Flippa and Empire Flippers are two of the largest marketplaces to buy and sell niche content websites with total website sales of $375 million and $280 million to date, respectively.
I’ve personally bought and sold over 140 websites on Flippa, and 6 sites on Empire Flippers, of which 3 of them have been in the six figures.
In this write-up of Empire Flippers vs Flippa, I provide an unbiased review across 12 categories (e.g., sale multiples, listing details, migration support). The review will cover all aspects of the brokers whether you are selling a site or buying a site.
Let’s get into it!
Empire Flippers vs Flippa: An Overall Summary
The data for Empire Flippers was obtained from their State of the Industry Report. The data from Flippa was obtained from their website, blog, and press releases. In addition, my personal experiences and data will also be shared.
At a high level, Flippa is a self-service marketplace where you are on your own to search through thousands of listings to find the diamonds in the rough, perform full due diligence, and then execute a successful transfer of the website.
In contrast, Empire Flippers is a full-service marketplace where vetted online businesses are curated and priced at a premium with a dedicated team to take care of the website transfer.
Here is an overview:
1. What types of websites are offered?
Flippa offers a wide range of online businesses including SaaS businesses, eCommerce websites, content sites, mobile apps, service businesses, and more.
Empire Flippers offers a more narrow set of online businesses and focuses primarily on eCommerce and content sites. They offer many other types of online businesses but these listings are infrequent. Of the 298 online businesses sold in 2020, 51% were content businesses (153) and 38% were eCommerce businesses (114).
2. What are the sale price multiples?
Flippa’s listing prices range widely from a few hundred dollars to several million dollars.
Empire Flippers will only accept online businesses that earn at least $500 per month in profit and it is rare to see a content site listed for under $25,000 valuation. On the upper end , there are several million dollar listings with the most expensive listing at $8.5 million. In 2020, the average sales multiple was 40.5x for Amazon Associates sites and 34.6x for display advertising sites.
One important difference is that Empire Flippers provides a set price for listings whereas Flippa provides an Ebay-style auction, where auctions can turn into bidding wars. Flippa prevents last second sniping by extending the auction for an hour whenever there is a bid in the last hour of the auction.
On Empire Flippers, you can submit an offer that is lower than the listing price. If the offer is “pre-accepted”, then the offer is circulated for 24 hours in case another buyer wants to submit an offer that is at least 10% higher.
According to the Empire Flippers website, “Our buyers come to us because they’re looking for quality listings and they’re willing to pay a premium for them.”
3. Which broker is larger?
Flippa has a much higher number of listings at over 5,000 live listings compared to just over 140 for Empire Flippers.
Due to the high volume of listings on Flippa, it is helpful to use the search filters to view a subset of listings that best match your goals. You can set filters by attributes like price, monthly profit, monthly pageviews, site age, and more.
Flippa claims an email list of 360,000 while Empire Flippers has a smaller but highly engaged email list of 118,000 subscribers.
Flippa has sold over 39,805 assets for a total of over $375 million while Empire Flippers has sold over 1,500 online businesses for a total of over $280 million.
Sites sell fairly quickly on Empire Flippers, especially at the lower price range. The average sale time for all listings is 48 days and 84% of all listings on the marketplace have been successfully sold. Empire Flippers recommends setting an alarm for each Monday at 10 AM EST when new listings are published so you can act quickly on sites you are interested in.
4. Who has a lower commission structure when selling?
In any marketplace, commission fees are crucial. The fees are taken out of the seller’s proceeds of the sale. Therefore, to cover the loss, prices may naturally rise to compensate for the fees. Since commissions can impact final listing prices, it’s important to understand them.
Flippa’s commission is:
- 10% on sites $50,000 and under
- 7.5% for $50,001 – $100,000
- 5% for over $100,000
Empire Flippers’ commission is:
- 15% on sites sold for under $700,000
- 8% for the amount between $700,001 and $4,999,999.
- 2.5% for amount over $5,000,000
There is quite a large difference in the commission rate for sites in the $100k – $700k range. The commission for a $100,000 site would be less than $10,000 on Flippa vs $15,000 on Empire Flippers.
However, historically, Empire Flippers list multiples have been higher than Flippa and thus the commissions are compensated for. Empire Flippers also does have more professional investors who are willing to pay a premium for vetted deals, this the higher multiples.
5. What’s the listing fees when selling a site?
Flippa charges $49 to list a website on their marketplace.
Empire Flippers doesn’t charge a listing fee as of 2021. It previously charged a $297 “vetting fee” for first-time sellers and $97 for additional listings, which has been removed.
6. What listing information is provided?
Empire Flippers and Flippa provide different types of information on the sale listing pages. I cover each below.
Flippa reveals the URL on most listings but sellers have the option to make the URL confidential for an additional $100 fee. Potential buyers must accept an NDA to view the URL of confidential listings.
Empire Flippers hides the URL of all listings to prevent copycats or direct competitors. To view the URL, buyers must provide proof of funds such as a recent bank statement. After verification of available liquid assets, Empire Flippers grants the prospective buyer with 10 “unlocks” which can be used to view the full listing including the URL, Google Analytics access, earnings statements, and the P&L. Buyers are only able to unlock listings up to a certain amount based on how much liquid funds have been verified.
Both marketplaces provide traffic data for the website that is pulled directly from Google Analytics.
With Flippa you can message the seller to request Google Analytics read access to review the data more closely. Empire Flippers automatically grants you Google Analytics read access when you unlock a listing.
Revenues and Costs
As a self-service marketplace, Flippa allows sellers to self-report earnings which are not verified. However, Flippa can verify Adsense revenue via the Google API if access is granted. Sellers typically upload screenshots to show their affiliate and display ad earnings, however, these screenshots can be easily manipulated or faked.
Empire Flippers requires sellers to provide documentation of earnings which is verified by the Empire Flippers vetting team. They require access to affiliate dashboards like Amazon Associates so that they can pull reports to verify the earnings.
Other Information Provided
Empire Flippers provides an audio interview with the seller on many of the listings where the seller is asked some informative questions such as why they are selling, what experience they have building a niche website, and how they grew the site they are selling.
7. What due diligence details are provided?
When looking at a site for sale, due diligence is key. As a buyer, you should ALWAYS do your own due diligence regardless of the amount of data provided by the broker. Remember brokers are incentivized to sell so make sure to be comfortable with your own research.
By default, Flippa does not offer vetting or due diligence and it is completely on the buyer’s shoulders to uncover issues and verify traffic and earnings data are accurate.
For a price of $1,500 for the standard report, you can purchase Flippa’s due diligence service which looks for potential issues or red flags. Some checks by this service include:
- Verifying traffic
- Verifying revenue
- Checking for bot traffic
- Identifying asset transfer risk
In contrast, Empire Flippers includes professional quality vetting for all websites listed on the marketplace. This vetting includes:
- Verifying domain ownership
- Verifying traffic with Google Analytics
- Verifying earnings
- Checking expenses
- Checking legitimacy of the seller
The vetting process at Empire Flippers typically takes 2-4 weeks when listing a site for sale.
Since both Flippa and Empire Flippers have the incentive to sell websites to earn commissions, you can hire unbiased due diligence services that The Website Flip provides.
8. What communication methods are available with sellers?
On Flippa a majority of the communication is by direct messaging the seller privately through the website. Interested buyers can also leave public comments on the listing and the buyer can respond.
With Empire Flippers, prospective buyers can also ask private questions of the seller through the website. If the listing is over $100,000 a call with the seller can be scheduled.
9. Which broker has the higher risk of getting scammed?
Flippa has a reputation of having a lot of scammers who misrepresent their traffic or earnings. In recent years Flippa has taken steps to reduce fraudulent listings by verifying the identity of the seller and allowing users to report suspicious activity on any listing.
To learn more about how to avoid Flippa scams, check out this article on the common types of scams.
When an offer is accepted on Flippa and terms are agreed to, the buyer sends the purchase amount to an escrow account with a wire transfer via Escrow.com. Once the assets are received, the buyer has 7 days to approve or reject the assets or the funds will be released automatically.
When an offer is accepted on Empire Flippers, the buyer wires the funds to Empire Flippers and then the migration team starts the transfer of the website (Empire Flippers also accepts payment in Bitcoin). Once the site has been successfully transferred to the buyer, the buyer has a 14-day inspection period. If the site does not earn at least 50% of the revenue that was advertised in the listing, the buyer can renegotiate the deal or reverse it.
Empire Flippers will also protect the seller if an earn out is negotiated by collecting payments from the buyer and passing it to the seller (minus the commission). Empire Flippers will hold some collateral like the domain name to ensure the buyer makes the payments.
10. Which broker has more quality sites?
Quality can vary widely on Flippa because virtually anyone can list a website without any vetting. People often complain about scams and there is little recourse available if you are scammed by a seller who misrepresents their traffic and earnings.
Due to fairly strict requirements, Empire Flippers typically lists high-quality sites that have passed their vetting process. Empire Flippers states that they reject about one-third of submissions to the marketplace. They require a solid track record of at least 6 months of earnings and don’t allow sites in specific niches like gambling, payday loans, and CBD. Buyers on Empire Flippers can have confidence that the site should not have any critical issues such as fake numbers or undisclosed PBNs.
11. Do the brokers handle website migrations?
With Flippa, the buyer and seller are on their own to navigate the process of transferring website ownership.
Empire Flippers has a dedicated team that will execute the website transfer that requires no assistance from the buyer or seller apart from providing access to hosting accounts.
12. Which broker offers post-sale support?
Sellers on Flippa are encouraged to offer post-sale support to boost the value of the website and help the new owner with the transition. The level of support varies like other aspects of Flippa and there is nothing holding them to providing after-sale support.
Sellers on Empire Flipper typically offer 30 days of post-sale support via email or Skype to help the buyer with any questions or issues that come up during the transition. This can also vary based on the seller but Empire Flippers says 30 days is the standard.
My Flippa Summary
If you are a seasoned website investor who understands due diligence, Flippa is an excellent marketplace to find websites with easy wins. Flippa attracts “beginner” website creators (i.e., hobbyists). These types of sites have traffic and excellent content since usually written by the owner. You can buy sites at any price level. However, you will have to sift through hundreds of listings to find that one deal. It can be very time-consuming.
If you are selling a site, Flippa can be a great way to get a bidding way started on your auction which can really drive up the price. However, be ready to answer buyer questions and provide migration support to the buyer.
- Possibility of finding undervalued assets
- Hundreds of listings go live daily
- Various price ranges for all budgets
- Ability to negotiate freely with seller directly
- Lowest commission rates in the industry at around 10%
- Needs to understand due diligence process fully
- Some probability of being scammed
- No website migration help
- Minimal details provided on listing page by default unless buyer provides it
My Empire Flippers Summary
If buying, Empire Flippers provides vetted websites above $25,000, with most in reality being more than $100,000 up to high six-figures. These types of sites are well-monetized and more stable. There are usually not that many easy wins but there are plenty of quality sites so one is bound to fit your investment criteria.
If selling, Empire Flippers provides high site valuations and handles the entire migration process. It’s hands off for the seller.
- Highly-vetted deals (but still do your own research)
- Can get on a call with the seller if buying
- Handles website migration
- If buying, provides a guarantee of revenues or you can walk away
- Minimal likelihood of scams
- Empire Flippers is always in the middle of buyer and seller so cannot connect directly
- High multiples if buying a site
- Higher commission rates than Flippa
If buying, keep an eye out on both marketplaces; you never know what kind of website comes up for sale.
If selling and you are willing to pay a premium commission to be hands-off and stress-free, then Empire Flippers will be your best bet. However, if you want to save on commission fees, you can try listing on Flippa with a minimum reserve price.
I hope you found this comparison between Empire Flippers and Flippa helpful. I’ve been an active buyer and seller on both platforms since they launched. Each marketplace has its own pros and cons.