Saturday, August 14, 2010

People, don’t buy web sites on eBay

Hi All,

it's been awhile since I posted anything here. I think I am back in business and have something to write about.

Recently, I've been thinking about selling some of my websites. I have quite a few of them now and would prefer to concentrate my efforts on a handful of the profitable ones rather than on a bunch. In case you are curious, I have a custom affiliate publisher script written in .NET and a couple of other pretty cool scripts such as a modified proxy and an url shortener which I thought I might sell to offset some of my recent expenses.

Naturally, I went to eBay to check if there are any competitors and to check out the price brackets on comparable offers. Well, all I can say is that the picture is grim.

Let's open eBay and type 'affiliate web site' in the search bar. Narrow the results to 'business and web sites for sale' on the left in the search results. We will see sites that cost $0.99 and sites that start at $49.95. There is almost nothing in between, however there is a small amount of sites over $100.

Web sites for a dollar

Let's look at the first type of a 'deal' - the sites for a buck. It's nice to see that there are some bids on them, that just indicates there are still some people in that world that still believe in miracle or free cheese perhaps.

The sites for a buck do not invent anything new. They all have a small but colorful screenshot right on the eBay ad page, you know the one that you can't zoom in at all. There is a lot of bright green or pink text around explaining how you can become a millionaire by making money at home. You might even ask yourself a question - how these people can make money selling such a cool looking web work for a buck? Don't worry, they don't sell you just a web site, they sell you hosting. Here is how it works. You pay them a buck, they send you a login and password to the web site that is hosted with their very own hosting company. Hosting with them is not too expensive, but it's not cheap either. It starts at about $10 a month. In case you didn't know, anybody can partner with Godaddy or Hostgator and open a reseller hosting account for a small percentage of profit. These people do exactly that. They register with Godaddy and you essentially buy the website for a buck and hosting for $10/month.

It's relatively cumbersome to get rid of that hosting package or move the site you think is yours to another provider. The most honest of those people do not restrict you in your move, but there are some sellers that are ridiculously hard to deal with. The problem is that you don't know who they are when you buy your website for a buck on eBay.

Free Amazon sites

The second type of affiliate sites sold on eBay may cost you a tad more up front, but in most cases they don't come with hidden charges as hosting. You however should thoroughly read the item description. These are the 'sites' for $49.95. Here is how this business model works.

These guys go ahead and sign up with Amazon for a free affiliate account. It's free and you can do it yourself in about 5 minutes. Amazon approves everyone these days.

Next, they click a couple of buttons and Amazon generates a 'site' for them, such as this -

Last, they go to eBay and sell you this site for $49.95. Very easy money. This is how these people technically can earn $100 per hour if they were selling 2 sites like this an hour.

The most advanced of them move a step ahead and buy a domain name such as which points to... where do you think? Same Amazon built-in store. This will cost you an extra $10 bucks a year, which is an ok price to pay for a nice domain name consisting of good keywords.

So... is there anything you cannot do yourself here? No. Should you buy this junk from eBay? Yes if you want to part with some of your hard earned money for the profit of eBay and some shady businessmen around it.

No comments:

Post a Comment