I started using Flippa a long time ago (or at least long in Internet years!), and over the years I’ve seen their business grow in a lot of different ways, from adding domain names to getting fully fledged businesses listed on the platform, it’s clearly been an exciting ride over there 🚀
All that being said, as they’ve grown, I’ve also had to develop some chops around identifying scammy-looking listings and avoiding fraud. Like most things in life, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
So, when I heard that Flippa had deleted 4,000 listings I thought, interesting, I want to hear more. I reached out to the CEO of Flippa, Blake Hutchison and he was nice enough to answer my questions, and agreed to let me share his answers with all of you because I thought you might be interested too – enjoy 🙌
Okay, let’s start with the main reason I reached out – Why did you delete all those listings?
For a long time, Flippa has allowed people to list with very little friction. That’s the idea with a marketplace. Make it easy, welcome most and drive liquidity. BUT, in our case, there was such little friction that it led to less good quality assets and less responsive sellers. So, for assets that were less good quality and where sellers were unresponsive we’ve removed them.
A listing must have a reasonable price expectation and where the seller receives enquiries they must respond. In some cases, sellers receive enquiries and don’t respond. This wastes everyone’s time.
We did give sellers the opportunity to re engage or make the necessary alterations first.
Interesting 🤔 so what is defined as good or bad quality?
In many cases it’s subjective but there are widely accepted characteristics. And additionally, some sellers (very few) deliberately abuse the privilege and then it becomes super obvious.
A few months back we launched a new scoring algorithm. This looks at listing data, seller verification and things like pricing to determine quality and provide preferential placement in Flippa’s search experience.
BUT, where we removed assets the definition of quality was more absolute. It related to unreasonable pricing. Or as mentioned, seller responsiveness.
What does Flippa expect of sellers?
Well, it’s more what buyers expect of sellers. What most sellers don’t seem to realise is that it is a hyper competitive marketplace. Buyers have a very good sense of pricing and valuation so it’s important sellers get this right from the outset. So many sellers will say, ‘let me try and sell it at this price and then if I don’t I might consider reducing it’. In that case, you just lost the opportunity. Once you overprice something buyers will move on. They immediately become suspicious of your intentions.
What are you working on to help sellers be more responsive?
Great question. There’s some basic improvements. We’ve just added ‘Reply to’ email. This is obvious and it should have existed years ago. Rather than logging in, a user can respond to any enquiry via their email. This speeds up response times dramatically. Coming next is the redesign of the messaging centre. You’ll be able to better see messages. Then, we’ll integrate video calling, saved responses and ‘broadcasting’. Broadcasting is a super cool concept so we’ll talk more about that when we launch.
What do you have to help sellers with pricing?
Remember that our core business is selling websites, stores, apps and online businesses. In 99% of cases, we sell aged assets with performance history be it usage or financials, so pricing is a science. We provide sellers with a range based on what other assets like theirs have sold for. For domains, it’s a bit harder so we police these manually BUT we have a service for premium domains where we’ll not only review the asking price but critically, put it in the hands of a specific customer base.
Thanks again to Blake for taking the time to answer my questions. If anyone has questions for Blake or comments on Flippa, knock yourself out in the comment section below!