From Band to Business Success: How Two Musicians Turned a Niche Website into a Five-figure Sale

Daniel and Jason, co-founders and band members, started their online business journey at the beginning of the dot-com boom. 

They created three websites in the guitar review niche, with Gearank.com being the largest website.

After seven years of hard work, they decided to list Gearank (as the main business) on Flippa—but the sale included all three sites.

At the time of sale, the business was generating $4.2K profit per month and had 102K page views per month.

We sat down with Daniel to learn more about their story and how they were able to achieve such success in growing and selling Gearank on Flippa.

“Flippa can really get the results. I think that’s the important thing. They’ve got the buyers, and they can help along the way. I definitely recommend, especially for someone selling a site of our price, higher and maybe even a bit lower.”

Daniel, Seller of Gearank.com

Starting Gearank

Daniel and his business partner, Jason, started working together in the late 1990s during the dot-com boom. They had a background in music, playing in a band together during the late 80s-early 90s.

Cover image from the bands single “Strange Haze” in 1991, with band members Jason Horton, Ian Craig and Daniel Barnett.

“Jason was the one who started up a music software site really early in the internet days, that’s where it all came from. I’m still a bit of a gearhead and always on the lookout for the next cool piece of music gear to try out,” Daniel said.

Back in the day, Daniel studied programming at university and adapted to the emergence of the world wide web as it came along.

Over time, both Daniel and Jason started other gear-related sites, some of which were very successful and turned a decent profit. However, the success of these websites started to slowly decline.

One of the earlier guitar review sites Jason and Daniel created, also part of the sale.

They needed something else to keep the income flowing. That’s when they saw an opportunity with Gearank.

Gearank.com homepage

Daniel explained that people responded positively to their product advice, and it became very popular.

“Some folks think there are too many of those “best of” lists out there, but we brought a unique approach by researching the products and presenting the information in a straightforward and honest way. We even created an algorithm for ranking the products based on feedback and other factors. People seemed to like it and it ranked well on Google,” he said.

Gearank has 122 gear guides and counting. 

Success in Peak Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, their websites experienced a significant increase in traffic and income.

“It was crazy. Gearank.com was getting over 300,000 page views per month— because a lot of people were buying musical instruments. So it was a really good time during COVID, for income,” Daniel said.

However, when the pandemic ended, their traffic declined—sitting closer to 200k visits per month.

What they didn’t expect was for these visits to dwindle further—when Google rolled out its Product Reviews algorithm.

Deciding to Sell

Although they had considered selling earlier, they were hesitant to pursue it. However, when their traffic fell due to Google’s product reviews update, they decided it was time to sell. 

The traffic drop meant that their websites were no longer providing a sustainable income. They tried to address the issue but ultimately felt like they were out of ideas and lacked the energy to turn things around. Daniel’s business partner had been in the business for 25 years, while Daniel had been involved for about 14 years, so they both felt that it was time to move on to something else.

They sold Gearank for $67,500 USD.

“We knew about Flippa. We had looked into it before when we were thinking of acquiring a site about 12 years ago. We were just looking for businesses that could complement what we had at the time. However, we didn’t end up going through with it,” Daniel said.

Finding a Buyer on Flippa

Daniel found the process of listing his business on Flippa to be straightforward and user-friendly. Although he admitted it took some time to write the listing, get the numbers right and think about what to say about the business.

“It involved a bit of soul-searching,” Daniel added.

Daniel created a detailed listing that included information about his business, its history, and its financial performance. He also included screenshots and other visual elements to help potential buyers understand what his business was all about.

Once they listed their business, they received interest from several buyers. 

While they were pleased with the number of inquiries they received, they were not prepared for how quickly things would move.

It took about three weeks from listing to selling the business. 

“We were expecting maybe to get more offers from the United States, but it ended up being two Australians who were the serious buyers,” Daniel said.

Daniel said the most interested buyer of the two had a number of discussions with them. They had calls, and messages and he even sent them a letter of intent, which showed that he was serious.

“He’s run other websites before and he has a site in the musical instruments niche. It’s an Italian site from what I understand, so he had some insight into that,” Daniel said.

During the process of listing his business, Daniel had access to a dedicated Flippa representative who helped him along the way. 

“Despite some challenges we encountered along the way, the support team was quick to resolve them. And Ashwin was fantastic. He just guided us through the process, and he was there for us when we needed him, available to talk.”

Daniel was asked if he would recommend Flippa.

“Definitely, I would. Flippa can really get the results. I think that’s the important thing. They’ve got the buyers, and they can help along the way. I definitely recommend, especially for someone selling a site of our price, higher and maybe even a bit lower. It really is good to have someone to talk to. I think looking at those things with a dedicated rep, it’s definitely worth it.”

What’s Next for Daniel?

When asked about his future plans, Daniel said he is uncertain and considering taking a short break to think.

“Look, I might just duck back into being a web developer, a corporate web developer. Could be fun,” Daniel said.

“Or maybe I’ll get another business idea, and be operating that.”

With that said, we hope to see Daniel back on the Flippa platform as a seller in the not-so-distant future.

Inspired by this story? Read up on others who have successfully bought and sold their businesses here.

If you’re ready to sell, get a free valuation for your business here.

Like this buyer and seller, you too can master proper buyer and seller communications etiquette. We’ll show you how to that here.

    Courtney is the founder of Scribble Content and specializes in writing for eCommerce and related SaaS businesses.

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