Goran Duškić is a longtime Flippa user. He’s been buying and selling websites for longer than many of us knew that the concept even existed. These days, he’s considered an expert in the space and even built an incredible analytics website called Webmaster.Ninja that anyone who is running multiple websites at once needs to discover.
We spoke with Goran for our Humans of Flippa series, which you can view just below, but we also wanted to learn more about what excites him about the digital landscape and learn more about what he has built during his time as a digital entrepreneur.
Read along below and perhaps you too can find success with a digital empire.
When did you first start using Flippa and what was that first transaction?
I signed up on Flippa 9 years ago, but the fun starts 7 years ago. That’s when I bought a website with revenue from AdSense and good traffic. Unfortunately, my AdSense account was banned within a month. I did not make a good first purchase! So, I did what any proud man would do, stuck my tail between the legs and headed for the exit.
However, I made sure the story didn’t end there. 3 years later, I decided to make a comeback! I was listening to Niche Pursuits podcast and heard these great stories from other website investors, and I realized I was onto something the first time, I just didn’t do all the steps correctly!
So I went back to Flippa, and this time I bought a new website! This time I spent only $500 on a website that had an old domain name. In my mind, the domain name itself could be worth $500, but the website was making around $20 per month.
It is interesting to share this story with you, because just this month, it reached full circle. During the 3 years, I invested only $500 into this website. During that time, the website made $1050, so I made my money back. However, there is a plot twist. Last month I sold this website for $1250, so the total is $1000 invested, $2300 ROI with very little work involved.
Why did you sell this website?
I sold this website website because I had no long term intentions to build it, and I didn’t have a strategy to grow it. It was my first purchase, and I bought it to feel the waters, and to have “passive income”. I put passive income into quotes because there is some work involved, but to me it didn’t feel like work and I considered it as passive income. To first time buyers with no prior experience to web design, web hosting, buying domain names, and other geeky stuff, they may consider this a lot of work.
What do you look for when browsing Flippa? What sort of metrics? What sort of businesses?
I have a very specific set of metrics, niches and types of websites I buy. But then again, I imagine every website investor have their own specifics they are looking for. I am looking for old websites, in a niche that isn’t dying. Having said that, I do “gamble” on occasion, so at the moment the website that’s giving best returns out of all websites I bought is a website that’s giving free online games made in Flash technology. Yes, the Flash that died on the 31st December 2020.
I know that this is not going to last, but I already made 250% on my investment, and I stopped pouring money and time into that website a year ago. One would think that I was lucky, but I bought the website super cheap because the old owner was right to exit a dying technology.
But I digress. I am interested in old websites (at least 4 years old), in exciting niches, and I am limited by budget. I don’t buy big websites, and I no longer buy micro sites like the one I mentioned above for $500.
The traffic has to be organic, because I understand SEO, unlike social media or paid traffic.
How do you know when you’ve found something good?
Honestly, I never know for sure if I found something good. Sometimes I like what I found, but it takes 12-24 months to realize if I found something good. I once bought a website for $5000, invested another $5000 into it, and now this website is making a smashing profit of $30 per month. So it’s not like I am pretending to be all wise and always finding a perfect website.
What tools do you use for due diligence before making an acquisition?
How do you know when it’s time to sell a website?
Based on the stories I shared earlier you can get the gist of my MO. But let’s recap. I sell a website when it no longer supports my strategy. With my first purchase, my strategy was to test the waters. Learn the ropes of making first steps, getting that first proverbial AdSense check.
Once I outgrew that, I had several options. One of them was to wait for the right buyer, with the right offer (high multiple) or sell it immediately on a marketplace such as Flippa.
What’s a great success story that has involved Flippa?
I think the biggest success story is the platform that Flippa built which has allowed me to buy websites that on average produce great results! I mentioned some success stories and failures, but the most important thing, and the great success story is that when I draw the line on all my investments and returns I am net positive, and I own a lot of websites that will continue to generate income during the following years. Some will even do it in a passive way.
Here’s the kicker, the passive income isn’t even my biggest achievement. It’s the: “work from home, work on my own hours, choose my projects, work from any country with an Internet connection, work with digital products”. I have a thing for digital products, I can’t stand dropshipping and sending physical products across the World. It’s a great business, but it’s not for me.
Do you buy from companies or individuals? Do you buy websites as a company, or individual?
I buy websites as a company, and I buy from companies. I am sometimes at a disadvantage because of this, but I sleep better at night. All my websites are on the company books, revenue goes strictly to the company’s bank account, and when I buy a website I use company’s money. Sometimes, this means I can’t buy a website, because an individual is selling it and taxes would kill the deal.
But, that’s a long term business decision I made, and I am happy with it.
What about a not so successful story? What did you learn from a mistake that you made?
When I made my first purchase, I didn’t do proper due diligence, and I was naive to think a website can make such returns. I lacked experience, I was prepared to risk more than I could lose and fell for the “to good to be true” offer.
What advice do you have for someone using Flippa for the first time?
I think a great advice is in previous answer. Avoid being that guy.
How did you come to develop Webmaster Ninja? What does it do? Who is it for?
I usually don’t build websites from scratch. Webmaster.ninja is that rare occasion where I bought a domain name, and started building. It’s designed to help website investors and operators managing several websites. In particular, if your website is making money on Google AdSense.
Our system will email you if:
- your domain or SSL is about to expire,
- your email is blacklisted,
- your website speed is bad
- your website is not loading
- your nameservers have changed
- your domain name has moved to a different registrar
- your website gets new backlinks (or loses them)
- your DA and PA changes
In case you want to see Google Analytics traffic for your websites from within our console, you can connect your Google Analytics account. If you want to track the revenues for your website on Google AdSense, you can connect your Google AdSense account and then see the revenue as well.
Also, we’ve partnered with Flippa to give you their website valuation tool, but even quicker! If you connected everything, our system knows a lot about your website, so the input process is quicker and automated.
Whats your next project? What can we expect from you and/or Webmaster Ninja in 2021?
We are just about to launch integration with Google Search Console, so even more data will be available for your websites inside webmaster.ninja if you have a GSC account for your websites.
As for my next project, you never know which website I will buy. But I would say that’s still at the hobby stage, and for passive income. So, I don’t think about my “next project” a lot. I am very committed to my main business whoapi.com, and it’s spinoff webmaster.ninja. When we built webmaster.ninja we used a lot of APIs that were built and managed by our parent company WhoAPI.