uscgq.com

Website for sale

Sold by Buy It Now

$45,000 USD

Ended 122 days ago
Share:

Low maintenance, zero overhead, ideal website.

USCGQ is a educational study platform for students focusing on passing examinations for their maritime licenses.

At a glance ?

Touch a value for a description

Site Type
Services
Platform
PHP
Site Age
10 years

Traffic ?

Page Views
149,788
Unique Visits
4,054

Financials ?

Gross Revenue
$2,016
Net Profit
$1,966
AdSense Revenue
$109

Traffic ?

Uniques Page Views
Mar 17 4,482 154,711
Feb 17 3,796 143,745
Jan 17 3,884 150,909
Dec 16 3,187 88,676
Nov 16 3,690 96,207
Oct 16 3,842 103,625
Sep 16 3,336 100,438
Aug 16 3,042 70,959
Jul 16 2,495 60,652
Jun 16 2,511 73,028
May 16 3,420 191,024
Apr 16 3,774 116,699

Traffic Health ?

Pages / Session
18.89
Avg. Session Duration
00:16:38
Bounce Rate
32.35%

Top Channels ?

Page Views % of Total
Organic Search 89,712 58%
Direct 59,328 38%
Social 3,372 2.2%
Referral 2,299 1.5%

Top Countries ?

Page Views
United States 143,274
Philippines 4,842
India 768
Indonesia 532
Turkey 520

Financials ?

Monetization Methods

  • This website earns revenue with Google AdSense
  • This website also earns revenue with Advertising Sales and Product or Service Sales. It is recommended to request a video walk through from the seller to verify all revenue claims.

Last 12 Months Claimed Revenue and Profit

Revenue Costs Profit
Apr 16 $1,489 $50 $1,439
May 16 $2,013 $50 $1,963
Jun 16 $714 $50 $664
Jul 16 $1,044 $50 $994
Aug 16 $1,064 $50 $1,014
Sep 16 $834 $50 $784
Oct 16 $1,294 $50 $1,244
Nov 16 $1,149 $50 $1,099
Dec 16 $1,054 $75 $979
Jan 17 $2,083 $50 $2,033
Feb 17 $2,173 $50 $2,123
Mar 17 $1,794 $50 $1,744

Seller's Notes

This site has been a work in progress for years. It was started back in 2007 when I was in college and couldn't find a cheap resource to study for my license exams. Out of frustration, USCGQ was developed and has since helped thousands of mariners alike help pass their exams.

How is your business monetized?

Membership Fees

Adsense

Please describe your business model

USCGQ is a study resource for people looking to obtain a maritime license. On our site we offer a bank of over 22,000 questions that are no longer made available to the public. This makes our site invaluable to mariners who are looking to study for their exam.

We offer non-recurring subscriptions for $14.99 for one month and $39.99 for three months. The reason behind this is because users only use the site to study for an examination. Once they’re finished taking the exam they no longer need the site until they are ready to upgrade their license again. Typically a mariner or recreational boater will upgrade their license 2-4 times.

Are you the original owner of the business?

Yes

Which platform does the website use?

Custom built platform developed for this site.

Where is the site hosted and will this need to change after purchase?

The site is hosted on a VPS with HostGator.com; They monthly cost is $50.

Why are you selling the business?

The reason I'm selling this site is quite simple. I've developed this site for years and being a merchant mariner myself, I used my own site to obtain the final license in my career; Oceans Unlimited ton Masters license. I can no longer move up in this industry as far as licensing goes and have generally lost interest because of that. I would like to use this sale for other business ventures.

Is the website’s revenue kept separate from other business and personal accounts?

Yes, however you will have to setup your own PayPal account after the transfer.

If necessary, do you have tax returns available to support your revenue claims?

Yes, this proof can be provided to serious buyers and/or Flippa Marketplace Integrity.

Are you willing to provide live revenue verification?

Yes, upon request from serious buyers and/or Flippa marketplace integrity.

What are the main expenses of the business? 

$50 VPS hosting per month

Once per year, domain name renewal

I also pay for Sucuri once per year, but that is a multi-site plan and I'm assuming any serious buyer would probably have their own account/plan already or something comparable.

Please list all domain names you are including in the sale

USCGQ.com

Are you including any social media accounts in the sale?

No

Are there any email lists included in the sale?

Yes a list of over 15,800 subscribers.

Is there any intellectual property included in the sale or anything buyers should know about the site infrastructure?  

All questions and images were taken from the USCG.MIL website when they were released under the public domain. They are no longer listed.

What are the primary traffic sources of the site?

About 50% Organic 50% Referral

Do you use, or have you experimented with, social media marketing?

No, I have not.

Have you done any Search Engine Optimization?

Minor SEO with google.

Has the site ever received any search engine penalties (manual or algorithmic)?

No, to my knowledge my site has never received any search engine penalties.

Do you use, or have you experimented with direct / display advertising?

No, I have not.

Do you have employees or contracts with freelancers?

No

How is the content of your website produced? Provide a step-by-step breakdown

The questions and images were legally obtained under public domain which were released by the USCG’s government website.

Task 1 - Site Admin
Description – Answer support emails, mostly users having trouble logging in/subscribing.
Who - Owner
Hours per week - 2
How may people perform this task? - 1

Does the owner need specific skillsets in order to successfully operate the site?

Basic knowledge of FTP and MySQL will be helpful

Do you and/or any employees or freelancers provide customer support?

Yes.

Please identify and briefly describe your main competitors (1-3 is fine)

Other sites similar are Seasources, Lapware and Capt Joes. They are about 90% more expensive and offer less features than USCGQ.

What makes your website better than its competition?

Price, features, and platform. Our price is the cheapest you can find which allows us to capture clients from the entire spectrum. Our clients range from military, to recreational and professional mariners. The features we offer are also unique, in that no other service offers users an easy way to review, save, and sort their questions like USCGQ. The platform was developed by myself to help me pass my exams. I’ve developed the pages and structure of the site to benefit the user in a way that makes the site easy to browse and study.

Which ad networks does the website utilize?

AdSense

Are all ad networks transferable to the new owner?

Yes

Does your website utilize direct advertising?

No

Are you willing to sign a 3-year non-compete contract in the industry that the website operates in?

Yes

Will you provide 1-3 months of post-sale support & training, in order to ensure that the buyer is able to fully take over the business and its operations?

Yes

What are the primary growth opportunities for the business going forward?

For the most part, this site has only captured the audience in the United States. The agreed international language in the Maritime industry is English. I think if the next owner tapped into other countries (where the competitors are not) you would be able to increase sales substantially.

The community also really wants an offline app. A lot of users study and work where internet is either non-existent or very limited in service.

Are there any geographical limitations to the potential buyer of the business?

No

Other Information:

This site has been developed with of course the basics HTML/CSS/Javascript with PHP and MySQL doing the database and back-end work. The front end is all custom design and typed by myself and the backend (PHP/Javascript) has been developed from 2-3 different programmers. Again, all code is custom and unique to this website.

Plan for handing the site over can be fairly easy. The domain can be handed over through Godaddy and the website transfer can be done through cPanel (if you have it). I will gladly help get the site going on your own server and help you through any hiccups along the way.

Site Info

Site Established ? July 2007
Built With ?
Google Analytics Detected ? Yes
More info: BuiltWith

Domain Info

Domain Registered ? 15 July 2008
Registrar ? GODADDY.COM
More info: Wayback Machine and Whois

Site Uniqueness

Content Unique ? Yes
Design Unique ? Yes
More info: Plagspotter and Copyscape

SEO Presence

Pages In Google ? 7,010
MajesticSEO Inbound Links ?
SEOmoz mozRank ?
Alexa Rank ? 1,932,755
More info: SEOmoz and SEMRush

Comments

Noavatar
pradeep123z ( | $15 )
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:19:01 AEST

i live in india and i do not have knowledge how to run it after purchase you will you help as i want to set up a online site for me to earn extra income for me

and also what is you last price to hand over to me

with thanks
pradeep goswami
[email protected]

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 04:26:33 AEST

@pradeep123z
Thank you for your interest. Yes of course I will help and make sure the site is running normally after purchase. As for the price, I will not be releasing the reserve price until I start to see some bids.

Thank you.

Noavatar
gooddays ( new )
Fri, 07 Apr 2017 17:27:52 AEST

I assume the USCG is adding new questions to the exams. Where do you find new questions and other practice exam materials? When was the last time questions were added to the site to reflect updates from USCG?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Sat, 08 Apr 2017 01:12:21 AEST

@gooddays The Coast Guard is not releasing any new questions. The bank of 22,000 questions on this site is one of the few available resources who offer all the questions and illustrations. The site was last updated in October of 2016 shortly before the Coast Guard removed the questions and illustrations.

Noavatar
Oushus ( new )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 12:50:50 AEST

@uscgq What happens when they add new questions and the questions which are hosted on the website are made redundant?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 13:13:41 AEST

@Oushus Oushus, great question! When new questions are released they are parsed using a script on the site. However this greatly depends on the format and file type of the released questions PDF, Excel, CSV, etc.. During this process the script checks for duplicate questions and only inserts new questions. Each time new questions are released I usually hire a programmer to ensure the proper questions are either removed, added, or edited and that the database accurately reflects the release.

Noavatar
ollyomm ( | $43.9K )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 14:02:11 AEST

Do you have any safeguards against imitators using your content? Eg copyright

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 14:04:00 AEST

@ollyomm No, as it is, all the content is still under the public domain.

Noavatar
adavin ( | $48 )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 19:05:04 AEST

This site has an incredible amount of potential. I am one of the programmers Shawn has hired in the past to work on USCGQ. It has the top keyword search for "US Coast Guard Questions". I think with some focus and TLC, that this site could be earning possibly double it's current income or more. I actually implemented some of the payment methods and paid membership functionality into the website. As a developer who helped contribute to creating the service, I can tell you I have seen first hand the user interest and his client base, and it is indeed very genuine and high quality visitors. Very high ratio of paying customers vs. site visitors. The people who visit this site are (on average) professional/serious about educating themselves with the site's content. Many USCGQ members register with .edu emails addresses, or are part of educational institutions. Profit growth could be exponential if you are able to bring in other sources of reliable traffic as well. I would not be surprised if the buy it now were to be fulfilled. It's currently making $15k/yr.. I really believe you can turn it to making $30k/yr, which would put your $60k/buy it now way under value in my opinion. I will be watching, unfortunately I do not have enough to bid what I believe your site is worth. Good luck with the sale Shawn. This is a great investment for the future owner.

Px48x48 avatar 1396547464.3406533d9f88532844.86655571
edenhpg ( | $406K )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 21:36:42 AEST

@adavin The value of the site is based on what it makes now. Not what it COULD make, a 2X multiple here on flippa is advantageous (putting the BIN at $30K), a 4X multiple (the current 60K) is out of the realm of realism.

Noavatar
rick8484 ( | $16K )
Sun, 09 Apr 2017 23:18:53 AEST

Nobody is going to pay $60,000 for a site making $15,000 unless they are a riverboat gambler.

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 00:00:29 AEST

@adavin Thank you for the comments, its been great working with you!

@edenhpg You hit the nail on the head, which is why the reserve price is set to sell. But coming from a programmers point of view, clearly Adavin see's the potential in the site to achieve that 4X multiple. The buy it now price was intentionally set high because who wants to sell their site at under market value? That being said, this is the first auction listing for USCGQ and as we all know, pricing is negotiable. Thank you for your interest.

@rick8484 haha fair enough, or maybe a savvy entrepreneur? ;)

Px48x48 avatar 1396547464.3406533d9f88532844.86655571
edenhpg ( | $406K )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 05:35:25 AEST

@uscgq Yeah. I wasnt trying to give you a hard time, Im one of Flippas top buyers and sellers (almost $400K in transactions), and have done 47 website purchases over my time in this market (mostly outside of flippa). So i just was more or less trying to set some expectations. Im interested in the site, but not for near a 2X multiple, let alone a 4X

Noavatar
adavin ( | $48 )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 06:17:49 AEST

Admittedly I do not buy and sell websites or services like this. I don't surf here like I used to but that was my quick assessment. I am the kind of person who get hands on with developing them. I probably develop or work on 10-20 different sites(SaaS or other)/year. One of my clients who I have built almost their entire day to day operations and automations, along with their site has facilitated somewhere around 50-60K BTC (or roughly $70M worth of BTC) in transactions. I do freelance work for individuals/companies large and small. While I don't "flip" these sort of businesses, I have worked with enough to tell which ones are a success and not, or which ones have potential or not. USCGQ is both a success and has a huge potential.

I actually only meant to offer the extra insight in terms of user data and demographics, but I got a little carried away late last night with my comment. Apologies to everyone for that. Good luck with the sale Shawn.

Px48x48 avatar 1396547464.3406533d9f88532844.86655571
edenhpg ( | $406K )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 07:02:47 AEST

@adavin No worries, and no offense to me. But tell me more about the site that has done 70M in bitcoin value... sounds interesting!

Noavatar
adavin ( | $48 )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 07:54:43 AEST

@edenhpg sorry I don't want to hijack this post more than I probably already have..
That one in particular, is actually just a group of experienced bitcoin traders who deal more in p2p transactions where they directly take a commission. They have transacted somewhere between 50-60k btc; I don't know exact numbers but I know it is between there. They had been in the business before I dealt with them, but the tools I wrote for them help automate/expedite their transactions and the user process of buying bitcoins. What I developed I believe has been used to facilitate somewhere over 80% of their total transactions, since in the beginning (before I got to work for them) they were doing a lot of this manually.
Same as with USCGQ's scenario, my involvement is only helping code/develop what I was hired to do for them. I admire and am honored that I was able to work on what Shawn and some of my other past employers have built.

Noavatar
gooddays ( new )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:17:06 AEST

Can you provide more expense details? For example, how often do you or a programmer do custom programming? This will be an expense for me and something I will need to account for in my profit and loss statement. Also, is the code easily moved? I mean sometimes a site with older code will be on an old server and working just fine. However, when the code is put on different server at a different host there are all kinds of problems. I don't know if this will be an issue with this site but it is something I am thinking about. Thanks in advance.

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Mon, 10 Apr 2017 13:42:50 AEST

@gooddays There is no need for any more custom coding as of now unless you are looking to add more features. I haven't added any new features since the membership has started. So maybe once every 3 years you may decide to add more features? Depending on those features and the programmer you choose it could cost $500 to $2,000. That's hard to say.

As for moving the site, yes, it is PHP/MySQL there are no frameworks involved, as long as you have an up-to-date server you should be fine.

Noavatar
mpflip1983 ( new )
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 07:05:40 AEST

Hi, you mention the updating process and that you hire a programmer to do things when you update, but you don't list any programming expenses in the profit and loss. I looked at your competitors and it looks like they are updating questions and images from the coast guard at least a few times a year.. this sounds like something that is going to create some expenses..

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 09:48:28 AEST

@mpflip1983 The questions used to be only updated once a year every fourth quarter. The last full bank update that USCGQ did was in 2015 which is why its not listed on the expenses. Costs for a complete update of the database is around $300-500. The images were being updated as recent as last year, these were updated by myself. As far as my competitors, they could be late in applying the updates, they could be updating other features, making corrections to the questions themselves, etc.

Hope that clears things up, thank you for your interest.

Noavatar
cra726 ( | $1.86K )
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:22:13 AEST

In the Seller Notes you mention your competition. Specifically, who is your competition?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 12:58:17 AEST

I will list them in a PM to anyone interested.

Noavatar
gigmonk ( | $18K )
Fri, 14 Apr 2017 10:19:08 AEST

@uscgq pelase add me to google analytics.
I will PM my email.

Noavatar
cra726 ( | $1.86K )
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:14:32 AEST

what upgrades or other improvements would you recommend for the new owner to boost revenue?

Px48x48 avatar 1386813085.101552a9169d18c848.15066223
anefarious1 ( | $15.5K )
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 01:49:51 AEST

Do you think it would be possible to migrate this website to Wordpress or another CMS?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 02:21:16 AEST

@cra726 A lot of users are looking for some sort of app or mobile platform they can use. This would be my first upgrade recommendation. Second, to boost revenue, I would increase the monthly subscription fee. Lastly, I would invest in advertising. USCGQ has only been spread by word of mouth and I think advertising would definitely help boost revenue.

@anefarious1 This site can be migrated to any CMS.

Noavatar
creditfinder ( new )
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 08:41:32 AEST

Do you have any Payment history for 2010-2014?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 09:42:02 AEST

@creditfinder 2010-2014 adsense has been added. These are the only payments received during those years.

Noavatar
creditfinder ( new )
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 00:03:49 AEST

Is there any seasonal fluctuations? Since the revenue doubled from Dec to Jan?

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 04:39:50 AEST

Yes, those are the months most Academy's take their exams. That is why you see a spike in demand. However, thats not the case for all schools or programs.

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Fri, 21 Apr 2017 05:00:05 AEST

I do want to mention there is a mobile friendly version of the site under construction still. It is about 70% complete. You can view that here: http://www.uscgq.com/v3-live/q.php?cat=deck&book=1

Noavatar
dvobusiness ( | $150K )
Sat, 22 Apr 2017 13:56:29 AEST

@uscgq If the mobile friendly version is still under construction, will its completed version be included in the sale?

Px48x48 avatar 1388435425.813352c1d7e1c69283.70532175
TenDoves ( | $187K )
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 00:51:22 AEST

Hi, and thanks for this interesting listing.
Have you received any government or legal letters or take down notices pertaining to the content, or for any other reason? Can you document and prove that the all content was copied from the USCG site if you had to and would that documentation transfer to buyer? While Coast Guard removed the questions and illustrations in 2016 as you stated, do they provide this info to candidates in another format directly? Since Coast Guard is no longer publishing publicly, how would buyer go about creating new content to keep up with Coast Guard internal updates, competition, etc.? The existing content had depth, so I would think the new content would to. And at what cost? Appreciate your help, SL

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:05:57 AEST

@TenDoves

No I have not received any take down notices as I said above the content was released under public domain.
There is no way to prove that since they have removed the content.
No they do not provide this information to candidates in another format directly.
You will not be able to get new content unless the Coast Guard releases it. This is not an issue since the format and structure of the content does not change. Over the years "new" questions were rarely new, they only changed wording, the numbers, or scrambled the answers to prevent people from memorizing the questions.
I don't understand your last question about the existing content having depth, would you please rephrase?

Thank you for your interest.

Px48x48 avatar 1388435425.813352c1d7e1c69283.70532175
TenDoves ( | $187K )
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:18:35 AEST

Regarding your answer "There is no way to prove that since they have removed the content." Did you take a sampling of screen shots or video captures while you were copying?
Regarding new content depth, you addressed that question with your answer "This is not an issue since the format and structure of the content does not change. " Thanks, SL

Noavatar
uscgq ( | $45K )
Sun, 23 Apr 2017 05:02:46 AEST

@TenDoves

No, unfortunately I did not and it never crossed my mind to do that since we keep the site up to date with every new Coast Guard release anyways.

The Seller
Sellerdefaultavatar uscgq Shawn Clark
1 transaction totalling $45,000
Payment Methods ?
  • Flippa Escrow
  • PayPal
Community Watch

Does this listing violate the Flippa Terms and Conditions?

If so, anonymously report it here.