you’ll see it from other web 2.0s and you wanna know if those platforms are gonna be transferred to you, so will you have control over them after the fact, and can you use them at your will.

                                                Our fifth point we wanna talk about is content. One of the first things you’re gonna do here, pretty clear, is check and copy scape, are other copies out there, right, of the exact same content. Now I would say it’s always a bad thing if there are other copies out there, it’s not particularly good, but if your content was first, and someone copied it, that’s not so horrible.

Joe Hot Money:                Right, and how would you determine if it’s first?

Justin Cooke:                     Well, I mean, you could look at the date it was posted, it was published, but that’s not necessarily great ’cause you can fudge those as well, right. So what you can do is take a snippet of the content and then do a Google search and see if the site you’re looking to buy is coming up higher than the other sites.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah and you can also check the Google cache, right, if you see that cache link sometimes next to Google results, it’ll tell you the last time it was in the Google cache, the first time it was in there, and you should be able to predict whether your content was first or not, or whether your seller’s content was first or not.

Justin Cooke:                     Another good thing to do is, is the content readable. Like is it, you know, is it readable or was it created by some spun machine, right, is it just absolutely horrible. And that’s always helpful, I mean if you’re buying a site, you probably want to pick up a site that has readable content that you can work with. Another one is, is the site indexed in Google. Is the content index or de index.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah because if you do site colon the site name and nothing comes up, that’s a really bad sign. For some reason, Google penalized [crosstalk 00:23:30]

Justin Cooke:                     They de indexed it, or never indexed it [crosstalk 00:23:31]

Joe Hot Money:                Never indexed it in the first place. [crosstalk 00:23:34]

Justin Cooke:                     May have been a penalized from previously or whatever but that’s like having, that’s struggling, that’s like struggling. Another thing you want to check, and this is kind of an odd one but I think we’re checking, does the site have working navigation? So if you click on some of the links to some other pages, are they working? Does it look like a totally abandoned site? Sometimes abandoned sites can be great, you might be able to pick one up at a steal, but it’s good to know that when you’re buying the site.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah, I mean especially, I would, if it’s a smaller site, go through every page and see if it has problems, ’cause if it has problems, then that’s just something you gonna have to inherit and you gonna have to fix.

Justin Cooke:                     Our sixth and final point, and, you know, I think there’s less to say about this one, but it’s kind of important. The domain. Do they own the domain themselves?

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah in today’s era of privacy, you know, maybe a [inaudible 00:24:18] search is not gonna bring it up, it’s just gonna bring up domains by proxy or something like that. That’s fine. Have him show you his domains by proxy account and make sure that the domain is in there. The worst thing to be, do is give this guy a whole bunch of money and then come to find out that he doesn’t really own the domain. He gives you the site and the zip file and then says, oh by the way my uncle owns the domain and he’ll have to transfer it to you.

Justin Cooke:                     I have this little social media site called Facebook I’d like to sell you. Yeah man, not good. But like, you know Flip is great at this actually, ’cause they, you can upload a snip of the code and it will reach out to the site and verify that it was uploaded. They’re great and they can verify the site, they do that for anyone who’s selling the site. Before you can even list, you have to verify that code on the Flip list so they really good about that.

                                                Well that’s it for this episode, let’s get right into our tips, tricks and our plans for the future.

Speaker 1:                           The Empires Flipper podcast.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay so our first tip for you is actually zen desk. We been using it a lot for customer service, both for Empire Flippers and Foreign Teletheme and it is fantastic. Our team is running with it.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah I mean I think we might have mentioned it on the show before but I’ve really enjoyed my experience with zen desk. It’s made managing the tickets and taking care of customers very, very easy. If I had a handle it all in email, it would just be unruly and no matter how many folders and labels and filters I set up, it would still be out of wack.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny ’cause we come from a more corporate background, right, we’re used to dealing with like, more robust CRMs. And those are great for certain things, especially like automation systems and stuff, but this is just clean. Its just easy and clean. The thing is it’s, what is it, it’s twenty bucks a year for the basic plan.

Joe Hot Money:                And you get up to 3 accounts for the twenty bucks a year.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, so we’re using 2 separate zen desk account. The thing is, if you bump up it’s like $24 a user or something.

Joe Hot Money:                Per month.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, per month. Right, so crazy. So, I mean, its such a big dispersity there, I’d love to have the companies combined, but the way it is now, we’ll just stick with the 3 users for now on each system. We’re cheap man, I don’t know.

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah I mean you get premium domains and you get some other advantages but, honestly, yeah, I don’t really see the advantage over the $20 a year program.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, so if you’re looking for something that can handle some techets, pay the twenty buck a year, check it out, it’s definitely worth trialing. The other thing we want to talk about a little bit is Osana

Joe Hot Money:                Yeah so, I was working with my developer for teletheme and he recommended Osana so we could track [inaudible 00:26:47], especially in development space. It makes it a lot easier, you can give due dates, you can do descriptions, you can have conversations back and forth on the [inaudible 00:26:54]. And for Empire Flippers, we were actually tracking it via Google doc, it was just getting really messy man. And it was hard to see what had been responded to, what had not been responded to, reading the comments section, the comments would disappear sometimes. Check out Osana if you’re doing any development work and you need kind of a simple to do list with dates set up and comments, it’s perfect for that.

Justin Cooke:                     So I looked to Osana a while back for my personal to do list and I ended up going with do.com and I’ll tell you that’s long been pushed to the way side, I’ll get the emails once in a while and I’m like Oh my God another one of those tickets. It’s way over so maybe I should look at Osana again. If any of you guys have any recommendations for non intrusive to do lists that are very clean, very easy, definitely let us know in the comments. I’m looking for something like that. It’d be very helpful.

                                                Alright that’s it for episode forty three of the Empires Flippers podcast. Thanks for being with us. Make sure to check us out on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe Hot Money:                Bye bye, everybody.

Speaker 1:                           You’ve been listening to Empire Flippers podcast with Justin and Joe. Be sure to hit up EmpireFlippers.com for more. That’s EmpireFlippers.com. Thanks for listening.

 

Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. Trevor says:

    Check out Wunderlist for simple To Dos guys

    Love the show, be in touch

  2. greatstefanicmm says:

    Recently I was really, really low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this.. With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – 3f9o

  3. Iain says:

    Fantastic tips guys.

    I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying Zen Desk. I can’t say that I have tried it personally because I have no need, but I will keep it in mind.

    I finally got around to rating your podcast in iTunes sorry it took so long. So many things want our attention eh.

    Wicked job gents.

  4. Great podcast guys. I loved your angle on checking out the seller. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest drawbacks of buying websites vs. real estate. There are no property records, etc.

    Buying online properties is still kind of like the wild, wild, west. High risk, high reward. So good job covering the essentials to due diligence.

    Thanks,

    Mark Santiago, MBA
    http://VREProperties.com
    http://FlippinCrusher.com

  5. Joe says:

    Really good tips. I’ve always kind of shunned away from buying sites online because I’m so afraid of fake traffic, or traffic that suddenly plummets right after I get it.

    BTW, when did you guys change names? Jeez I missed something, I need to go back through the archive.

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