Flippa is the biggest and most well-known online marketplace to buy and sell websites, domain names, and apps and was one of the first marketplaces online for websites. You could say that Flippa is the eBay of selling websites. They have mass-market appeal, it’s easy to list, and they have built up a database of both buyers and sellers over many years. However, they also have a reputation for low-quality listings, scammy sellers, and time-wasting buyers. This has led many people to look for viable alternatives to Flippa, and in this article, I’ll cover why Flippa alternatives are needed and what the best options are.
Flippa alternatives: the quick version
If you’re in a rush and just want to know what the best alternatives to Flippa are, here’s the list of the 9 best alternatives I could find:
- Empire Flippers
- FE International
- Exchange Marketplace
- Quiet Light Brokerage
- Micro Acquire
- Dealflow Brokerage
Want more information on why these are the best alternatives and why we even need an alternative option to Flippa? Keep reading to find out.
Why do we need an alternative to Flippa?
Flippa is a victim of its own success as the largest website marketplace. As they scaled, so too did the spammy sellers, the buyers only interested in getting information to steal seller’s ideas, and the listing fees. There are a number of problems with Flippa that are easy to see for investors who are experienced with buying and selling websites, but a lot of beginners are not aware of the issues. The simple fact is that because Flippa is so accessible, buying and selling your website with them can be tiresome and painful.
Issues with Flippa for buyers
- A lot of the listings are fraudulent. I’ve seen first-hand websites for sale on Flippa where the earnings are completely fabricated by the seller and the traffic has been inflated through spammy means.
- Many sellers price the website too high. Sites making $2,000 a year are listing with Buy It Now prices of $25,000 or more. Do you want to wait a possible 12+ years to get a return on investment?
- Bidding on listings makes it easy to over-commit. Remember the budget you set? It’s very easy to get into bidding wars on Flippa and before you know it you’ve paid way too much for a website.
Issues with Flippa for sellers
- You’ll get a lot of messages from tire kickers. The number of time-wasting messages you will receive when selling a site has grown over the years. From spammers trying to promote their own service to buyers who clearly don’t have the money to buy your website but are just fishing for information – it takes a lot of time to sift through these messages on Flippa.
- You’ll get fake bids on your listings. It’s so easy to place a bid on a listing that you will definitely receive fake bids. I’ve sold websites on Flippa that when it came down to it, the buyer disappeared and I had to relist it. There’s almost no punishment for them as anonymous bidders, and you then have to relist, which is more wasted effort.
- You’ll get scammers and spammers wasting your time. I’m not sure how much this happens in recent years because I use alternative methods to Flippa now, but I’ve had scammers before purchase my website and then try to arrange transfer of the domain and contents before payment had been made. They prey on people who are new to website selling and it’s just another annoyance and time-wasting activity on Flippa.
Now, this is not to say that there aren’t good-quality websites for sale on Flippa. There are plenty of them.
The problem is that you have to spend considerable time now trying to find the “diamond in the rough” websites amongst all the terrible, terrible listings.
When Flippa first launched, they were pretty much the only choice to buy and sell websites but, over the years, an entire industry has risen up and there are many new competitors and legitimate alternatives to the Flippa marketplace.
Flippa alternatives for buying and selling websites
Let’s jump straight into the alternatives to Flippa and what their advantages and disadvantages are.
Empire Flippers took the original model of Flippa – a marketplace to buy and sell websites – and improved on it by making it a curated marketplace. This means that they review each potential listing and verify the details of the websites before they can be listed for sale.
Advantages of Empire Flippers over Flippa
- The curated marketplace means the websites being listed are much less likely to be scammy or low-quality
- Empire Flippers act as a middleman so that you don’t have to communicate directly with the buyer
- They only focus on profitable websites for sale, no starter sites
Disadvantages of Empire Flippers over Flippa
- To even get the URL of the website you need to pay a 5% deposit
- The sites are more expensive because they look for around $1k a month in earnings before you can list
- As a buyer, they tend to sell websites for a higher multiple than you could get on Flippa (or in a private deal)
FE is a website brokerage that works with clients to sell their websites and internet businesses. They are more focused on business owners looking to sell, compared to the more hobbyist “website flipping” angle of Empire Flippers or Flippa.
Advantages of FE International over Flippa
- The listings are generally better than Flippa (although I have seen a lot of exceptions)
- They create and provide a very thorough prospectus to give buyers all of the relevant information they need on a website
- They handle all communication with the buyer on behalf of the seller
Disadvantages of FE International over Flippa
- It’s very rare to see a website selling for less than $30,000
- Their success/broker fee is higher (but you get white-glove service for this so for many sellers it’s not a disadvantage)
- A lot of the listings are businesses and not “passive” income websites (which means many of the sites don’t actually have that much organic search traffic)
Exchange Marketplace is a marketplace created by Shopify which offers e-commerce websites and internet businesses for sale. This is a relatively new marketplace, launched in 2017, but it is the go-to place to buy and sell e-commerce sites using the Shopify platform (they have a 10% share of the e-commerce market).
Advantages of Exchange Marketplace over Flippa
- It’s built by Shopify and sells Shopify websites, so all traffic and revenue is verified
- They offer the best e-commerce websites for sale
- You have to pay to use the Shopify platform, which means sellers are generally not scammers
Disadvantages of Exchange Marketplace over Flippa
- Not really a disadvantage as Flippa does this too, but you do have to communicate directly with the seller on Exchange Marketplace
- It’s only for e-commerce Shopify websites, which limits your options as a buyer to just one type of site
- Exchange Marketplace is not transparent about what its sale fee is. In fact, you have to actually list the site for sale before they even give it to you.
More alternatives to Flippa
I’m not trying to create the most comprehensive list of Flippa alternatives in this article, because the truth is that the vast majority of “alternatives” are even worse than Flippa in terms of the spam and scammers on the platforms.
If you’ve found a marketplace that is not mentioned in this article, I will probably be aware of it but will have chosen specifically not to include it. Use that marketplace with caution!
Here’s the “best of the rest” which includes some upcoming marketplaces that have future potential.
- Investors Club is run by Andrej from Alpha Investors, a well-known guy in the industry. With IC, buyers pay a subscription to get access to the listings, and sellers pay nothing. I love the idea and in my limited experience, the sites have been much higher quality than I’ve seen from FE.
- MicroAcquire is a new kid on the block with a really nicely designed platform that is completely free. There are some really interesting listings on there, including some which have received funding from investors, and it has a lot of potential. The one downside of free is that you get “pre-revenue” listings which just makes it harder to find decent sites for sale.
- Quiet Light is a well-known brokerage catering to larger sales of 6 figures upwards. Their NDA system never seems to be work properly and they don’t seem to reply to emails when you ask, but they do list high-quality sites.
- Dealflow Brokerage is a team of experienced merger and acquisition advisors who have a powerful network of investors and entrepreneurs. From what I have seen from Dealflow, they list very high-quality internet businesses for sale and the multiples seem reasonable (but a little on the high side as all broker sites are). If you have a bigger budget into six figures or more, they are one to keep an eye on for unique listings you won’t see elsewhere.
- Sideprojectors are typically hobby projects that are not earning as much as established websites and don’t have as much organic traffic, and they tend to be tech/developer-based projects or SaaS apps.
- IndieMaker was previously 1kprojects-another side project that lets you buy and sell side projects. This one specifically was aiming at projects for selling projects for less than $1,000. The vast majority are from makers who have never made a profit on their project (and want to sell with inflated prices) but it’s worth keeping an eye on for the odd deal.
Many try to become “the next Flippa” but most fail. Here’s a bunch that had potential but are no longer updated.
- Borderline is a place to sell or barter your side project to find a new owner. It’s mostly focused on web apps and developer-heavy projects but it’s completely free and just connects the buyer and seller to figure it out between them. Submissions have slowed to a crawl and most aren’t worth buying.
- Originally the Opportunity Overload email newsletter was started by the guys behind Need/Want, the company that created the Peel iPhone case and other physical products. I haven’t had a new email in a long time. It’s dead.
- Transferslot started as a side project to sell side projects – how meta! It was once a good place to find potential starter projects to build upon and grow but has been somewhat abandoned. FE International bought this site and did nothing with it. Another one bites the dust.
What is the best alternative to Flippa?
Spoiler alert: there is no “best” alternative to Flippa!
I’ve highlighted the best options above to help you buy or sell any kind of business. There were dozens of other alternatives that I completely ignored because they were spammy, outdated, or unused.
If you have any other Flippa alternatives you think I should include in this article, please contact me and I’ll check them out.