Share:

  • Facebook
  • Hacker News

Follow:

  • Twitter
  • RSS
DoesWhat

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!

This entry was posted on Saturday, February 4th, 2012 at 12:05 pm GMT. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.



Quick links

Print | Email this story

You might also like

Most Popular


Recent Articles

You have some extemely impressive clients: Bank of Canada, eBay, IBM and Subaru to name a few. How difficult is it to make these big sales?

To me it’s like any other sale. I didn’t go after these clients, they came to me. This is the magic of internet. I just focus...
Peter Severin (WireframeSketcher)

Peter Severin
WireframeSketcher

How did you decide on the look and feel of Zerply?

The most frustrating thing for us in the early days was that anything professional automatically equalled corporate and boring. Just do a Google image search for...
Christofer Karltorp (Zerply)

Christofer Karltorp
Zerply

What advice would you give to your past-self on becoming Formstack CEO?

Be more aggressive. Sometimes in the past I have held myself back trying to be conservative in the way I run the business. I forget that only 7% of...
Chris Byers (Formstack)

Chris Byers
Formstack

Which technologies are powering iaza?

The iaza stack is LAMP. The image-processing code itself is a hodge-podge of open-source stuff written in C, plus some proprietary C code, plus some shell scripts. The servers themselves...
Christopher Minson (iaza)

Christopher Minson
iaza

What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?

Being a bootstrapped startup, the biggest hurdle we have faced so far has been building out our feature set quickly with a small team. It has meant...
Nick Light (Booly)

Nick Light
Booly

What do you wish you’d have known 7 years ago when you started out?

It’s such a different world now though. When we started there were really no PHP frameworks, no javascript libraries like jQuery. I hand coded every line of javascript...
Ian Landsman (HelpSpot)

Ian Landsman
HelpSpot

What made you decide to start working on JobGizmo?

The idea of a job hunt organizer came to me back in 2005. I was in a continuing education program, trying to expand my web programming...
Avery Smith (JobGizmo)

Avery Smith
JobGizmo