Where To Buy Websites: Brokers & Marketplace Platforms

With the rapid expansion of the broader market in risk assets over the last few years there has also been growth in the number of business brokers and marketplace platforms catering to online business and profitable websites. And these platforms cater to investors of all types and experience levels.

Here are just some of the places to buy profitable websites, whether you are looking for a small buy and flip opportunity or a large, income-generating business to grow for the long term.

Where To Buy Websites - Brokers and Marketplace Platforms

Online Business Brokers: Small-Medium Deal Size

These business brokers and marketplace platforms will be best suited to buyers and sellers of assets under $100K in value, or in the low 6-figure range. Of course, some larger businesses will be listed and sold on these platforms too.

But most websites valued in the higher 6-figures and above will seek out brokers that have the diligence process and buyer pool suited to these larger deals. See the next section for more on this.

Flippa

Flippa has been around for a long time. The range of assets listed run the gamut, from low cost starter sites to 6-figure, highly profitable businesses. In years past the site was known for lower value and sometimes sketchy sellers but the current management has really changed things up, and the results are notable.

The Flippa platform of today is very different from before. It claims the mantle of #1 marketplace, which is certainly true if measured by the total number of deals closed and total market participants. Regardless, Flippa is a major player and should not be ignored.

No matter what size investor you are, Flippa is a great resource and option. Even beginner investors can learn a lot by tracking the activity on Flippa.

Flippa Marketplace - buying websites

Their verification process (both for buyers and sellers) went a long way to clearing out the bad actors. They also integrate directly with Escrow.com (using some sort of escrow solution is always advisable). The platform also forces sellers to disclose much more data related to the business than previously was the case. And that data is also open for all to see (which makes Flippa a great place to learn about the flipping process).

For sellers they offer low listing fees and competitive commissions (10% for smaller businesses). These come with some great perks, like discounts on Eskrow.com, contract templates and buyer vetting. I’m aware of one seller that found a buyer outside the platform but had them go through Flippa verification for security and convenience. No matter what size investor you are, Flippa is a great resource and option. Even beginner investors can learn a lot by tracking the activity on Flippa.

Niche Investors

Chelsea Clarke and her awesome team address a real sweet spot in the space. Chelsea is a successful site owner and flipper with multiple exits. Over time, she has attracted a community of folks seeking the same. With Niche Investors (which used to be called Blogs For Sale) she now helps investors acquire online businesses, and then successfully grow and exit from those businesses.

Chelsea is focused on cultivating a buyer/builder community, and is more aligned with the acquirer side.

She’s not a traditional broker and her site is not really a marketplace platform. Rather, she focuses on helping potential business buyers find success as investors. Niche Investors is sort of an extension of that mission, and usually has a nice variety of small to medium sized sites available. They also have a free buyer’s deal alert, where you can set buyer preferences for site type, price, etc.

Most brokers will, by nature, represent the sellers (and try to maximize the sales price). My sense is that Chelsea is focused on cultivating a buyer/builder community, and is more aligned with the acquirer side. I am a fan and regular consumer of her content. Niche Investors is highly recommended!

Motion Invest

Motion Invest caters to online business buyers and sellers in a somewhat unique way. The founders, Spencer Haws and Jon Gillham, are well-respected members of the community that go way back (so they know their stuff when it comes to profit-generating websites).

Because they are not traditional brokers the sites usually sell at current industry-standard multiples.

Motion Invest for buying online businesses

Although Motion Invest may look like a typical marketplace site, most of the businesses for sale are actually part of the owners’ portfolio. Their model from the start was to buy businesses that are undervalued or under-developed, and build them out. Buyers can then purchase profitable sites straight from the trusted and capable hands of Gillham and Haws. This is great for beginners and investors new to the space.

Their focus is on lower-priced websites making between $50 – $2000 per month. Because they are not traditional brokers the sites usually sell at current industry-standard multiples. You aren’t buying at a discount but you’re not over-paying either. And you avoid the risks of buying from an unknown seller.

Also, Motion Invest is available to buyers for questions and feedback even after the deal is complete. Along with CEO Kelley Richard, they have also expanded the platform to include non-portfolio listings, which means we can expect more well-vetted assets to be listed going forward from Motion Invest.

Money Nomad Marketplace

The marketplace pages at Money Nomad have been around for a few years now, but are less well known than some other places. But it’s a good addition to the market landscape for smaller investors or new buyers. Similar to some other deal curators listed here, Zach Zorn and his team have sourced a wide range of businesses selling in the $1K-$100K range.

In contrast to some others, the variety of business types here goes beyond content sites with affiliate and display ad monetization.

In contrast to some others, the variety of business types here goes beyond content sites with affiliate and display ad monetization. One of the major market participants in the space, Empire Flippers (discussed below), saw the early promise in what Zach was doing, and took a minority stake in Money Nomad Marketplace.

Because EF targets much larger deals this platform now benefits from their deal flow, by getting referrals of smaller assets. With a regular stream of these quality properties Money Nomad is worth keeping on your radar.

Investors Club

Investors Club takes a more curated approach to sourcing deals and managing their members-only marketplace. The platform was launched in 2019 by Andrej Ilisin, a long-time leader in the online business investment sector. They put a focus on helping market participants buy and sell online businesses privately.

Investors Club performs a full inspection after purchase as well, and can also provide transition and training assistance.

Investors Club - buying websites and online businesses

They provide 100% exclusive listings, with a focus on quality versus quantity. That comes with a well-structured and thorough asset vetting process (a detailed sample of their template is on the site). A distinguishing feature of Investors Club are the done-for-you legal docs (contracts, APAs, etc). No limit escrow means the buyer and seller are both fully protected even on small sized deals.

On the buyer side, there is a membership step that helps in better matching liquidity with deal flow. Buyers pay no fees for transfers, inspections or escrow. Investors Club performs a full inspection after purchase as well, and can also provide transition and training assistance. They also offer a Deals Concierge managed service, to assist with sourcing and matching deals to the needs of the buyer.

Offerings range from low 5 figures to 6-figure properties. As of this writing they had 52 listings with 9 priced over 6-figures. A recent 3-month sampling of 8 closed deals totaled ~$1.3M in value. So, the Investors Club is clearly working, for both buyers and sellers.

The Website Flip – Finders Fee Brokerage

The Website Flip is hard to describe in just a few lines. It has grown from a business blog to a central hub of rich data and information about the online business and website buying market. And its founder, Mushfiq Sarker, is a mainstay in the space. He is a prolific builder/investor that has completed nearly 200 online business flips with a focus on content websites. And one of his business lines is business brokerage.

Sellers that work through him benefit from inclusion in his deal feed, and exposure to the aggregated buyer pool that regularly use it.

He offers one of the lowest commissions in the industry, with a flat 3% success fee. But Mushfiq is an active builder and flipper, himself. His vantage point and experience will help inform both packaging and pricing decisions for sellers that work with him. It also means he’s connected to a vast network of expert buyers and brokers.

Also, his Deal Feed product, discussed further below, aggregates deal details from across multiple brokers and marketplaces. Sellers that leverage The Website Flip brokerage will benefit from inclusion in his deal feed, and exposure to the aggregated buyer pool that regularly use it.

Online Business Brokers: Larger Deal Size

These business brokers cater to buyers and sellers of assets over $100K in value, and even that is too small for some. These brokers and platforms act as match-makers for buyers and sellers of online or digital-first businesses valued in the high 6-, 7- and 8-figure range and above.

Their buyers will be large individual investors as well as private equity first and hedge funds. Because such investors have larger amounts of money to deploy they must focus on businesses generating more revenue and profits.

Website Properties

Website Properties launched in 2002 which makes it one of the oldest player in the space.

As with a few others on this list, they focus on larger deals (6 figure and above). And they offer all the usual appraisal, vetting and listing support expected from an established, full-service broker.

Their buyer pool numbers in the hundreds, but given that they have closed over 500 deals worth over $200M in transaction value they clearly have the right kind of buyers.

The business was founded by David Fairley, a 20 year veteran of the industry, who still leads the team today. Listings can range widely, from $250k to $25 million, and the average deal size as of 2022 is ~$1M. The types of business they handle also varies, including eCommerce, Content, Saas, and Amazon FBA. Given their average deal size it’s no surprise that they maintain fairly high standards, turning down 80% or more of companies seeking to list.

Their buyer pool numbers in the hundreds, but given that they have closed over 500 deals worth over $200M in transaction value they clearly have the right kind of buyers. For business sellers it’s also worth noting that their typical commission is in the 8-10% range, with lower rates for much larger deals. This is well below some of the other brokers listed here. Website Properties is a leading broker that deserves to be on your short list.

Empire Flippers

As noted above, Empire Flippers operates one of the biggest brokerage and marketplace platforms. They have become a cornerstone of the industry and focus, these days, on 6-7 figure deals and higher. But they recently launched an adjacent ‘marketplace’ platform, which may not get a broker’s special handling, but smaller sellers will certainly benefit from the big buyer pool. There are other brokers that handle smaller and even larger deals but EF, in many ways, is responsible for much of the market’s growth in the last 5 years.

These folks are top notch and I learned a bunch from them. Would-be buyers can do the same by signing up for free and exploring the many listings. 

Empire Flippers Marketplace - for buying online business

They have done this through consistent and quality education and outreach, as well as driving standards in the space. On the long list of positives EF is known for is their vetting process. They put sellers (and their properties) through a rigorous review process, to ensure that everything the seller claims is accurate. This includes site technicals, on-page and off-page, as well as store inventory and supply-chain factors (when applicable). And, importantly, the revenue history and profitability.

This focus on quality and accuracy is why their buyer pool is among the biggest in the industry, including private equity and hedge funds, along with many individual investors. This may also be why their standard commission is 15%, which is on the higher end of the range (deep liquidity comes at a price).

As of this writing, their latest weekly email listed 6 new brokered offerings, totaling over $3M in value, priced from $86K to $798K. They closed $6M in transactions in just the last 30 days, and have done over $415M in lifetime transaction volume. They had 205 active listings. The smallest was under $15K and the largest business is priced at over $12.9M.

I had the pleasure of meeting Co-founder and CMO Justin Cooke and his team in 2019 at the Chiang Mai SEO Conference. These folks are top notch and I learned a bunch from them. Would-be buyers can do the same by signing up for free and exploring the many listings. Aspiring sellers should do as well, and if you are thinking of selling your business you should definitely reach out. Regardless of the outcome, you will learn a lot from the Empire Flipper audit process.

Quiet Light Brokerage

Founded by Mark Daoust in 2008, Quiet Light is one of the most well-established brokers in the space. That their brokers are, themselves, experienced entrepreneurs who have had exits is a feature they like to highlight. Quiet Light is, unapologetically, a seller’s broker.

This focus on a seller experience that is tailored to the needs and features of the business being sold, is a strength by design. The team is known for taking a very consultative approach, which should result in sellers getting the highest price possible for their business.

…strengths include having a large and active buyer pool, and almost half their deals close at above original listing price.

quiet light business broker

Buyers should understand, going into any deal, that brokers ultimately represent the seller (and want to maximize the sale price). Due diligence is a buyer’s responsibility in the end. But would-be acquirers of online businesses in this price range generally get it. So, don’t expect some of the buyer features available on platforms mentioned above. Having said that, Quiet Light offers some great learning resources and a podcast that I never miss.

They cover a wide range of business types and sizes, with recent sales ranging from low 5-figures up to 8-figure deals. They currently have 31 listings in the 6-8-figure range. They offer sellers a competitive rate of 10% in most cases (lower for larger deals). Their declared strengths include having a large and active buyer pool, and almost half their deals close at above original listing price. If you have or seek a business in this price tier, Quiet Light has to be on your list.

FE International

FE International is a boutique broker and mergers and acquisition advisor, and a leading player in the online business M&A space. Their overall focus and expertise is on SaaS, ecommerce and content businesses, and they are making a concerted effort to compete and lead in these areas. But SaaS seems to be their sweet spot, having led deals like the acquisition of Drip by Lead Pages.

In terms of deal size and overall breadth of service, FE International most closely resembles Empire Flippers. They provide a high level of service in keeping with the larger transaction size they are known for (6-, 7- and 8-figure deals or above). The team performs deep and thorough due diligence, and stays fully involved through closing and transfer of assets.

…they report a lifetime closed deal value of over $1B, the most of any broker listed here. There is clearly plenty of buyer demand still out there. 

They also distinguish themselves by the depth of their buyer pool, boasting of a buyer network with $39B in capital. Like EF above, that deep liquidity commands a higher commission (15%). But they report a lifetime closed deal value of over $1B, the most of any broker listed here. There is clearly plenty of buyer demand still out there.

If your business is netting $10K or more in monthly profit and you are considering selling it, you should certainly speak with FE International. Likewise, if you are looking to buy a business generating this type of income (or more) then you should go through their process and get on their vetted buyer list.

There are many more places to buy websites and online businesses. The list above highlights some of the biggest and best for investors of all types. Of course, there are other options for folks that want to own a profitable online business.

DFY Services & Aged Domains

If buying a website with existing revenue is not a good fit for you, done-for-you websites might be. Done for you websites are an option for both beginners and experienced digital entrepreneurs. Beginners get the benefit of expert guidance and fast site setup. More experienced site operators may use these services as an extension of their own team, freeing them up to focus on other activities.

DFY site setup usually includes some niche and keyword research, content writing and the launch of the site. All of the service providers below are reliable and trusted firms. Some of them combine the standard services with building on an aged domain, which means a pre-owned domain that may provide a headstart with Google. Some also have pre-made, aged sites already built (worth taking a look if you are interested).

Odys Global

Odys Global is primarily focused on sourcing and selling aged domains. These domains, with a history and backlink profile, can improve a website’s SEO and provide a head start in terms of growth. Odys offers various services in addition to selling domains, including domain guidance and selection, auditing services and a referral network for other service providers.

While the Odys Global marketplace started with them finding vetted quality domains and selling from their own inventory, Odys also now provides a true 2-sided market for both buying and selling aged domains. Their recently launched Sell Your Domains (SYD) program means they also support sales of other people’s domain names.

Odys Global - Aged Domains and Services

These outside domains are still vetted, however. They recently reported that, based on their analysis, when they “applied (their) due diligence criteria to the inventory owned and sold by competitors…only 0.14% would pass” their vetting process. Impressive!

They provide a variety of other services to help with acquired domains as well. Some of these include:
Domain selection assistance via their mentor network
Discovery/strategy calls
Payment plans and options
Management and assistance with domain transfer
Website content and design sourcing
Private Discord community

Brand Builders Managed Website Services

BrandBuilders is a digital marketing services company operated by Jon Gillham and Spencer Haws, of Motion Invest above. There are certain business builders that are leading the way in this investment space, and these two are among them.  In addition to offering operator services this company provides premade and done-for-you, custom sites for small businesses and folks looking to get started in site ownership.

In addition to the standard niche research they also offer product analysis for clients considering an eComm business…and will deliver a DFY site in less than 1 month.

BrandBuilders specializes in affiliate and ad content sites as well as eCommerce stores (for both Shopify/FBA and drop shipping). As with similar services, they can help with the full start to finish process. But they also provide buyers with a range of content templates, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and training material to help owners maximize success.

In addition to the standard niche research they can provide, they also offer product analysis on Amazon for clients considering an eComm business. They are also notable for their fast turn-around (they will deliver a DFY site in less than 1 month). Check out BrandBuilders.

Human Proof Designs

Human Proof Designs is another long-standing, trusted service provider in the industry. They have been offering done-for-you and premade site services longer than many other players. They provide the full range of content creation and site build-out services, and much more.

HPD does the vetting and identifies quality aged domains, and then will work with clients to build out content once they decide to buy.

Human-Proof-Designs-DFY-websites

Unlike some other site providers, HPD regularly monitors the domain after-market for exceptional aged domains, which are domains that were active in the past but have expired or been auctioned.

They cost more because they usually have valuable, existing backlink profiles (which gives them a headstart with Google).

HPD does the vetting and identifies quality aged domains, and then will work with clients to build out content once they decide to buy.

A quick look at their current listings and it’s clear that Human Proof Designs have some domains with great history and excellent branding potential.

Website Operators: Outsourcing Site Management

In addition to these done-for-you site building services and the consulting and support they provide, some of these companies also offer website operations and ongoing management. Website operators offer outsourced site management, and can take care of all monitoring and management activities, as well as continual growth activities.

…these website operators’ services usually take a consultative, collaborative approach, so you can tailor the service to your preference.

So, you can have them continually oversee technical and performance status, while also doing ongoing keyword research and content creation as well. But these website operators’ services usually take a consultative, collaborative approach, so you can tailor the service to your preference.

Two of the services above that also offer managed website services are Human Proof Designs and BrandBuilders. Many business owners leverage these services in various ways so get in touch if interested.

Investing in Websites Through Funds

For investors that don’t have the time or expertise to build or buy their own site, there is an alternative. It is possible to allocate money to profitable websites and online businesses through a fund vehicle. The investment fund manager, then, handles the investment decisions and property management.

One key benefit of funds is the diversification they offer across multiple assets. The other is that funds are a truly passive investment method.

These kinds of funds accept investment from individuals and institutions, and then allocate that capital following a particular investment theme or thesis (and focused on certain revenue-generating digital assets). One key benefit of funds is the diversification they offer across multiple assets. The other is that funds are a truly passive investment method. This is not to say there is no risk, of course.

Investing in profitable websites and digital businesses through specialized investment funds is a major topic in itself. And it’s one that I will tackle in a dedicated post another time.

Website Flipping Course & Education

OK, this is a section of one, but it’s a big one. There is really just one widely acknowledged and comprehensive course on digital business and website flipping. Mushfiq from The Website Flip launched The Website Flipping Course in early 2021 and I jumped on it.

Website Flipping Course from The Website Flip

Mushfiq has been growing and exiting websites (over 200, some for six-figure exits) since 2008. In addition he has become a thought leader in the industry. He is a prolific flipper and many buyer/builders track and model his moves and methods.

I am very selective about the courses I buy, not just for the monetary cost but also the time-spend. The Website Flipping Course is fluff-free and packed with value.

website flip course on website flipping

Fortunately, he shares all his processes and many secrets in precise detail in this course. I happily paid for this course when it first came out, based on his reputation and the ton of value I had already gotten from him. It covers lots of ground beyond deal-making. The audit techniques, technical SEO guidelines and post-acquisition growth hacks are all helpful for everyday site management.

I am very selective about the courses I buy, not just for the monetary cost but also the time-spend. The Website Flipping Course is fluff-free and packed with value. It’s organized well to walk you through a full end-to-end training, but can just as easily be consumed one module at a time. His 4-step framework will give you a taste of what to expect from the full course. Highly recommended!

Finding The Best Websites For Sale

With so many different options, it might seem hard to keep up with all the website investment and digital business brokers and marketplaces. Fortunately, there are two excellent and open platforms that solve this problem.

These tracker sites provide near real time updates on the latest deals, including price, revenue and profit, niche details, revenue model and more. 

You can easily search and track listings for nearly two dozen brokers and marketplaces. These tracker sites provide near real time updates on the latest deals, including price, revenue and profit, niche details, revenue model and more.

Centurica – MarketWatch

Centurica is an exceptional company, holding a unique place in the industry as the go-to buy side due diligence provider. This due diligence service is something that deserves a deep-dive all by itself, but it’s really best for larger deals. However…

Centrurica also provides Marketwatch. This free tool helps you search listings (470 total, at the time of this writing) between $20K and $5M, across 14 sources. Marketwatch also shows inventory assets for ecom businesses, when applicable.

Price transparency, volatility and liquidity are notoriously hard to track for these digital assets. That’s why DealFeed is such a game-changer.

The Website Flip – DealFeed

website flip deal feed screen

DealFeed is provided by The Website Flip (noted in the broker and course sections above). DealFeed currently scans for deal activity across 11 sources. This tool also offers a real differentiating feature, which is deal age.

DealFeed also does something very important: it updates existing deal records when the details (price, for instance) change. This becomes clear right on the main page. As of this writing the market summary on the main page showed 245 total deals (25 new in the last 7 days). It also notes that 81 deals had recent valuation changes, and 42 deals had recent changes in multiple.

Timely and accurate market data is not something I normally associate with alternative assets. Price transparency, volatility and liquidity are notoriously hard to track for these digital assets. That’s why DealFeed is such a game-changer. Bookmark it now!

While a few of the largest broker platforms are common to both of these tools, most of their deal updates come from unique sources. That means you should definitely monitor both of these excellent tools!

Likewise, all of the brokers, platforms and other services listed here are great resources for anyone looking to invest in online business or buy websites. Whether you are looking for where to buy websites or sell websites (if you already have a profitable online business), then there are great options for every level of investor.

Just remember that online business investment is exactly like other forms of investing in a very important way: education and proper due diligence is essential to long term success. Good luck in all your website buying, building and selling!

by Jason Paul Hendricks

Jason’s experience ranges from bootstrapped solo startups to corporate roles with publicly traded Fortune 500 companies. On Digital Downshift he shares what he has learned over three decades of entrepreneurship and career-hood, both his mistakes and successes. With an obsession for business building and continuous learning, Jason seeks to apply these lessons (and help others do the same) to achieve more happiness and security.

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