What is Empire Flippers?
Empire Flippers specializes in helping people buy and sell online business. Empire Flippers is the number 1 “curated marketplace for buying and selling established businesses.” The company was founded in 2013 by Joe Magnotti (CEO) and Justin Cooke (CMO), and has sold over $61,000,000 worth of Amazon Associates businesses, affiliate websites, e-commerce businesses and many other types of online businesses. Empire Flippers has been featured on BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, Shopify, Moz, and many other outlets, which solidifies their legitimacy. In this Empire Flippers review, I will discuss their services, credibility, customer service and my own personal experience of purchasing an affiliate website for $49,000.
If you want to jump straight to my experience using Empire Flippers, click here.
Empire Flippers Track Record
From my own experience, which has been backed up by Empire Flippers employees, many websites sell within a few days to a few weeks after being listed on their marketplace. I actually sold a website using Empire Flippers and it was sold in 2 days. In the last 3 months, 95% of their listings have sold. Currently, they have 102 active listings that you can choose from in a wide range of prices from over $1,000,000 to under $20,000. Whether you are looking to purchase an already established website that is proven to earn money or want to sell your website to free up capital, Empire Flippers is there to help. Their intensive business background vetting process ensures that only quality listings are on the marketplace, which is much different than Flippa.
Empire Flippers is the top quality website/online business brokerage in the world. Trust me, you want them to handle all the obstacles that come with these types of transactions because there are many.
Quick Facts About The Company
- Sold thousands of websites
- 95% selling success rate
- Businesses/websites must have a 6-month SOLID track record of at least $500 profit+ per month
- Businesses/websites must be using Google Analytics for at least 6 months
- Website manipulation to inflate traffic or income is unaccepted
- The use of PBN’s is noted
What Services Does Empire Flippers Offer?
The services differ depending on if you are the buyer or seller, so let’s take a look at the breakdown:
If You’re A Seller
Business Evaluation (Seller) – Use the Empire Flippers website to enter your business for evaluation. Empire Flippers will give you an estimation of what your website or business is worth, if you are interested then you’ll be connected with a business specialist to begin the vetting process.
Business Vetting (Seller) – Before a listing goes live, the team inspects all aspects of the website or business. During this process site ownership is verified, traffic is verified, earnings are verified and all other assets are inspected. Basically, Empire Flippers does not want junk or scam listings to tarnish their reputation. This intensive check ensures that the buyer is purchasing a quality asset. For first time listers, there is a $297 vetting fee which ensures serious sellers but note, this is 100% refundable if a listing gets rejected. The vetting process can take around a week. New listings are posted once a week on Monday’s at 7am EST, and an email blast to over 45,000 people shares the newly available listings.
Listing Terms (Seller) – Empire Flippers is a brokerage so they earn income from charging a selling commission. The commission breakdown is as follows, and is based off the final selling price, not listing price: 15% for business that sell for up to $1m, 12% for business that sell from $1m – 2m, 10% for businesses that sell from $2m – 5m, and 8% for business that sell at $5m+.
Empire Flippers asks for 6 months exclusivity rights on the listing, meaning the business cannot be listed with another broker during this time since they put ample work into the listing on their end. When a business is listed for sale, the seller must sign a non-compete agreement that lasts 3 years. There is no cost to the buyer for purchasing a business.
If You’re a Buyer
Business Inspection (Buyer) – Once a potential buyer has found a listing they are interested, they must put a 5% deposit on the listing in order to gain access to the URL, P&L and Google Analytics. This 5% despot is fully refundable, and a credit card can be used, but it prevents URLs and businesses from becoming overexposed by non serious buyers. The prospective buyer will be given an Excel document that shows all income streams of the business, as well as expenses. The document also easily shows users and page views for each month, which can be confirmed with the Google Analytics access. This phase is crucially important since it’s the buyers’ job to do their own due diligence and to make sure they are purchasing a desirable asset. If the business looks appealing, a conference call will be set up that allows an Empire Flippers representative to create a conversation between the buyer and seller. During this call, the buyer can ask any questions that arose when looking through Google Analytics and at the P&L, along with any other business questions.
Buyer And Seller
Offer and Negotiations (Buyer and Seller) – Once a decision to purchase the business has been reached, there are two options the buyer can take. The first option is to purchase the business at its listing price, meaning once the funds are received by Empire Flippers the site is marked as sold and no other buyers can make an offer. The second option is to counter offer with a lower price. I think any savvy business person submits a counteroffer unless the listing is just too good to risk giving up. Once a counteroffer has been agreed upon by the buyer and seller, the offer is circulated to all other parties interested in that particular listing. Another buyer has 24 hours to submit an offer that is 10% greater than the agreed upon offer in order to purchase the listing. (Note I do not agree with this but will share my thoughts later in the review)
Migration (Buyer and Seller) – After the buyers’ funds have been transferred to the Empire Flippers account (I did a wire transfer), the sale is deemed closed and migration begins. Migration can be a lengthy process taking 2-3 weeks depending on the complexity of the transferring revenue streams and accounts. Empire Flippers is a “Done-For-You” service, which means they handle all account migrations between the seller and buyer. They ensure migration is successful and that income is being received by the buyer. If for some reason the buyer finds that information about the business was not reported correctly, they are protected by Empire Flippers. Additionally, if the business earns less than 50% of what it was stated to earn then the sale can be reconsidered. This made me feel very comfortable as a buyer. During the migration, all communication is handled between Empire Flippers, the buyer and seller in a “Zendesk Support” ticket.
I wanted to briefly touch on Empire Flippers credibility again. You can visit their testimonial page, but Ace Chapman of AceChapman.com wrote “The Empire Flippers Team is great. My clients and I have done countless deals with them and they do an awesome job for both the buyer and seller in each transaction.” Having testimonials like this made me feel even more comfortable.
The Empire Flippers team also creates helpful content for those of us who are in the online space. Their content includes podcasts that cover a wide range of topics from SEO, to getting a business ready for sale, weekly email newsletters, and other helpful articles that help get the creative juices flowing.
Lastly, Empire Flippers transparency as a company should not be left un-noted. Each year they share the companies financials along with Google Analytics reports, customer satisfaction ratings, podcast analytics, email list analytics, the conferences attended and the plans for the following year. This transparency goes a long way in earning trust with future buyers and sellers.
My Personal Experience
Now I wanted to share my personal experience as being a buyer with Empire Flippers. In January of 2018 I purchased an affiliate website from Empire Flippers for $49,000. Since I already own an Amazon FBA private label business, I knew that I did not want to buy anything Amazon or e-commerce related. I always wanted to learn more about affiliate marketing so I thought purchasing an already established site in a high growth niche was a good idea.
If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing, here is a review I wrote about Michelle’s “Making Sense Of Affiliate Marketing” course. Check it out!
Ultimately Empire Flippers won my business because it was evident their quality was far superior than any competitors. By simply comparing Empire Flippers vs Flippa, you will notice a distinct difference. Flippa has thousands of websites for sale, but the inventory quality appears cheap and questionable. Empire Flippers made it very clear that as I buyer I was protected by their own due diligence but was also given the tools to do my own due diligence. My business plan included purchasing a quality, proven website, which is why I chose to purchase from Empire Flippers even though it took 2 months to find the right site.
After knowing that I would purchase an Empire Flippers listing, I scheduled a phone call with a sales representative to answer additional questions that I had. By the end of the 20-minute call, all my questions were answered and I was even more excited to work with them as I felt valued and safe. Each Monday morning for 2 months I inspected the new listing that fell within my budget and guidelines ($30,000-$60,000, no PBN, steady or upward traffic trend, and over one year old).
During this time I found two potential sites and I spoke to the owner of one of them. The first site had a steady decline of users which did not seem like a good investment, even though it was in a profitable, uncompetitive, niche. For this listing, Empire Flippers helped me set up a conference call with the seller so that I could ask further questions that would help decide whether to buy or pass. The second website that I wanted to purchase sold before I could talk with the seller or wire funds. From this experience, I learned that quality websites or businesses sell really fast on the Empire Flippers marketplace, and if you hesitate there is a good chance you will miss out.
So, I took what I learned from these two and experiences and was successfully able to purchase my first affiliate website!
The site checked almost every box on my “wish list.” My wish list included:
- No PBN used
- A nonlimiting URL (ex. buybirdhouses)
- .com domain
- In a niche that I am interested in and that is profitable
- Steady and proven traffic/income
- Opportunity to easily increase profitability
- Opportunity for expansion into other categories
- Poor optimization regarding affiliate links
- Opportunity for improved UX and site function
Below is a five page website buyers checklist that I made after buying and selling several successful websites.
The PDF outlines my entire thought process when I’m looking at a potential website purchase. The sections include:
- Ownership History and Background
- Website Setup
- Included Assets
- Opportunities for Growth and Increased Profitability
- Selling Strategies
If you’re considering making a website purchase, then I want to see you be successful, which is why I created this checklist.
Note, if you don’t receive the PDF right away, then check your “spam” or “promotions” folder within your email.
So How Was I Able To Get It With So Much Demand?
First, I did not request to schedule a phone call with the seller as this can take a few days to set up. I used the tools that Empire Flippers provided me which included Google Analytics access, proof of ownership/income, and a full “profit and loss” Excel spreadsheet. Additionally, I used Ahrefs to learn more about where the site stood in the different SERP’s. (You may even consider having a web programmer or SEO guru look at a potential site to help give you a second opinion.)
Second, I made sure I had full access to my funds and that I could transfer 100% of the agreed upon price. Any delay in the wire transfer process can cost you the sale, talk to your bank or investment company first so that this process can be seamless.
Third, quick and fair negations. Ultimately once negations were done, I purchased the site for about $10,000 less than the listing price. I made sure my offers were backed with facts that I saw in the P&L. I also made sure to have my phone available to counteroffer; all negations went through Empire Flippers. Lastly, I made sure the seller knew that once a number was agreed to, I would send the funds that hour, meaning I was a serious buyer with no intention to waste time.
As mentioned previously, Empire Flippers circulate any offer that is under listing price for 24 hours which I do not agree with. Personally, I think this favors the seller over the buyer and that a brokerage should equally represent both parties. This put somewhat of a bad taste in my mouth as I was a buyer with “cash in hand” and had to wait 24 hours to have my offer officially accepted. The 24 hour period added unneeded stress and anxiety. I’m a believer that if a seller accepts a lower offer, then their decision is final and that they understood the pros/cons in taking a lower offer.
The day my funds reached the Empire Flippers account, site migration began. The seller, myself and migration specialists were all placed in a Zendesk chat to do the migration. This process took several weeks as the site had a few tricky monetization platforms that had to be switched over to me. I do think that the migration could have been somewhat quicker, but we got it done.
Overall Thoughts In This Empire Flippers Review
My purchase proved to be a wise investment as I was able to expand the content, take advantage of low hanging fruit, and grow the profitability month after month. I truly believe that much of my success was because Empire Flippers provided me with all of the necessary support, tools, and assistance. I was not planning on selling the website, but the opportunity arose and I sold the website for a healthy profit that same year as I learned what I wanted to, which was the ins and outs of a successful affiliate website. I am now on the hunt for another business purchase while teaching others how to build their own niche affiliate websites from the ground up for only a couple hundred dollars.
If you are a buyer or seller that’s considering to use Empire Flippers, I highly recommend them. I used them to represent me as both a buyer and seller and will be making a post about my experience as a seller as well, which was a positive one. I encourage you to reach out to one of their team members with any questions. If you would like to speak with me, then shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d be happy to assist you. I look forward to hearing your Empire Flippers success story next!
Just A Few More Tips:
- Have an idea of the niche you want, but be open minded to other niches that could be profitable
- Either have your funds ready to wire quickly or have Empire Flippers hold a large chunk of your funds in their escrow account so you could simply release the funds with an email
- Be online Monday’s at 7am EST to view new listings since good listings go fast
- Have an approved Google AdSense account prior to purchase