Interview with Matt Mickiewicz (Flippa)
Flippa the leading marketplace for buying and selling websites. I interviewed Matt Mickiewicz, Flippa co-founder to find out more. This interview is the forty fourth in a series of DW interviews. Big thank you to Matt for the interview!
How would you describe Flippa in under 50 words?
It’s a markplace that allows people to buy & sell revenue generating websites through an auction model. We’ve sold $70 million worth of websites to date, with millions more in monthly transactions.
Your entrepreneurial journey began aged 14 in 1998 with Webmaster-Resources.com, which eventually became SitePoint. When did you start getting attention from the press?
Within 2 weeks of launching Webmaster-Resources.com, the site got featured in USA Today. Further coverage in LA Times, Washington Post and WINDOWS Magazine (which at the time had a million subscribers) quickly followed within a year.
What were the main influences that led you to start Webmaster-Resources.com at such a young age?
I was learning web design and internet marketing as a hobby, and I was finding there was a huge lack of resources and information available. So I started doing a lot of the legwork myself, finding out how to register a domain name, which webhosting company I should use, how to submit to the top search engines, what HTML Editing software to buy, etc.
I was confident that I’m not the only person who had so many unanswered questions, so I started compiling all the information & resources I found into a website to help others. It turns out, my timing was impeccable.
How did SitePoint make it through the dot-com bubble?
Initially, our business was 100% advertising supported. When that market collapsed, we had a look at what else people were doing on our website – and it turns out that the “PRINT THIS ARTICLE” link on any given page was immensely popular.
It made a lot of sense. Back in 2000/2001, few people had two monitors on their desks (remember, this is back before flat-panel LCD monitors), so when they were learning to code, they would print out our tutorials and have them sitting next to their keyword so they could follow along.
We came up with the theory that people would pay us for the privilege of printing out content on their behalf, so we took our most popular tutorial about PHP & MySQL, written by Kevin Yank, and turned it into a print-on-demand book that we sold for $35. It was a very quick and easy test, and the book sold like hotcakes despite all of the content being available for free online.
In June 2009 the SitePoint Marketplace moved to Flippa.com. Why?
A brand can online stand for one thing. SitePoint is about education for web designers and web developers, not an auction marketplace for buying and selling websites.
What have been the main advantages building a separate identity?
By creating a new company, with a new brand, with a dedicated team, and its own budgets and P&L statements, we allowed the business to stand on its own two feet and flourish on its own.
People can only associate one thing with a name. Aside from Virgin, few companies have been able to serve a multitude of different markets and customers using a single name. That’s why Toyota launched Lexus.
Flippa has become the leading website marketplace with over $70 million in overall sales. What are the main factors that have led to this success?
Critical mass in a marketplace is very hard to displace… just look at Craigslist, numerous companies have built much better, prettier, more user-friendly, better organized local marketplaces, but at the end of the day, if you’re looking to rent an apartment, or get rid of some old furniture, you still go to Craigslist.
We’re not sitting on our hands though, we’re constantly looking to innovate, improve the user interface, roll out anti-fraud features (mandatory credit card verification for large bids, verified Google Analytics stats) and requested improvements such as instant alerts based on custom criteria.
In March 2010 Retweet.com sold at auction on Flippa for $250,000, were there any complications with the sale? Do you know what plans, if any are in mind for the domain?
The sale went through successfully, and we’ve had many sales since then that are even bigger.
Have you passed up any opportunities which you now regret?
I wish I bought more domain names in 1999, and got into PPC arbitrage back when GoTo.com was around and you could buy clicks for 1 cent with no quality score issues and there was virtually no competition.
Can you convince the reader to buy or sell a website using Flippa in under 80 words?
Buying high-traffic websites on Flippa is relatively bargain compared to buying traffic through channels like pay-per-click.
Imagine working with a $2000 budget, what would you rather have, 2000 clicks @ $1 each, or a website with 2000 unique visitors, each and every month, that you can mine for a profit — and at the end of 3 months, 6 months or 12 months you’re still able to resell it and get all of your money back, and perhaps even more?
Finished reading? Check out Flippa!