EFP 125: Cashing In On Future Earnings With OAREX

Justin Cooke

February 5, 2015

What if you wanted to raise money to improve your site without having to sell the site or give up equity?

Getting the Money that You’ll Earn Later, Now

In this episode, we talk to Hanna from Oarex.com to discuss a new offer they have that allows site owners to leverage future earnings to take money out of their website today. This can then be used for marketing, development, or even financing used to complete a deal.

If you own a profitable website, but are strapped for cash on an upcoming project, this is a great episode for you.

Check Out This Week’s Episode Here:

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Topics Discussed This Week:

  • Overview of business
  • Your background
  • Program details for website owners
  • Program details for website buyers/sellers
  • Risks/Downsides

Mentions:


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“This is a great opportunity to take future earnings and use it for marketing” – Justin – Tweet This!

“Traditional banks just don’t know the media space” – Hanna – Tweet This!

So – what do you think about funding expansion with future revenue? Would you ever use this type of funding to purchase a website? We’d love to hear your comments!

 

Justin Cooke:                     Welcome to the Empire podcast episode 125.

                                                Today’s episode is about a way for you to leverage the future earnings of your website for cash today. You can then use the additional cash injection for marketing, site improvements, or even non site related activities. It’s a pretty unique offer that is just starting to get some traction. We want to share the details with you.

                                                You can find this show and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/oarex That’s O.A.R.E.X.

                                                All right let’s do this.

Speaker 2:                           Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs. Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire?

                                                You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok. Join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubical. Check out the Empire podcast.

                                                And now your hosts Justin and Joe.

Justin Cooke:                     All right Joe, What I found fascinating about this interview is that it provides a way to raise money to improve your site without having to sell it or give up equity. That’s a concern when people own a business or website, it’s either they have to sell it and lose their baby, or they have to give up equity, and basically give up a piece of that company to raise the money to grow it bigger. I think this offers an alternative or solution for them to do that.

Joe:                                        Yeah. When I first heard about this company and what they could do it really reminded me of the beginning of AdSense Flippers. When we were talking about, didn’t want to come out of pocket, we had to sell all those sites. I mean, can you imagine if we had had a way to leverage those sites against borrowing money. It would have been an interesting … I’m not sure it would have done it but it would have been an interesting way to have raised money to build more sites.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, here’s the cool thing about the whole thing. I mean, you can take out this future earnings and use it for marketing. So say you have a paid traffic strategy that’s absolutely working. You want to double down on it and you don’t have the cash. You could now use future earnings to do that.

                                                You can use it for development. Let’s say there are some apps or some features that you need to add based on your users requesting it. Obviously site redesign if it’s getting old. You need to clean it up a little bit, and then you know you can use it obviously for financing.

                                                So, if someone’s looking to buy the site and they just don’t have quite enough cash this can be an option for them to leverage future earnings. So they are going to take a little bit of a hit for the next three months, six months, or whatever. But the seller can get a little more cash out of the deal and get to full price.

                                                I think it’s really interesting. This isn’t something that’s brand new. I mean this is kind of an older approach. We’ve seen where you’re able to borrow against receivables. What’s that called Joe?

Joe:                                        The merchant cash advances, but the difference with this thing is it actually is in the advertising space. So, I think that’s where OAREX is kind of unique in their way of approaching it. Whereas, [inaudible 00:02:45] cash merchant advances out there are very old school, and they want you to have a credit card terminal. They want to tie into your merchant account and all that kind of stuff. You know, OAREX understands that you guys are using AdSense, Amazon affiliated programs, that kind of stuff.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. I think just the fact that this company is out there doing this. I actually … When I talked to Hanna before the interview, I’m not sure if I actually mentioned on the interview, but I told him that I thought this was pretty early. So you might be a little early with this idea, but I see the industry heading in a direction to where this is a viable option for him, for their investors, and for the people that are borrowing against future earnings. I see this being an interesting section of the market.

                                                All right man, time to pay the bills with your featured listing of the week. What you got for us buddy?

Joe:                                        We are talking about listing number 40153. It’s an affiliate and products site in the apparel and accessories niche. Specifically, Teespring and you know how much I love this Teespring thing that’s going around, Justin, so.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh my god Joe, Teespring buddy. What are we doing here? Tell me about it.

Joe:                                        Yeah. This is a site that actually sells a How To book on Teespring campaigns via JVZoo. So, it’s a pretty interesting spin on the whole Teespring idea, and if you have any Teespring experience, I think definitely you could bring that to the table. Maybe update some of the information, that kind of thing.

                                                Right now, you know, it’s making about 760 dollars a month net profit. It gets about seven thousand page views a month. So, you know, fairly good traffic, and good stable net income. I like the idea that it has its own informational product. There’s definitely different way to monetize it. We’ve got it listed for just a smidge over 15 thousand dollars, and like I said, I do think that it has a lot of potential. Especially if you do have some Teespring experience.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s gained some traffic. It’s getting about seven thousand page views a month so it definitely has some potential customers there. I think if you’ve already got something Teespring related or something around that space I think this might be a good strategic pickup. If you don’t know anything about Teespring I think … potentially purchase a site but you’re going to need to get up to date so that you can update it.

                                                I think if you really want to be kind of a leader in that space and really get the word out, this would be kind of a great way to do that. You’re skipping the starting from scratch, and going straight to 760 bucks a month in net profit. So, it’s a pretty sweet deal. Also, I don’t think you mentioned this, but it also has an AWeber email subscriber base of about just over 700, and it’s got a small YouTube following as well.

Joe:                                        Yeah, I think those are great add-ons and something that you definitely keep in mind. Like you said, it helps you jump over the start up costs, and the start up scenario of having a list of nobody. At least you have somebody to market queued right away.

Justin Cooke:                     All right Joe, let’s dig into the heart of this week’s episode.

Speaker 2:                           Now for the heart of this week’s episode.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, up today on our program, I’m really excited to introduce Hanna Kassis who runs oarex.com. Basically this company allows people to, they finance publishers by purchasing some of their future ad revenue. We are going to get into what that means and how that will work for you, but first let me say, Hanna, welcome to the program man. Thanks for being on.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, Thanks for having me, really appreciate it.

Justin Cooke:                     All right man, so first off let’s do kind of an overview of your business because I kind of butchered describing what you do. Man, you got to explain it a little bit better to our listeners.

Hanna Kassis:                     Sure, yeah. So, we help website publishers with advertising revenue models grow their business by advancing them their future ad revenues. So they can take that money and invest in digital marketing, and advertising, or purchase traffic, or do a website redesign. So, they pay us back with a percentage of their future ad revenues as they come due. So, it’s literally just advancing them their future ad revenues today.

Justin Cooke:                     So I’m a website owner, my main site is currently monetized via AdSense, and you’re giving me cash upfront and then taking a percentage of my earnings over time, and I can use that, the future’s money or whatever that you’ve giving me, for whatever it is that I need to use it for. 

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. Yeah, and you could use it for whatever you want. The way we market it is that you could take that money and grow your business. So, that’s exactly what we do. So it’s based on past earnings. So, you need to have a track record of at least, we like to see 6 months, but 3 months will suffice. We can usually tell if a website’s going to make some money into the future after we do our due diligence analysis. So, we require some historic learnings, and then will base the amount of financing you get off of those historical AdSense or advertising earnings. 

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. I’m actually really interested in hearing a little bit about your due diligence process. We are going to get into that in a little bit, but tell me, How long have you been in business?

Hanna Kassis:                     So, this is my third year. We’re two and a half years into it, and we launched about a year and a half ago. August of 2013 we launched.

Justin Cooke:                     You’ve been going for about a year and a half. Tell me do you have customers? What kind of track record do you have?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. We have clients in five different countries. However, we are starting to automate the process. So, we’re focusing our efforts on just the U.S. I’d say about a fourth of them have signed up two or more times. And average field size is probably right around 5 thousand dollars.

Justin Cooke:                     Awesome. So, I mean, this is a relatively new business. You’re starting to expand. It’s start up-ish in the fact that you’re still getting off the ground. You’ve got some customers though. You’ve got a bit of traction, and you’re looking to basically spread the word, and talk about what you do. I think it’s really interesting, you know, we were talking about this before the show. How we found you is, you reached out to Joe, and we get lots of people that … [inaudible 00:08:05] emails or have questions or whatever, and then he took a look at what you do. He was like, “Wow, this is really interesting. I don’t know anyone else kind of offering this service.”

                                                So, I thought it would be great to have you on the show, and kind of explain. Our audience generally they have websites, sometimes large, sometimes small, but this would be interesting and I think potentially valuable for someone of our website owners.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. Exactly, and I really appreciate Joe taking the initiative. I was on your newsletter for a while, and I love reading what you have to say. So, I just Linkedin with Joe, and then he messaged me, and here we are today.

Justin Cooke:                     Sweet man. Let’s talk a little bit about you before we move on. What’s your background? What’s your entrepreneurial journey look like? What were you doing leading up to the three years you’ve been working on this project?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah sure. So I came up with this idea after my first semester at law school. So it just goes to show you … no offense to any attorneys out there, but how bored I got, and I’ve always thought outside of the box. I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I knew I didn’t want to go work for a big law firm. So, I came up with it after my first semester at law school, and I launched it two semesters later. It’s my second entrepreneurial journey.

                                                My first one was actually, I was an online publisher. I had a website called collegefinance101.com, and we owned the domains for collegefashion101, collegefitness101, and collegepolitics101. We just wanted to create a publishing empire online. Our revenue model was to sell ad space and we did. We were pretty successful with collegefinance101.

                                                Then we got an offer. This goes to show you how inefficient the market was in 2008. We got an offer directly from … I think it was like one of the big banks. One of their marketing agencies working for a big bank. They liked collegefinance101, which was a personal financial literacy website for college students. It was, the whole idea behind all the websites was to make the life of college students a little better, for free, with informative stuff about how they can get by in college … health, fitness, fashion, finance, and we outsourced collegefinance101 the web redesign to India, and they just completely screwed it up.

                                                And my partner at the time was in law school. I was working full time, and we didn’t have the opportunity to pick it back up again. It just dawned on me actually a couple months ago. I was like wait, my first entrepreneurial endeavor was an online publisher, and now that’s who I’m helping out. So, I thought that was pretty cool.

Justin Cooke:                     That is pretty cool. So you had this website that was information for college students on finance, and you had an offer on the table. Or you had someone that was interested in potentially acquiring the business. Then you did a redesign and it went to crap. How did it go to crap? Did you just lose traffic? Was the site down for too long of a period of time? What was the … When did you realize you were in trouble?

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, so the marketing agency that contacted us on behalf of the big bank wanted a different size ad than the one that we were offering on our website. Plus we were thinking about redesigning the website, so we hired programmers in India. What happened was not only did they mess up the layout that we had designed, but the most important thing was that every article had a unique URL. There was so many pages that were interlinked on the website.

                                                When they redesigned it, they didn’t maintain those same URLs. Every single article got a new URL which basically wiped us out on google. Google just couldn’t find us anymore.

Justin Cooke:                     You lost a ton of traffic because of that.

Hanna Kassis:                     Oh, we lost all our traffic. Then we were like, all right do we take it back, and by that time we had lost the contract with Citibank, or Citigroup, whatever bank it was. 

Justin Cooke:                     Was it Citibank or was it … because I know around that time there was a company called QuinStreet that was going around trying to buy up these sites. I wonder if the Citigroup was trying to compete with that and buy them up as well. Was it QuinStreet or Citibank? Do you remember?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, I can’t recall. I don’t think they were going to buy it. They just wanted to pay us a lot of money for our banner space.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, just pay for the hats, yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     So, we kind of packed it all up. We made a little bit of money off of it, not a lot. I always said to myself, when I have my next entrepreneurial endeavor, I know I did it once, I can do it again. Here we are.

Justin Cooke:                     So, the reason you came up with OAREX. So, this one had failed right, but you’re still in school. Then you came up with the idea for OAREX, and then how did you go about launching that? How did you get about going from, “Oh this is a cool idea,” to “Hey, I should set up the website, I should start attracting customers”?

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, it’s interesting. It started out … I was reading about Khloe Kardashian’s Twitter account, and how it’s worth like 20 million dollars. The first thing that went through my mind was, she’s never going to collect that in a million years. I had this idea where she can come to the website and sell shares of her Twitter account. Her fans or whoever can buy these and trade ’em, and sell ’em, and speculate on the price of the future value of her Twitter account.

                                                Then I realized there was no utility to that. It was cool, and fun. So, I’m out selling the idea and then someone says to me, “So, you could do this with websites too.” Not even knowing that I could do it with a website. I just kind of played along. “Oh, yeah, yeah, we could do it with websites.” I was so focused on the big 30 thousand foot view of it that I didn’t realize I could do this with websites owners. I saw that as a good point of departure because they’re actually businesses. There’s some utility to providing them with cash now in exchange for future value.

                                                With a Twitter account, it’s like all right, you don’t even know if the market’s there. So, I kind of was spinning my wheels for a while with the whole social media thing. Then realized that the opportunity here is in websites.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, If I’m buying stock in some celebrity’s Twitter account I can never actually cash that in. I see where you’re going with that. Like you’re thinking oh, secondary markets, we can trade a piece of that. It may go up or down depending on their … how much of a celebrity, whether they fade into the sunset, or they actually get bigger and bigger. Right?

                                                I mean you can actually sell them. I think it’s kind of interesting idea, but it will never actually make money. I think it’d be more of a for fun thing, where now you’re dealing with actual cash. Right, websites that are earning money. So, I think there’s probably going to be more money in that space. What’s the problem you’re solving here exactly? Was this a problem you had as a publisher? How did you see this as a problem that needed to be solved?

Hanna Kassis:                     I saw this opportunity of providing future value today to these digital properties, like social media websites. Then I realized, okay websites are business owners, and then I realized there was a problem. I realized that traditional banks don’t know the media space, and even if they are willing to lend to a website owner, it’s going to be a very high interest rate. I’m pretty sure your audience knows the risks that come with taking out a loan.

                                                Then investors either want to gobble up an entire website and take control, or, websites are too small for them to invest in. Unless it’s like a conglomerate with a bunch of properties. So, the main problem is that capital is hard to come by, and when you do come by it as a website owner, it’s pretty expensive. That all of a sudden became my pain, and then our solution was, well we’ll just front you your future ad revenues. In exchange really for a fee. A one time fee. There’s no minimum monthly payment because we only get paid if the advertisers pay.

                                                So, I’m like a bank loan. The pain is you’ve got to make your monthly payment every month.

Justin Cooke:                     The other thing, this isn’t going to count against your personal credit. There’s not going to be anyone going after you if for whatever reason there’s any problems. You’re basically tying your success to the success of the site. So, I’d imagine the due diligence process is pretty important here. We’re going to get into that in just a minute.

Hanna Kassis:                     That’s exactly correct.

Justin Cooke:                     All right man, so let’s talk a little bit about who qualifies for this, and who doesn’t. Now it’s not based on credit scores. It’s not based on … It is based on ad earnings history. So walk me through that a little bit.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right so, mainly who qualifies is website owners with two hundred thousand to five million page views a month. That have three plus months of advertising revenues, or affiliate revenues from an automated exchange. What that means is we won’t finance a website. We won’t purchase the future ad revenues of a website if they’re doing backroom deals.

                                                Basically getting on the phone and selling their ad space because there’s too much of a third party risk there. So, its gotta come from something like Google, like AdSupply, Webspectator. One of these automated monetization services where we can actually go in there and look at their historical earnings.

Justin Cooke:                     So this wouldn’t work with affiliates through Amazon. It’s only through the ad networks.

Hanna Kassis:                     No. Actually we just financed our first affiliate deal. We financed a guy who makes pretty decent amount of money off of Amazon affiliate. So, Amazon affiliate, that’s a platform where we can go in there and we can see what their historical earnings were. 

Justin Cooke:                     Great. Okay, so, yeah. I mean, because we do have a lot of-

Hanna Kassis:                     cj.com.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. [inaudible 00:16:16]. We do have a lot of listeners that have Amazon sites that have AdSense sites. I think that make sense.

                                                Let me ask you, is the two hundred thousand page views a minimum requirement? Or can you go lower than that depending on their earnings.

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, we can go lower than that depending on their niche. For example, fashion websites, their CPMs are so high that they can be getting a hundred thousand page views a month and making what your run of the mill CPM website getting a million page views a month would get. So, it all depends. What we found is that websites smaller than two hundred thousand page views a month, it’s just not worth it for us right now because we haven’t yet automated it. We’re in the process of automating this model where you can come to our website, punch in your URL, and instant quote wire your future ad revenues.

                                                So until we get there, it’s not worth it for us to do these deals with the smaller guys.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. You said, I think it was, six months of earnings at a minimum? Is that right?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so we like six months. Of course the more they been earning the less risk there is, but a lot of these guys have successful websites that they just never put ads on it. If we have the analytics data to back up the website, then we’ll look at a website with three months or less. I just had a guy in October who … I actually just checked his earnings this morning, it was his third week actually having monetized his website.

                                                Very cool website. It’s like a portal for information for investors. He wanted a big chunk of money upfront. I told him, “hey, you’re performing real well the last three weeks but I need to see a little more before we’re willing to finance you.” So, I just signed in, saw his three months earnings. He’s on track. He’s making good money. So, he’ll qualify. I actually emailed him to tell him that.

Justin Cooke:                     Wow, that three months is pretty quick. Talk to me about dollar amounts. I mean, is there any kind of minimums in terms of earnings? Do they need to be making a certain amount of money? Will you finance only a certain amount of money? What are we talking about there?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so I think somewhere on our website oarex.com, O.A.R.E.X. dot com. It’s three hundred or more a month.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, so when you’re saying three hundred or more, is there an upper limit on that? What’s your max?

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, there has been someone that we had to turn away because they were too big. They make like 48 thousand a month, so … and plus I found that most of the demand for this is in the small to mid-sized guys. So, other than that guy that we turned away, I feel like if we keep targeting those website owners in the two hundred thousand to five million page views, I’d say the max would be probably 15 to 20 thousand a month at this point.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, I see where you are coming from here too because you guys are new, you’re starting off, If you gave a whole bunch of money up front you’re not very diversified at that point. Half your client base is one guy that’s a little risky. My guess is that as you grow, those limits will increase, right?

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, that’s exactly correct. It’s really, I don’t know to what extent your audience is familiar with portfolio risk management with stocks, and bonds, and equities and stuff, but if I had a million dollars right now, I would be comfortable doing a hundred thousand dollar deal.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, but if I’m putting up half a million with a million dollars then it’s like, there is no way I’m going to do that.

Justin Cooke:                     [crosstalk 00:19:18] percent of your budget, that’s a little aggressive. Yeah, I hear you.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so in a portfolio blend of stocks you’re never going to put more than ten percent of what you have, working capital, into any one stock. So, same risk management principles here. No different.

Justin Cooke:                     So, I have a ten thousand dollar a month site, let’s say. It’s been earning for about a year. I’ve got the page views you’re looking for. It’s a nice clean looking site, what kind of money am I looking at? What can I get from you? If I needed fifty thousand, could I get that? If I needed a hundred thousand could I get that?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so the max that we have done so far, has been up to your six month amount of earnings. However, I’m starting to base it on what the client actually needs because oftentimes they need something that is more than what their six month amount would justify but that amount of money would get them to the next level. So, it’s a little riskier, but I think it better tailors to the business owner.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. Okay, and also whatever limits we say on this podcast here today, my guess is that as you continue to grow, those are going to go up anyway. So, it might not make sense to talk about that because you may take on a bigger client in six months when you’ve grown as well. I think for anyone that’s interested in this, and wants to check it out they should just ask you where you guys are at at that point.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. Like I said, our average deal size though has been right around, slightly over five thousand dollars.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. Run me through a couple of scenarios. What are people doing with this cash? I want to go to Hawaii, can I take cash out and you’ll send me? What is this for, and what do you allow?

Hanna Kassis:                     That’s a good question, whatever you want. It’s your money, right. I tell potential clients that I’m upfront and honest with them. I say to them, “Look, if you take this money, and do whatever you want, it’s going to be a very high cost of capital, but if you take this money and actually do things that drive ad revenue, for example, purchasing traffic, purchasing a digital marketing, and advertising campaign, doing a website redesign that increases your CPMs, whatever it is that drives ad revenue, that cost of capital goes down.”

                                                So, let me give you a good example. One guy, he has a conglomerate of sites. He has four sites under the same theme, and he was slacking on his social media. He just didn’t really have a good social media presence. So, we fronted him his revenues. We gave him a hundred percent of what he had earned over the past six months. He put every penny into optimizing his social media presence. Now about 22 percent of his traffic comes from social media, and his earnings nearly doubled.

Justin Cooke:                     So, you cash in on that in the short term, but ultimately after that, and he is getting all the value and all the gains out of it.

Hanna Kassis:                     That’s exactly correct. That’s why we market this as grow your website because I’ll tell you right now, what he paid on that money was over 50 percent.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it improved, and he is paying you more money. Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     It was actually 68 percent, but if you annualized that, that’s like 300 percent. I can’t do the math right now, but that’s a lot of money. It’s a big cost of capital, but in the same regard, he also doubled his earnings. So, he doesn’t care about paying that one … I call it a one time fee because that’s all it is.

Justin Cooke:                     He wouldn’t have done that if he wouldn’t have gotten the cash from you. Then he would have never have known, and if the site, what if it would have gotten worse? If it had gotten worse, well then you’re on the hook for it getting worse too. That does happen. So, let’s say for example, I’m looking to take it out from the bank, well, I could take it from the bank, but I’m going to owe a set percentage.

                                                If I take it out from you, if it goes up, I’m paying you a ton. I’m paying you a grip of cash, if it goes down, you’re taking a hit on that as well.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right.

Justin Cooke:                     I’ve seen this with eCommerce websites, where it’s kind of old and funky, and they’re like look, I need a redesign. I want to make it look fresh and cool, and they give it a nice fresh redesign, and it actually converts worse, right?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     So, that’s a risk they’re taking.

Hanna Kassis:                     Exactly, so to your point, we had a client that got whacked with a Google algorithm update, and now, what we thought was going to be a nine month pay period, now all of a sudden is a two month, or two year pay period. So, that interest rate, or that fee, whatever you want to call it, instead of it being in nine months is now spread out over two years. So it’s like if you want to annualize that it’s not a high interest rate at all.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. So-

Hanna Kassis:                     I hate calling it interest rate because it’s really not an interest rate.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, because it’s not an actual loan.

Hanna Kassis:                     It’s not an actual loan, right. We have a guy who came to us who wanted funding. He said, “I’m going to use it for a site redesign.” And I said, “Redesign your site and then we will talk about financing because, like you said, the risk. That’s the one risk that we won’t take. I gotta see how a new site is performing before we actually finance it.

Justin Cooke:                     Well, let’s see this. Let’s say I’m making 10 thousand dollars a month, blah, blah, blah. I’ve been doing it two years. I want to borrow 50 thousand dollars, and it’s for a good reason. I don’t know, I want to improve my social media presence. I want to add this, add that, and you agree to do it. Now what am I paying? You’re taking 50 percent of my revenue for what period of time?

Hanna Kassis:                     So, we take 50 to 100 percent of your revenue until we make our money back plus a fixed amount above that, and that’s what we and the client agree to.

Justin Cooke:                     So, in this particular instance, so, it’s not a set amount. So, if I borrow 50 thousand, you’re going to take somewhere between 50 and 100 percent of my earnings.

Hanna Kassis:                     Until, we get to like 62 to 68 thousand. Something like that.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay. And that varies depending on the client, or do you have a set percentage at different scales?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, it varies depending on what amount of time that money is based on. So, if you need 50 thousand, that would be based on five months. So that would-

Justin Cooke:                     It’s going to be less over five months.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. So, it would be different than if it was based on two months. If it was based on two months, the fee would be a lot less actually. It’s the opposite.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. So, for your investors, you have an annualized return, and then it’s going to be different depending on how long that is. I gotcha. Okay.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, it’s like, it really is akin to a traditional cash advance model. So, a cash advance model, they’ll say, “Hey, I’ll give you eight thousand now for 12 thousand later. No matter how long it takes you.” We have similar arrangements with our clients.

Justin Cooke:                     God, this is really interesting stuff. We’re talking a little bit about this show, how might be a little early. I mean, I love the industry you’re in, I think this is really exciting. I think that this will be a growing industry, a growing niche, but I don’t know … I’m just going back to your business a bit. Is there an educational piece you have here? It doesn’t seem like a lot of people would know that they can do this. So, it’s not something they’re out searching for. Is it something that you’re trying to get the message out about?

                                                I mean, the educational piece would seem a bit rough to me in trying to get the word out.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. No, we don’t have an educational piece. Our sales efforts have been reaching out to publishers that we think would be a good fit for this, and then teaming up with guys like you.

Justin Cooke:                     So are they aware of this? When you reach out to them, have they heard of other people doing this? Or are they like, “Wow, I had no idea this was possible.”

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, I know there are some lenders in the media space, and they think it’s the same thing. I have to let them know, look, this is not a loan. We do not charge interest. We are not lenders. Honestly, a lot of publishers, like you said, we might be a little too early. A lot of publishers are out there making money, and they don’t view it as a business, but the ones that do are like, “Wow! I didn’t know I could do this.”

                                                And then the conversation starts. It’s much more palatable and attractive to someone that’s business savvy, and really views their website as a business.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s funny, I was talking to a buddy of mine a few months back, and we were talking about this lady that he knew in Australia. She had this drop shipping site that she had built up. I think over the course of 10 to 12 months or whatever, it’s making like three or four thousand dollars a month net profit.

                                                She had a high paying job, and whatever. She really expected it to be 15, 20 thousand dollars a month in net profit. She was kind of really disappointed with it, and was actually thinking about just stopping it. Like, just ending this site that’s making three or four thousand dollars a month, and so we’re realizing that there is a bit of educational piece for us. At least reach out there, and say, “Hey, you could just stop it, but you might want sell it for 60 to 80 thousand to someone that would be interested in taking this over.”

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, Yeah, exactly. People don’t … You guys are in the same position. People don’t realize the opportunity.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s amazing to me that people sometimes still don’t get that you can buy and sell websites. This lady didn’t even realize that she was on to something that would probably be valuable to other people. So, let’s get back to OAREX for a second.

                                                We talked about there is nothing I can’t necessarily do with the money. Obviously there is a lot of value for people that are looking to reinvest in their business to grow out their website, or business. I’m sure that’s something that you look for when you’re talking about, but if I want to take a trip to Thailand or whatever I can do it with the cash as well.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, yeah. So, I guess the one thing that we won’t finance is a website redesign because the risk that their website just doesn’t perform is too great. 

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. Okay.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. You could go on vacation. You could go to Thailand, but you got to keep everything on your website the same.

Justin Cooke:                     Nice, okay. So, let’s talk a little bit about this from a perspective of website buying and selling. We talked about this a little bit before the show, and also on our pre call a while back. Can a seller use this as a partial payment for a sale? What I mean by this is, if a buyer comes along, and wants to buy a 100 thousand dollar website, and this would be a site making let’s say five thousand dollars a month, and then they only have 80 thousand.

                                                They want to finance 20 thousand. If the seller is willing to get 20 thousand of that money up front, can the buyer than take over that site, pay 80 thousand, and then take on that site, and pay that money back over time. Is that something you’d be willing to do?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. So, of course, you introduced me to that idea. It’s kind of like the same model, where we’re basically helping finance the deal with money they don’t have, and then they pay us back with a percentage of their future revenues. Exactly. So, the way that would work is, to your example, they have 80 thousand, they need 20 thousand extra to purchase the website, we come in with that 20 thousand, give it to the seller, but with that, the buyer now pays us for the first eight months, half of his revenues …

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     … until we make our 20 thousand back, or whatever it is. Six months, until we make 20 thousand plus some back on the deal, and everyone’s happy.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. So, a buyer can use this as a … either they can do it straight up for the deal, and then they take on the liability that’s owed to you out of earnings. Another way we talked about doing this, I think, is through an earn-out. So, where a buyer is willing to put 70 thousand upfront, they want to pay the seller based on the success of the site. So, they could actually have the earn-out go through you.

                                                So, you’re taking your piece, and then giving some of that to the seller over time.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. If we finance the difference. Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. That’s pretty interesting man. I think there’s a real opportunity here to help finance deals, and I think this is in the space that we’re operating right now. So, we’re talking 50, 80, 100, 150, 200 thousand dollar deals, and I think that there’s some opportunity here for buyers, and sellers.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. Yeah, so you know, picture to all this is that we’re bridging the gap. Whether, it’s to help them bridge the gap to purchase a digital marketing plan, or whether it’s to help them bridge the gap to actually buy a website. So, I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to do that. Of course, in our start up mode that we’re in, we’re trying to focus on one thing, and master it, but I’d be willing to explore those options. Absolutely.

Justin Cooke:                     Tell me a little bit about this, let’s say that I wanted to buy a site. What’s the difference between going with you, having you pay off some of the seller, and me taking a hit, versus like me just taking out, you know, paying for some of it on a credit card at 15 percent. Or going to prosper, let’s say, and borrowing the money at 10 to 12 percent. How would I compare the two apples to apples?

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, that’s a good question. So, first with a credit card, is that we don’t compound interest, and a credit card is not going to care, nor is an investor from Prosper going to care if you’re doing well or not. We do, because our payment, and our recovery of our principle plus our profit fee is based on the performance of your website. That’s the main difference.

Justin Cooke:                     So is we agree, Let’s say we agree on a deal right, it’s going to be five months of whatever earnings, and then site does horribly and I have to pay you out for three years. It’s not like I’m paying more in interest over that period of time. Whatever interest you were in with, now you guys are taking that as your risk.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, yeah. So it’s a contraction and extension risk [crosstalk 00:31:01].

Justin Cooke:                     If I’m paying over three years to a credit card or to a loan, I’m going to eat it on interest rates.

Hanna Kassis:                     You’re going to eat it. Yeah, exactly. You might not be able to make your payment.

Justin Cooke:                     So, really you’re just getting paid more on how quickly, and how successfully the site grows.

Hanna Kassis:                     That’s exactly correct. So, we have skin in the game with our clients, and that is how we differentiate ourselves from Prosper, and credit cards.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool, okay.

Hanna Kassis:                     And, we’re an actual partner too. We know how to grow websites. Some investor on Prosper you’re never going to meet, and credit card surely isn’t going to help you grow your website.

Justin Cooke:                     Talk to me a little bit about that. So let’s say that, I do, I’m taking 40 thousand out, and I want to invest in SEO, or invest in backlinks or something like … How, do you recommend different providers, do you have providers you work with regularly that can help people out?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, exactly. So, you could look on our partners page, oarex.com, O.A.R.E.X. dot com, we have Google certified partners so they are certified by Google. Either AdSense certified, Analytics certified, or AdWord certified. While that doesn’t speak to their commercial performance for our clients, it does say that they’ve been through the ringer with Google’s vetting process. They can now hold themselves out as being a partner of Google.

                                                So, we’ve partnered with three of them at the moment. The way it works is if a client comes to us, and says, “Hey, I hired this really good SEO firm. I got a quote from them, and I can’t afford it. Can you pay for it?” Sure, we’ve done that, but if client comes to us, and we start looking at their business needs, and they’re like, well how can I grow my business? Well, we have these providers. Here are the services they provide. Shop around, and then we’ll finance it for you.

                                                We’re not just going to pay any Joe Shmoe SEO guy out there. We’ll do our homework on the guy, and find him. But if our client says this is who I want to hire, here’s their work, and we can go to the website, and we can talk to him, then we’ll pay them directly on behalf of client. Just like we would pay a partner of ours.

Justin Cooke:                     Okay, great. And it’s not a requirement or anything, that you pay them directly, it’s just something that you would do on the side.

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, we do it because we have had a client that said I’m going to buy SEO, and then he didn’t.

Justin Cooke:                     So, it is a requirement.

Hanna Kassis:                     So, it is a requirement. If you say I want this money for SEO, then we’re going to say, all right, who should we pay?

Justin Cooke:                     So, it’s better to tell you I want a trip to Hawaii.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, just be honest. Just tell us what you are using the money for.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, okay. That seems like it’s a piece in your vetting process. Are these guys-

Hanna Kassis:                     It’s part of our risk management by paying those guys directly.

Justin Cooke:                     Talk to me a little about your risk management. I mean, what do you do in terms of looking up the person. I mean, we’ve talked a little bit about this in terms of what we do with sellers, and vetting the sellers. Do you vet the website owner themselves? Their Facebook profiles, anything like that, or is it just based on the site itself?

Hanna Kassis:                     You know what, It’s not a deal breaker if I don’t, but yeah, I try to do a Google search for ’em. I’ll do Google image search for em. I’ll do a LinkedIn, because you want to see that they’re, you know, real and normal.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     You know, and if you Google a news site, I’ll Google their name, and click news. Or, Google their name and city, and click news on Google. If there’s a bunch of bad press about them, it’s just no go.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha, okay.

Hanna Kassis:                     And that’s like any, I mean, you talk to any cash advance, financing, bank lending, I mean, I’d say 99 percent of them have some methodology where they look at the character of the person they’re giving the money too. In this industry you have to.

Justin Cooke:                     I’d say when you do less checking of that, you’re generally paying higher rates because everyone else is financing in the sketchiness right. So-

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     I’m actually surprised you do so little. My guess is that will probably change over time as you continue on, but-

Hanna Kassis:                     Most of the diligence comes on the actual website and the business itself.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha.

Hanna Kassis:                     And then I do as ancillary stuff. I do all the stuff on social media and find out who they are.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s talk a little bit about do you have any competition in this space? Do you have any competitors that are doing this? Either at a higher level or your level, I mean, who are you competing with?

Hanna Kassis:                     So, we are competing, just broadly speaking with traditional finance. We’re competing with anyone that has money, and any lenders. I know there are lenders out there that offer lines of credit based on receivables in the media space. However, they deal with humongous clients. They’ll finance 10 million dollar deals.

                                                So, in terms of the advance model that we are doing for small to mid sized publishers. We’re currently the only ones in this space.

Justin Cooke:                     So, you’re filling a hole on the lower end of the market, and really, lower end is pretty wide open if you’re talking 10 million plus. So, you’re thinking I’ll start here, and let me prove this out to my investors because you gotta keep your investors happy. Then you can move up the value chain. They’re going to be happy to supply you with more cash once you’re getting a return.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right. So, right now, you mention that giving investors returns. So, right now, the only investors we have are actually invested in the company. The money that we’re using to finance these deals is our money. So it’s on balance sheet lending. However, we do have a mechanism in place, where you, Justin Cooke want to finance the deal. We’ll give you all the documents, and you do all your own due diligence. You can finance the deal through us, and we take a cut.

Justin Cooke:                     Awesome, so this eventually could … there’s, some other ways you could take this but kind of focusing back on the business aspect. I guess this could ultimately turn into a marketplace, right?

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, and that’s what OAREX stands for. OAREX stands for Online Ad Revenue Exchange.

Justin Cooke:                     Nice man. I get that.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah.

Justin Cooke:                     That makes sense. You can have them, you know, directly OAREX is taking a piece of the pie, but you’re-

Hanna Kassis:                     We’re like a broker.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, you’re directly bringing potential investors in with people that need to borrow cash against their sites.

Hanna Kassis:                     No, that’s exactly correct.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool man, all right. How could this go bad for you? That’s what I want to know. When does this go bad? Have you had any experiences so far where you’re like, “Oh my God, I shouldn’t have done that deal”?

Hanna Kassis:                     Well, yeah. So, when I was first really proving out the model, I didn’t have any mechanism in place to guarantee that we get paid, so I had a guy in India. It was a small deal. I just never heard from him again. It was a real small deal. It was probably like half a percent of all our capital that’s been invested. And then I had one other default, so, in terms of industry averages, our default rate is slightly higher than where a traditional financing company’s default rate is.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     Ours is like double but in terms of, probably double of what a bank would default on when times are very good on what a cash advance company would default on. But it’s still … I’m mindful of the fact that I was in my very early stages. In terms of-

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, it’s going to get better.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, it’s going to get better. So in terms of like-

Justin Cooke:                     You’re also balancing that against higher interest rates for your company which, ultimately your investors so, yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     Risk for reward, and a lot of my first deals were distressed websites. So, in terms of, was there a deal that I shouldn’t have done, not really. My due diligence gets better with every deal. The way this could go wrong for me is that some like huge hedge fund is like, “Oh, I like this,” and just step into the space, but, yeah, we’re the ones collecting the data. We’re the ones with our propietary risk assessment model. So, we’re first movers but the way it really could go wrong, is like the internet disappears.

Justin Cooke:                     Aliens come down. Yeah sure.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, when I first started, people were like isn’t this risky? My first response to that them was, when was the last time you saw a website just disappear? I mean, honestly, when was the last time you were browsing the internet, you go to a website you’ve always been to, and it’s just not there?

Justin Cooke:                     Tell me about, what are the risks for a site owner? Do I have to transfer my domain to you? Do you hold any leverage in the deal that may put me at risk, or at least get me nervous?

Hanna Kassis:                     No leverage. The risks are, you know, of course you’re paying that fee, and then we also, I like to call it, step into their shoes. So, we get back-end access to everything, and I mean everything. That we have to do, but in terms of the leverage … one client we had back-end access to her analytics in AdSense, and our pay information was swapped out for hers, and she just changed her password and vanished. So, there was no leverage there.

                                                So now, we have partnered, well, not officially, but we work with ad networks where we email them directly, and say, “Hey, look, we did this deal with your client. Here’s our pay information, and we’ll tell you when to switch it back to their pay information”

                                                We haven’t had any hassles with that, and it’s nice because we guarantee our payment so long as they stay in business.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s interesting. The bad thing about that is my guess is that until you’re large, you’re only going to be able to do that with a smaller ad networks. Right? The really big ones are like, yeah, whatever, I don’t care. Are they willing to do that for you too, or is it like no?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so, a couple actually really big ones.

Justin Cooke:                     Huh.

Hanna Kassis:                     You guys have heard of Taboola?

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     I’m sure, yeah. We have clients we purchased their future Taboola revenues, and Taboola pays us directly.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s cool.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so it doesn’t matter what the size of the ad network it is. All that matters is that our client, or their client has used our financing.

Justin Cooke:                     So, there’s less likely, you have access to analytics, but I can just share with you analytics. You don’t have to have my access clearly.

Hanna Kassis:                     I don’t have to have your access, exactly.

Justin Cooke:                     But you’re going to have access, it makes sense to me because you’re going to need to run reports and everything. I mean, I guess a bit of risk there, you can change the passwords on me, or screw me over in some way, but I can probably get it back because I clearly own the site, and I could make changes to it. Do you have back-end access like their WordPress account for their hosting? Things like that, no?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, I have in some cases because either a client needed help with something, so we snuck in there and helped them out with it. So, in our agreement with clients, if they violate their existing ad network agreement, then we have the right to step in and remonetize their website, which ultimately helps them out in the end.

                                                The way the relationship is structured is really win-win, but risky stuff, yeah, of course it is. We’re in the financing business, we’re financing …

Justin Cooke:                     Virtual [inaudible 00:40:20].

Hanna Kassis:                     … business owners we’ve never met. Virtual business owners that we’ve never met. Exactly.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah.

Hanna Kassis:                     I talked to a guy who … go ahead.

Justin Cooke:                     This is risky business. For sure, I get what you’re saying there. So, having any bit of leverage that kind of makes sense. What happens to a publisher if the site goes to shit? You were saying earlier that it was only going to be a five or six month payout, it goes to two years, three years, it’s not like you’re going to come after me personally, or screw with my credit or anything like that. Right?

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, Yeah so …

Justin Cooke:                     Would you ever take the site? Is there anything in the agreement that allows you to take over, and own the site?

Hanna Kassis:                     We’ve never taking over a site, and quite frankly, I’d rather take the loss then spend all my time and effort trying to recoup it. So, it’s a matter of cutting your losses. You know, there is more of a hazard, the website all of a sudden does poorly, the publisher’s like, “I got my money, I don’t want to keep doing this, and they walk away. We’re out.” It’s just like a traditional cash advance. If sales are down for a brick and mortar, and they just decide to close up shop, well, that cash advance company, they stand in line to get their money but they’re behind all the lenders and creditors.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, of course. Do you do any industry? Like, would you do, I don’t know, porn for example. Do you do gambling sites?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so that’s part of our due diligence is if they have any links or ads relating to porn, gun shows, and casinos, it’s a no go for us.

Justin Cooke:                     Why would that be? Out of curiosity. We actually, we have a similar thing where we won’t get involved in that, and our reasoning is, it is just too hard for us to do due diligence in the porn industry. It’s like a complete different animal, and something about having our brand associated with that was not cool with us. But, I don’t know, what’s your reasoning for this?

Hanna Kassis:                     So, I agree with your reasoning. I don’t want the brand associated with it, and then morally. There is enough people that are willing to advertise to the porn industry, and they don’t need my money. So, it’s a moral thing, it’s a brand identity thing, and it’s Google algorithm thing because Google will whack you if you are linking to casino, gun show, or porn websites. They’ll absolutely nail you, and that we can’t have because we need to make sure our clients have sustained high traffic levels.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. We talked a little bit about who this is for, what potential customers you’re looking for. Your, like, perfect avatar when it comes to a customer. Who is this not for? Who does this not make sense for in terms of doing business with people?

Hanna Kassis:                     This makes sense, this does not make sense for people that see this as just a hobby. That really have no interest in growing it. They’re content with just publishing their posts, or getting their content from wherever, and collecting their monthly money. It’s not for you.

Justin Cooke:                     Let’s say the site, I don’t plan on growing the site at all. I see it staying steady, and I just want to take this out to, whatever, to pay for something totally non related, and it doesn’t grow at all. Right.

                                                The interest rate I’d be paying on this is not really fantastic, I should probably get my money elsewhere.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, you probably should, but if you want to take our money and pay us back with the future earnings you are more than welcome.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. Okay.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, I guess it’s more tailored, so I guess I probably shouldn’t have said it’s not for the person that just sees this as a hobby, but it’s more for the person that really wants to grow their business, to put it that way.

Justin Cooke:                     Because they have upsides. You have upsides.

Hanna Kassis:                     To put it that way. Exactly.

Justin Cooke:                     Are partnered on this basically.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, we financed a guy, it was a real small deal, but it’s a hobby. He has a full-time job, he didn’t do anything to grow the business, and we financed him. But he’s not going to sign up again. The guys that actually took the money and reinvested it are like give me more because I’m making a ton more money than I was.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha. How soon will you do that? So, let’s say we just finished our partnership, I’ve paid you off, we’re all good. Can I do it again right away?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so I actually just financed a client, and he gets paid on end 60, and we haven’t even been paid those revenues. We haven’t even recovered our entire amount from the third deal, and we financed him a fourth deal based on that third deal.

Justin Cooke:                     Oh, wow.

Hanna Kassis:                     So, we actually financed him before the earnings period closed for the money that we are collecting.

Justin Cooke:                     Gotcha, because it’s doing really well. I see crazy opportunity here for any paid traffic opportunities. Anywhere where I’m getting a ROI on paid traffic, and I want that money. I’ve been doing this for a year and a half. I know that for every dollar spent, I’m getting a buck 50 back or whatever, and I want to build it with future earnings. It seems like a no brainer to me.

Hanna Kassis:                     Right, yeah, it is. But like you said, and like we were discussing before the podcast, is that not a lot of people realize that. I think in a couple years it will be more obvious that, hey I could tap into this future value and maybe what it takes is a company like OAREX to get that idea out there.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool Hanna. Well, we are partnering up with you man. We are going to put a link to this in the show notes. Are there any special offers you can give to Empire podcast listeners? Anyone that at least wants to explore this, and check it out a little bit further, what can you do for them?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, I’ll do a free SEO and website analysis. Basically, a look under the hood of your website, find the backlinks. What you could do to enhance your search engine presence, and I’ll compare you to competitors within your industry.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool man, all right. And then where can people go on your site to find out more, and get the Empire podcast offer?

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah, so they could go to oarex.com, O.A.R.E.X. dot com, and go to the contact us page, and then type in Empire in the message box after you fill in your information.

Justin Cooke:                     Nice Hanna. Well, I really appreciate you coming on the show man. This is talking about something that’s really kind of new. Right, a little random honestly, and I just … After Joe had talked to you, and then I talked to you on the pre call, I was like wow, this is something we really gotta have on the podcast. We gotta let people know about this because I think there’s some opportunity here, and I just think that people haven’t heard of this. If they do, I’m sure you’re going to get some people taking advantage.

Hanna Kassis:                     Yeah. Thanks for helping me out with that.

Justin Cooke:                     Cool man. Appreciate it.

Hanna Kassis:                     All right guys. See you.

Speaker 2:                           You’ve been listening to the Empire podcast. Now some news and updates.

Justin Cooke:                     All right, Joe. Let’s do some news and updates. First up we’ve got an interesting link that was shared to me via Twitter. It’s called Funding Circle. That’s the name of the company and it’s primarily a U.K. based company, but I think it’s kind of in line with what we were talking about on the interview with Hanna. It’s basically crowdsource investing and borrowing for businesses. So, if you need to raise some money for your business, it is based on your credit report and that kind of thing but you’re able to raise some money.

                                                One of our potential buyers was able to raise I think 30 thousand, I don’t know if it was pounds or U.S. dollars, through Funding Circle. So, it’s definitely working and I think the U.K. government put in like 16 million. There’s a whole bunch of people in there. I just want to share that and give people a way to check that out. I think it’s pretty interesting.

Joe:                                        Yeah. You know, these peer-to-peer lending platforms, if you’ve got any sort of good credit behind you, really it’s a great way to sort of raise money, potentially make a great ROI site so if you have a site in your targets and you don’t have the money for it, you should highly consider one of these peer-to-peer platforms. You can definitely get low rates, as low as seven percent so you can definitely get a better ROI than that on taking in and flipping a site.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s interesting. I mean, it’s like leveraging other people’s money at a low level, but keep in mind that with these types of things you are on the hook for payment so basically what those loans do is they eat into your margins. So, keep that in mind. Make sure that you’re going to get a good margin on the return if you’re going to be purchasing with borrowed money.

Joe:                                        Yeah. Sit down and do the spreadsheet math.

Justin Cooke:                     Or napkin math like we do. Second thing I want to mention is that are this week and next week interviewing apprentice applicants. We’ve narrowed it down to eight, Joe, so we’re digging through them now. We’ve got some favorites in there, got some dark horses that might sneak up to the top of the pack, but the whole goal is to get this person hired before February 20th when you and I and Mike will be heading off to Cambodia for a week.

Joe:                                        Yeah. I’m looking forward to Cambodia but I’m also looking forward to talking to all these applicants live and on video. It should be a lot of fun. Get this thing done and wow, tomorrow and the next day are going to be some crazy days. Talking about lots of interviews so.

                                                So the third thing, Justin, that actually I wanted to mention is what’s going on with LinkedIn? Man, I am getting spammed out the rear end from these guys. It’s unbelievable.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah, I just don’t know what’s going on with LinkedIn overall. I mean, I actually used them back in the day when I had the corporate job and I thought it was pretty cool. It was pretty interesting. I thought it was interesting. Like, a way for you to have your business persona online. And it’s really just gone downhill. And I talked to people who use it but everyone I know that actually uses it, uses it more of like a legion tool than anything else. No one uses it I think as it was meant for.

Joe:                                        Yeah. So, apparently what they did was if you were a member of a group and you had changed your group settings like I’ve done to never email me, like the admin can’t email me, I don’t want digest emails, I don’t want anything, they went in there and overrode all your settings and said now the admin can contact you directly via email if they want to. So, today I woke up and got a whole bunch of spam messages from groups that I never check anymore from the admin owners trying to sell me crap.

Justin Cooke:                     See that’s a donkey move I can see, well I can see us making, or I can see like a smaller, not funded company making, but LinkedIn? Really? You got to know better than that. What are they doing man?

Joe:                                        I don’t know. Can’t figure it out either.

Justin Cooke:                     It’s kind of like, I’d say, at a much smaller level, the Market Samurai guys. Do you remember this? Like, they had the top product when it comes to keyword research. They were crushing it. They’d sold hundreds of thousands of copies of this. And now they’re relegated to these spammy, kind of IM kind of messages every once in a while selling some affiliate product. It is beyond me how far they’ve fallen and how crappy it’s gotten and it was a nice piece of software. I mean, it was good when it was working back in the day. It’s just sad to see them go so far down.

Joe:                                        Yeah. I mean, we could do a whole podcast on why companies probably end up this way but yeah, interesting to see why they start making these decisions and it must be out of some sort of financial need or absolute desperation so … but I think the death hammer is near for something like LinkedIn. I think that they can’t keep doing this kind of stuff and attract a real user base. I’m at the level of almost just closing my LinkedIn account, put it that way.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah man. I hear you. All right, let’s do some listener shouts, also known as the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. First we’re getting this, I just want to say if you are appreciating the show, if you like what we’ve done so far, what you’ve heard so far, please head on over to iTunes and leave us a review. Let us know if you loved us, you hated us, or if there’s something you want to hear about on the show, and we’ll see if we can incorporate that. And we appreciate all of your reviews.

                                                First, I’ve got John over at Twitter said on the 31st, “Fantastic support from Mike at Empire Flippers. Thanks guys.” This is a new buyer looking for his first purchase. He’s also the one that mentioned he got 30 thousand in funding from Funding Circle, so appreciate that John. Mike appreciated it. He mentioned it in our last [inaudible 00:51:12] meeting as one of the positives for the week so he’s fired up about your tweet man. Appreciate it.

Joe:                                        Yes. Thanks a lot, John.

Justin Cooke:                     Mike said, “Hi Justin. I’m Mike from Business Insights Podcast. I was wondering if I could interview you.” Yes. You definitely can. Just shoot me an email. I’m definitely open to doing podcast interviews and supporting new podcasts, something I’ve done for quite a while. And I’d be happy to be on your show. If you know anyone or you know other shows that you think I would be a good guest for, please let me know that as well or let them know so that I can get on that podcast and share what we have to share there as well.

                                                Jsctt on the 30th said, “Empire Flippers, you might want to head over to buildersociety.com. You can add value and gain customers,” and then CC’d BuilderSociety. So actually check this out. I mean, we got lots of messages like that, some of them are spammy and I thought for a second that this was one of those spammy messages but I went over to buildersociety and was pleasantly surprised at a really, I think, thoughtful and interesting forum and community. One of the guys over there is this entrepreneur who made like the Made in Black, he had a mixers interview about that.

                                                I’d actually emailed him a couple of times saying I appreciated what he’s done and what he’s shared. Wanted to have him on the show and then kind of, I didn’t follow up and kind of lost contact but the guy’s over there, he’s done a couple of other businesses since then and I’m really just impressed with the clarity with which he’s able to explain the process of creating a business start to finish. I’d love to have him on the show. Anyway, he’s done some great ask me anythings or AMAs over there in that forum and I think it’s really interesting. If you’re building quality websites and you want some no bullshit advice, I think it’s a great place to be.

Joe:                                        Yeah. I checked it out briefly and loved the things that are going on over there. Definitely seems like a great community.

Justin Cooke:                     Yeah. Guys are legit. We’ve also got a couple of things going on over at [inaudible 00:52:55]. We’ve got Josh gave us a satisfied rating, said, [“Sabine 00:52:58] was fast, polite, and responsive. You guys also took a lot of work off my hands by dealing with all the different tracking ID tags. I really appreciate that.” We appreciate you, Josh, as being a seller and basically transferring those sites over to new buyers. That’s a service we offer for all of our transactions.

Joe:                                        Yeah. Something I really think most brokers should do, but I’m glad that we’re seems to be the only ones that are doing it.

Justin Cooke:                     We’ve got Jason said, “Another satisfied customer,” said, “Support was superb as always. I’m very happy repeat customer. When I think of all the countless hours I’ve spent on auction sites and issues I’ve always experienced dealing with a quality broker you saves time and makes the experience pleasurable.” Thanks so much, Jason. We really appreciate it.

Joe:                                        Yeah, Jason. We really appreciate your business. Jason has bought multiple sites from us so it’s definitely good to hear that he has a very good experience.

Justin Cooke:                     That’s it for episode 125 of the Empire podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/oarex. That’s O.A.R.E.X.

                                                Make sure to follow us on Twitter @empireflippers and we’ll see you next week.

Joe:                                        Bye-bye everybody.

Speaker 2:                           Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening.

 


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  1. peter main says:

    Hi – am interested in selling a site, but am not sure how you begin to value it – any ideas
    Thanks

    • Greg Elfrink says:

      Hey Peter,

      I think the best place to start would be to check out our valuation tool, it can give you a rough free estimate of what your website is worth. You can check it out here

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