My First Flippa Experience – How to buy a website on


how to buy a website on
[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’m going to share my experience buying a website (webapp) on flippa to help you learn How to Buy a Website on It was a first for me. I had read some articles, and listened to podcasts discussing the pros and cons of buying websites on flippa, but was still a little nervous since I hadn’t purchased a web application online before. And so I hope this might be helpful for you if you’re considering purchasing websites on With any website, you want to make sure that it functions at a reasonable capacity and can work efficiently in all areas when dealing with online customers/clients, and can handle any updates and software changes. So before buying you may want to run a software test from companies such as to see if it is compatible.

This experience will help teach you how to buy a website on


Skimming through the listings one late evening after work, as I had made a habit of doing for a week or two, I came across a listing that was very interesting. Working on and having an interest in business ideas I was curious to find out more about the website listed for sale:

idea machine

We will return to the story in a moment…first my tips for how to find a good website on

  1. WRITE DOWN YOUR GOALS BEFORE SEARCHING ON FLIPPA. Know what your looking for. Don’t just look for anything. Have a plan. What are your long term goals for your business.
  2. RECHECK YOUR GOALS WITH ANY POSSIBLE PURCHASES. After finding an interesting website make sure it aligns with your written goals and ability to pay for, manage, and the time investment involved.


Here is a GREAT resource for doing due diligence prior to purchasing a website on FEI International – Buying an Internet Business – Advanced Due Diligence

Back to my experience.

my first flippa auction experience - How to Buy a website on

my first flippa auction experience – How to Buy a website on

I sent questions to the seller to find out more about the website, which was designed as a voting application that pulled in ideas from the internet (twitter) and then allowed anyone to vote up or down the ideas.

I also researched the website, tested it, found the developer and information showing that the developer was a legitimate single party (real person) and tried to verify the validity of the claims made on the flippa listing. The website had some functionality issues and I messaged the owner about improvements that would need to be made to the website in order for it to function properly. The owner was willing to make improvements to the site for a winning bid. Websites are able to make money if they are able to function at their highest capacity, the full article here can help those who are trying to achieve this, so if the owner is willing to complete these needs, then they will have a higher chance of selling.

Next i posted a similar project to Elance (you can use upwork now) to get a bid to develop a similar project to try and value the development costs.


If you’ve ever been to a property auction like those held by Carolina Auction & Realty, you’ll know how high pressure the atmosphere is, and it’s no different when you’re bidding on a website. So, full of excitement the day before the final day I placed a bid on flippa for $250.

I woke up at 430 am the next day curious to see the status of my bid…I WAS OUTBID. Someone else had bid higher than me!

Rationally, or maybe irrationally, I bid up the price incrementally throughout the morning.

I was on a 4 hour commute to southern CA, yet couldn’t stop the constant bid checking on my iphone. I know, should have remembered safety first.

As the price climbed i called my wife to get buy in from her and came back to make a final bid. The listing showed that the auction was about to close “momentarily”.

I BID. and flippa said “Closed”.

I tried again.

my first purchase on flippa - how to buy a website on

my first purchase on flippa – how to buy a website on


I was desperate…it had said closing momentarily and my bid was placed prior to closure. What a rigged system i thought.

I posted a message to the flippa board to which the seller replied by comment that the auction should still be active and open.



The site got stuck in limbo for two hours and then closed.

I approached the seller by email to let him know i was still interested in the website if there was a way to pay the higher price than what the other person bid.

The winning bidder “agreed to sell the site for the difference” per the seller.

AFTER THE PURCHASE – Post Flippa Auction

I sent a website agreement form to the seller and followed the transaction steps to transfer the website.

The owner did complete the work that was requested from him and went beyone with further improvements. He was interested in seeing the website succeed and this was beneficial for me. However, it took some time for him to complete it.

I finally found another programmer on upwork who has taken ideamachine further with more functionality and has worked out great.

How to Buy a website on 3 Lessons learned from my first Flippa Experience

  1. Take time up front to contact the seller and share the vision of what you want to do with the website
  2. Set your maximum value of bidding before bidding
  3. Bidding will take off at the end…know that the seller might be able to bid with a different account and try to manipulate the situation.
  4. Here is a list of things to check for to make sure your not being scammed: Reddit Article – List of Actions to Check for Scam

Hopefully this post help you see a real life experience as well as introduce you to how to buy a website on Beware of the different scam strategies by those posting websites, but also know there are good sellers on flippa as well.

If you need any help with your first flippa purchase or website evaluation let us know.