Website Investing Weekly 🦈 No Sharks

Investors Club moves into ecommerce, Empire Flippers reduces exclusivity period, investing in newsletters and much, much more...

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

🛒 Latest Marketplace News

There’s been some big marketplace developments for digital assets over the last week, so let’s dive straight in.

1) Ecommerce Sites

Investors Club is now accepting e-commerce sites for sale on their marketplace.

The change happened quietly last week, but they're already accepting e-commerce stores that fit these criteria:

  • Targets an English-speaking market

  • Is making at least $1,000 in net profit per month

  • Is at least one year old

We even tested the submission process for you.

It's only 4 simple steps: you enter your personal details, a little info on your products, basic business information, and answer two quick questions about your revenue.

Investors Club commit to providing feedback within one business day. If your site is rejected, you'll still receive a free valuation. 

Andrej from Investors Club said:

We're still relatively new. Investors Club has been fully operational for a bit over 8 months now, but I, personally, love how the industry is shifting and we'll keep working on making Investors Club the best place to buy or sell your online business.

If you have an e-commerce business to list, head over here to complete the first step towards a sale.

2) Exclusivity Periods

If you've sold websites on any of the popular marketplaces - or via a broker - you'll be familiar with exclusivity periods. Once you've signed up on a particular platform, you can't offer your site for sale elsewhere for a certain period of time.

Many brokers use a standard 6 month exclusivity agreement, some don't publicly disclose it (QuietLight), and marketplace agreements typically range from 3 months (Flippa) to 6 months (Empire Flippers).

Until we received this newsflash from Empire Flippers:

Their email also stated:

We believe we've got our processes down so well, that we can get the right amount of money in your hands for your business sooner than any other marketplace.

Right now, this is the shortest exclusivity period we know of. Investors Club started at two months, but have now moved up to 3 months. Andrej explains why:

We started with two months but moved to three because our buyers pool wasn't big enough when we started. Now it's a different story. 80 percent of new sites get sold within a couple of weeks and our exclusivity could be lower, but I do want to have some extra wiggle room, especially considering the 5% flat fee that won't be going anywhere.

3. Investing in Newsletters
(new marketplace)

We think that any digital asset with traffic, ready-made content and an income deserves its own platform for buying and selling.

Our search last week for marketplaces on which to sell a podcast amounted to a big fat zero, but we did find Duuce.

Duuce is a brand new platform for buying and selling newsletters and appears to be the only game in town - as of today.

The owner (Jonas) talks about various ways to value a newsletter:

We'd add donations, web traffic generation and brand awareness to that list, but it's likely that there are more possible combinations within these models.

For example, a freemium model could include both curated and/or original content.

While the business of flipping newsletters is in its infancy, it might be the best time for you to consider an investment in building or buying a niche newsletter.

Duuce currently has 9 newsletters listed on its marketplace, ranging in price from $500 to $20,000.

And Richard recently invested in a newsletter startup by Chris Osborne from Kintu. The Newsletter Company builds & sells email newsletters and is currently working on the first batch of 15 newsletters. You can get notified when they go on sale here.

Plus, if you're one of our paid subscribers, you'll see newsletters added to our weekly deals email going forward. 

Here is a previous Deals Email we have unlocked for free subscribers to take a look.


🦄 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.

🔍 Searching For Deals


Sometimes it's hard to know where to start.

You want to buy a decent website to flip within a certain timeframe, but you don't want to overpay. 

In the latest article in his series on How to Invest in Websites on the Flippa blog, Richard outlined the exact process he uses to search for the best deals on Flippa. 

These are the deals you'll see in the "hand-picked Deals" newsletter (previous one we have unlocked) which covers the latest sites listed across various marketplaces.

Each step includes a diagram, along with a brief explanation about why Richard selected a particular option.

As you know, there are many factors that affect a site's valuation. One of the major influences is whether the site traffic is trending up or down. It makes sense that you might have to pay more for a site where the visits and revenue show a steady upward curve.  

Keep this article open while you try a search of your own. 

⚠️ Noncompliance is Futile


These links and regulations are the most boring components of your online business:

Terms and Conditions, Privacy Statements, GDPR compliance, and… web accessibility.

What's this?

It's something that may have escaped your attention, but it's causing legal headaches for many businesses around the world. 

Web accessibility ensures that your site is designed and usable for individuals who have problems seeing, hearing, talking or even moving. 

In the US alone, around 25% of the population live with some form of disability. It's essential that you allow everyone to interact with your brand digitally. If you don't, you're shutting them - and opportunity - out.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 serve as a legal benchmark for website and web application accessibility in several countries, including the U.S.A, U.K, China, Australia, India, Canada, and the EU member states. 

In spite of these comprehensive guidelines, we're falling short of the mark. The WebAIM Million study found that 97.8% of homepages for the top 1 million websites had detectable accessibility issues.

And lawsuits in the US are increasing.

Adam Akinyemi, from Whois Accessible gives a no-nonsense and fact-laden account of these trends in his article for VentureBeat.

He states (edited):

Non-compliance with WCAG technical standards invites legal action.

The rate of Americans With Disabilities Act-based (ADA-based) web and app lawsuits jumped from 814 in 2017 to 2,258 in 2018, a 177% increase. 

They then held roughly steady in 2019.

By the end of April 2020, the rate of ADA-based web and app lawsuits filed in Federal court returned to its previous record-breaking pace.

The obvious solution to avoid the risk of a lawsuit is to take action. Get compliant with the technical standards, determine accessibility via user testing and verification, and ensure ongoing monitoring of your website and apps.

If you want to get started on this, we found comprehensive advice, guidelines and reviews on Adam's website.


🏗️ Niche Website Builders

Looking for a fully hands-off approach to outsourcing your content? Niche Website Builders is a marketing agency designed for content sites. Their packages come with keyword research, formatting and uploading to Wordpress (using templates that have proven to convert) and are written by native English speakers. Check it out.

🐎 Saddle Up Partner

This may win the "partnership of the year award."

MicroAcquire has just announced that they've teamed up with BetaList to help founders sell their startups.

If you've never heard of these companies before, here's what you need to know.

MicroAcquire is an online marketplace of profitable, vetted startups where buyers and founders can meet, chat, and share information privately and securely. There are no commission fees from brokers and all listings are anonymous. 

The Founder and CEO Andrew Gazdecki says:

Attractive startups shouldn’t have to be huge startups. Revenue is important, but it’s equally important to have acquisition conversations early. Until now this has been prohibitively difficult for small, scrappy startups. But with MicroAcquire and BetaList now working together, small SaaS startups generating under $500,000 in annual recurring revenue will have the exit opportunities I never had.

Impressively, MicroAcquire states that most deals close within 30 days.

If you're a startup wanting to sell or a buyer looking for a profitable SaaS startup, it's easy to sign up and start a conversation that leads to a successful deal.

BetaList was founded 10 years ago as a platform for makers to showcase their startup and get early user feedback, and for early adopters to discover upcoming and recently launched startups.

Founder Marc Köhlbrugge has seen Pinterest, IFTTT, and Airtable all debut on BetaList. He's a serial entrepreneur who says:

What makes a great founder isn’t always what makes a great CEO. The people who are talented at starting new things aren’t always the same people who can make it grow. So for those people, selling their business might be a great way to get back to the thing they love: building new businesses.

A quick check showed that the selection criteria to list on BetaList are straightforward, but you must be only recently launched or still be unreleased. And this is only for tech startups so your blog or online store won't qualify.

We see why this partnership has a huge potential upside for each of these companies and their respective audiences. 


🤖 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.

😎 Publication Sponsorship

Interested in sponsoring this publication? Every update gets emailed to over 2,600 people and averages ~ 1,500 views, with click-through rates as high as 8% on links. The web version of the posts get shared on social. Visit the sponsorship page for newsletter and podcast advertising opportunities.

😕 How’d you like this week’s issue?

Let us know how we’re doing with these newsletters - we love getting your responses. Here is our favourite from last week.

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 & Richard Patey