🃏 Fool-ish Buying Sprees

The Motley Fool's latest acquisition, closing deals faster, owning 1000s of domains, and the USA sues Google.

Welcome to Website Investing Weekly, bringing you up-to-date with what’s going on in the world of website investing and alternative related asset classes.

🃏This Fool Is on a Buying Spree

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The Motley Fool's stated purpose is "to make the world smarter, happier, and richer."

They're certainly achieving at least one out of these three goals for themselves. We can't vouch for the happiness of their founders and roughly six investors, but they have just made a smart decision.

The Motley Fool has acquired the popular Millennial Money website. The deal is their seventh - and largest - since The Motley Fool launched its acquisition efforts a little over a year ago. 

Millennial Money promises that you will reach financial independence sooner. Their solutions include improving your investment portfolio, personal finances, and real estate holdings.

Their website states:

Since 2015, more than 10 million readers have visited Millennial Money to learn about how to save more money, start a side hustle, make more money, invest intelligently, fast-track financial independence and reach early retirement.

One of the reasons for this strategic acquisition by The Fool is that their focus is geared towards stocks, index funds, and planning for retirement. These businesses have different audiences, complement each other well, and fill in the missing pieces in the financial independence puzzle.

As Laura Cavanaugh, the director of The Motley Fool's distribution acquisition team said of Millennial Money’s site founder, Grant Sabatier:

His ability to attract and speak to a younger audience about achieving financial independence sooner is perfectly aligned with the Fool's purpose of making the world smarter, happier, and richer.

Grant Sabatier added:

There aren't many platforms that are bigger or more well-respected than The Motley Fool in the financial space, which make them the perfect partner to take Millennial Money to the next level. I'm also a big fan of their work as well. 

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

We wonder where The Fool will look for their next purchase.

🤝Close Your Deal Faster

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Negotiations are tricky.

When you're trying to put together a deal to purchase any digital asset, there often comes a point where the process stalls.

This happens to both buyers and sellers.

In Flippa's latest article, they offer some useful ways to close out a deal more efficiently.

For sellers, they recommend the following:

  1. Asking questions and establishing transparency

Find out what concerns your buyer has that are stalling an agreement. This requires you to understand their motivations so that you can tailor your pitch towards what they value. 

  1. Give up a little at a time

If you're pushed to lower your price on a deal, then compromise slowly. There's absolutely no point in offering a massive 30% discount up front if your prospective buyer is willing to settle at a figure 10% less than your asking price.

  1. A push in the right direction

If your negotiations are dragging on and you've made all the concessions you're willing to make, then give things a subtle push. Try summarizing all the benefits of your business for the new buyer and simply ask whether they want to make an offer. If they won't, then it's probably time to move on.

As a buyer you have more in common with the seller than you think. Both of you want the best deal possible and that's the definition of a win-win agreement.

Two suggestions for buyers:

  1. Use contingency contracts

Contingency contracts are “If this happens, then we do this” agreements. These are useful when you disagree with the seller on key facts related to the future of the business. For example, the rate of new customer acquisitions might be tied to what you eventually pay.

  1. Nudge when necessary

When you have other viable website options on the table, then this is a useful tactic. If you're spoiled for choice in your niche or are considering a starter site as well, you might share your thoughts with the seller.
Just don't bluff it or you're likely to miss out altogether.

Here's another tip:

If you use a marketplace to buy or sell, we're aware that at least one platform has a free, built-in "agent assistance" service. Investors Club offers online help to buyers and sellers during the negotiation process. A simple request during your discussions will notify one of their team to step in and help you out.

For a closer look at the above techniques and a few tips to implement them, read the full article from Flippa here.


🦄 SEOs with Skin in the Game

Smash Digital - a growth agency, filled to the brim with unicorn images and SEO memes. A team of SEOs with actual skin in the game, ranking their own portfolio of profitable businesses, and offering the exact same services to clients. An agency with so much link juice you’ll need a mop and bucket to clean it all up.

Check. Them. Out.

💲What’s It Worth?

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In his latest issue for Revue, Mark shares a little research on newsletter sales and valuations.

Apparently, he was surprised by the fact that newsletters are becoming valuable: not only to their owners, but also to investors.

Since we started adding the subject of newsletters in here, (and listing them in our Weekly Deals email) the online interest in newsletters hasn’t abated.

When a company like Business Insider is willing to spend tens of millions of dollars (purportedly $75 million) for a controlling stake in Morning Brew, then newsletters are guaranteed to gain attention as a serious investment.

There's one question that arises: what is an investor actually paying for?

To answer that, we apply the same logic as we did in our recent podcast investment story

What investors buy is a ready-made, engaged audience, a huge email list, and a relationship with advertisers that is not always easily - or quickly - achieved.

This is why newsletters - of all sizes - are valuable.

For more of the numbers and sales info, you'll find Mark's article here.

📂Thousands of Powerful Domains

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Yoni Belousov is an extremely successful domain investor who has stealthily built an incredible portfolio of domain names over the years.

Who is he, you ask?

Yoni is a private and elusive entrepreneur. You won't see any personal information on his website at Original.com, which proudly states:

We hold thousands of the most powerful domains and are always acquiring more


Over 100k client and O&O domains under management

Yoni is rarely interviewed, but he recently spoke to Aaron Dinin on the Web Masters podcast. It's a relatively short interview, but it's packed full of insights on valuable domain names and how Yoni acquires them.

Here's one quick quote from Yoni:

Domain names are only passive if you do a good job managing them. In this business, you have to be really consistent in terms of practices and the routines and concentrating on quality names so you don’t continually renew and buy bad names.

Have a listen to get the perspective of one of the largest private investors of domains in the world.

🤖 Intelligent Platform for Publishers

Ezoic is an AI-driven platform built for publishers to optimize ad revenue and maximize site speed. As a Google Certified Publishing Partner, they have access to Google Ad Exchange, as well as top-performing ad networks. Their real machine learning optimizes ads and layouts for each individual visitor, resulting in much higher revenue, whilst improving UX. Start a free trial of the Ezoic platform today.

⚖️ Update: The USA Sues Google

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In a recent issue of this newsletter, Richard labelled Google a "monopolistic search deity."

Last Tuesday, the US Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google for:

…unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in general search services and search advertising in violation of the U.S. antitrust laws.

They further noted that:

This lack of competition harms users, advertisers, and small businesses in the form of fewer choices, reduced quality (including on metrics like privacy), higher advertising prices, and less innovation.

And the Wall Street Journal called this move:

…the most aggressive U.S. legal challenge to a company’s dominance in the tech sector in more than two decades.

The case alleges that the Alphabet Inc. unit maintains its status as gatekeeper to the internet through an unlawful web of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements.

Google’s reply is that “people don’t use Google because they have to, they use it because they choose to.”

A loss for Google likely means the court will order changes to the way it conducts business, rather than a breakup. For marketers and businesses everywhere, we say don't panic, as lawsuits like this typically take years to resolve.

You'll find the press release from the Department of Justice here.

A similar claim in Europe forced Google to change the way they offer their services. You’ll get a great overview of that story, and the one above, on Media Post.

🙋How did we do this week?

With your feedback, we can improve this newsletter. Please click on a link to vote:

That’s it for another week. Hit us up in the comments at the bottom of the web version.


Juliet Lyall