Flippa.com: A Year in the Life of a Start-Up

Today we celebrate Flippa’s first birthday!

Twelve months since the launch of the Flippa website marketplace, we thought it a good opportunity to review our first 12 months in business, celebrate our successes and give people some insight into the year in the life of a start-up.

In The Beginning…

The website trading stalwarts amongst you may remember that SitePoint used to have a forum category dedicated to buying and selling websites. As the Websites for Sale section of the forum became more and more popular, SitePoint’s board members realized that the world wanted a dedicated website marketplace, and it turned into the SitePoint Marketplace.

Development of Flippa 1.0 was first considered way back in mid 2008, and as custom developed apps have a tendency to do, development time blew out. Flippa was actually rebuilt from the ground up twice before it finally launched on the 22nd June, 2009.

June 2009: Flippa Goes Live


On 22nd June, 2009 a small team of developers launched Flippa.com from an office in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia.

The initial launch wasn’t all smooth sailing. Some people didn’t like the look, the fees structure, and some of the functionality, but the team, led by General Manager, Dave Slutzkin, were quick to implement changes based on marketplace feedback.

By the end of our first month, Flippa had helped trade a modest $200,000 worth of websites and the transition from SitePoint, although a little bumpy, had been a success.

July 2009: Recorded First Record Sales Week

In the first week of July 2009, Flippa broke a long-standing SitePoint Marketplace sales record. By the end of July the marketplace had traded over $900k worth of websites and domain names, received 1,300 listings and over 3,600 bids.

In a rush to launch the first live iteration of Flippa in June, branding had taken a bit of a back seat. Realizing the Flippa logo could be improved, we enlisted the help of our sister site 99designs and launched a logo design competition. The successful design is the one you see today.

Here’s an awesome logo design we decided not to use (although Dave still uses it as his desktop wallpaper for some reason):

Flippa Awesome Logo

August 2009: Compete Stats and Verified Google Analytics Added

In an ongoing effort to provide buyers with as much statistical information as possible, Compete stats and verified Google Analytics were added to auction listing pages.

Website trades dropped a bit, down to $790k, while listings and bids remained pretty steady.

September 2009: Trust Rating and Tweet Listings Upgrade

The Flippa trust rating system received a complete overhaul in September. Dave explained the changes in his release post:

We went right back to scratch and thought about what the trust ratings are for. We’re constantly checking for fraud and for duplicate accounts, and the trust ratings need to give you a sense of how confident we are in the identity of the person you’re dealing with. The more confident we are, the more confident you can be that they’ll deal openly and honestly – or at least that if they are dishonest we’ll ban them permanently. Having more information makes this much easier for everyone!

A pretty successful seller upgrade was also added with the release of Tweet My Listing.

September brought with it the first $1 million trading month with $1m worth of websites being bought and sold, 1499 new listings and 3300 bids.

October 2009: $500,000 in trades in 1 week

The highlight of October was the recording of the half a million dollars in website trades taken during the second week. New features continued to be rolled out including the ability to add YouTube videos to listings and search by most active auction.

By the end of October, Flippa recorded $1.1m in trades, 1400 new listings and 3400 bids.

November 2009: Removal of Automated Private Listings

Although this wasn’t a popular move, the removal of automatic re-listing of unsold auctions as private sales helped to reduce the turn-over of listing on the New Listings page, keeping listings fresh. People listing sites as Private Sales for the very first time had less competition from other re-listed sites.

Trades continued to increase with $1.1m worth of sites changing hands, 1500 listings and 4100 bids.

Flippa also hired a marketing guy in late November!

December 2009: Website Tags

The massive annual Sitepoint/99designs/Flippa Christmas party didn’t stem productivity during December. Website tags was released so sellers could loosely categorize their sites, making it easier for buyers to find certain style websites.

Sales remained steady with $1.1m websites traded, 1800 listings and 5700 bids places.

January 2010: Watch Sellers and Regular Blogging

In an effort to provide more education to Flippa members, as well as more index-able content for search engines, Flippa started a regular blogging regime.

The ability to Watch Sellers was also added to help buyers keep an eye on their favorite sellers’ new listings.

As a result of the holiday period, sale dropped to $850k for the month but new listings and bids increased with 2200 listings and 8400 bids.

February 2010: Shiny New Listings Page

The redesign of our listing pages had been on the cards for some months and finally we were able to launch the new look style. Making the website listing pages more comprehensive by including PageRank, visit stats and revenue aimed to assist buyers in finding opportunities quicker.

Website sales increased to $1.7m in trades, with 2300 listings and 10,500 bids.

March 2010: Clearance Rates & Advanced Revenue Reporting

March ’10 was a big month for updates. The clearance reports page was released to help sellers discover popular niches and assist buyers in finding less competitive areas in the marketplace. Advanced revenue reporting was also added to the seller’s listing process in an effort to help highlight aged websites with revenue.

Retweet Sold on Flippa

The sale of Retweet.com smashed Flippa’s highest auction sales record when it sold for $250,000, pushing monthly website trades to over $2m, while listings increased to 3,300 and bids to 15,000.

April 2010: Escrow Payment Integration

Aimed at improving transaction security for buyers and seller, the Escrow release had been in the pipeline for some time. Challenges with integrating Escrow’s API meant the implementation took a little longer than initially planned but it was finally release in mid April.

Sale for April decreased slightly with $1.9m in websites traded, 3,400 listings and 14,000 bids.

May 2010: Promote It Page and other Secret Stuff

Promote Your Flippa Auction

The promote your listing page was subtly released to help sellers promote their website auctions via social media. Of course, there are some other updates in the works that you’ll have to wait for.

Sales for May bounced back to a little over $2m, with 3000 new listings and 12,600 bids.

Thanks to our Members

We’d like to say a big thanks to all those who continued to trade on Flippa and say G’day to the new Flippa members. In just 12 months, Flippa has doubled the amount of websites being bought and sold in the marketplace and continues to steadily grow.

Our aim for the next 12 months is to promote quality in the marketplace, assist buyers and sellers in making secure and educated transactions and increase the profile of what is still a young marketplace.

There are exciting things to come, and we look forward to sharing them with you in the not too distant future. Happy trading!

  • http://flippa.com Mark Harbottle

    Well done guys. Love your work! Happy birthday Flippa. Hold the party off until I get back 🙂

    • http://flippa.com/ Andrew Krespanis

      Don’t worry Mark, we’ll never forget that Flippa really started with you locking a developer in your office for two weeks and only letting him have food or water when he had a new feature to show you 😉

  • http://www.kerryfinchwriting.com Kerry Finch

    Happy Birthday guys. Great story and great future.

  • http://desonidecream.com domainerx

    Happy birthday, Flippa. We share something in common.

  • http://enzovullo.co.uk Enzo

    Well done guys, happy birthday!

  • http://www.payblogreviews.com Buy Reviews

    Flippa is the best, keep on to improve in future

  • http://laptoplaces.com Leppie

    well done, good move on the right track…

  • http://www.yurckk.com Yurckk

    Happy birthday Flippa, a lot of changes during a year period tho. Hope to hear more cool features here 🙂

  • caesar97

    Love your work! Happy birthday Flippa.
    Great story and great future

  • http://friendzpalace.com Ariyan

    Happy Birthday To You Flippa , Many Many Happy Returns of the Day

  • http://www.shenie.com/ Shenie

    Happy birthday, Flippa. Move forward.
    Love your work too!

  • http://www.knowledgeville.net/ Knowledgevlle

    I am so glad I found this site!

    Well done guys! Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.seohospital.com Mike

    Love your site! my fav. place to buy web sites!

    Flippa is a killer start up!

  • http://www.techtalkies.com/ Kim

    I like flippa. Its really a good platform to sell and buy sites.

  • http://blackberrycellphone.net Moo

    Well done guys, happy birthday!

  • http://www.cheapdigitalslrcamera.net Nardiansyah

    Congratulation FLIPPA… You’re the First..!

  • http://idontgiveascam.com Chris

    Congrats, as you guys know — most startups never make it one year… Sharing your story is sure to help and inspire other entrepreneurs on the road. THANKS FLIPPA!

  • http://www.flipwebsites.com Website Flipping Tips

    Happy Birthday guys. Congrats on the successful year. I’m glad you didn’t go with the other logo. What is David thinking? I think it’s awful…lol. I’m glad you went with the one you have now.


  • http://photoshopbrushes.eu/ Vahid

    Single auction page is getting too messy, it was much more better before…

    BTW Happy Birthday Flippa 🙂 I like you :>

  • http://www.wpyuzu.com SirKhan

    Great job guys, I’m a regular Flippaer and I like it very much. Two things I’d like to see in the future (if I can ask for features):

    1.) Permanently remove a listing from my search results. I do a regular search and those listings that don’t interest me at all would be “closed” or “collapsed” by clicking an X or something on them and next time I won’t see them in the search results. It would be so much better to filter the thousands of results…

    2.) Affiliate system? I have a blog about website building, wordpress themes, etc. I’d like to refer a few visitors to you guys and get some commission if they buy a website or something here on Flippa. Everyone’s doing it just take a look at Amazon, Indeed.com, eBay, etc.

    Thanks, keep up with the good work guys,