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Flippa Q&A

Discussion in 'General Domain Discussion' started by OLechat, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    As the last thread about Flippa got quite heated, I've started a new one for DNTrade members to post their questions for me/for the Flippa team.

    What do you want to know about Flippa? We're an Australian company (based in Collingwood, VIC), we sell about $2M a month in websites, and, increasingly, in domains.

    I'm open to answering any question, and hope we can stay on-topic.
     
  2. chris

    chris Administrator

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    Hi OLechat,

    Most of us here are Flippa members and fans, but I think the previous post did raise some important issues.

    One of the main issues is that these scammers seem to be operating in plain view.

    It's a great that you've starting a new thread, however there are some unanswered questions on the previous posts that I'm sure our members would like to hear your view on.

    Cheers,
    Chris
     
  3. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    Thanks Chris.

    Specifically, the previous concern was about fake PayPal screenshots.

    A bit of background: we focus the majority of our scam-detection efforts on things that will have the widest positive effect on the marketplace. Concretely, in the last few months, that's included tightening phone verification, adding in Verified AdSense (since the vast majority of sites sold use AdSense), and making it easier for buyers to communicate with sellers before placing a bid.

    Those things can all, up to a point, be automated to screen out the bad eggs.

    Things that must be done manually, like verifying PayPal screenshots and editing out false claims from listings (and suspending users who do this) are mostly done by our support team. Now -- they can't be everywhere all at once, and things do fall through the cracks. That's why we always talk about the importance of due diligence, and why there's so much on our blog about detecting potential fraud in a listing.
     
  4. Snooks

    Snooks Membership: Community

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    Hi OleChat :)

    One of the things i would love Flippa to focus on is when the people claim to have a "9 year old, aged domain", when in fact it was first registered 9 years ago and then probably dropped 3 times......

    The second is that i really hate that every second listing is claiming "this site" will make thousands of dollars, blah blah blah, based upon this other site that "i recently sold/ made or whatever".

    I know its difficult, i guess what im saying is that it would be great if listers could only state facts and figures that can be proven to have occurred, rather than "the potential". Im just concerned that too many newbees are getting burned out there. These ads probably dont get the experienced people but newbees, trusting these people........its a recipe for problems.

    But i do concede that this is probably out of your control and people do have an onus to substantiate and do due diligence.

    Just my thoughts :)
     
  5. FirstPageResults

    FirstPageResults Membership: VIP

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    This is pretty much the reason I don't use the site
     
  6. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    i'll firstly state i have had no dealings with flippa but because of the recent interest on DNT i decided to check things out today, i will also say not as diligent as other dnt members so lets say i'm a newbie to flippa.

    well, it really didn't take me to long to work out that a particular domain that closed today was a piece of rubbish, ok i do have some basic knowledge but really anyone could work it out, surely even a newbie should have some business knowledge before venturing into an auction.

    having said that because of recent posts on dnt i was better aware of potential risks and fake profits/potentials.

    i can see how newbies get done over, i can also see how flippa benefit from this. What i did see today is a prominent button that was a help guide to using flippa.

    maybe some people with more knowledge could review the guide? maybe flippa could also do this.

    when i signed in the advert for the guide disappeared?? i could be wrong but it did for me.

    i also did some searches about flippa and dnt is not alone with negative comments so here is a great opportunity to get free honest feedback and constructive suggestions.

    when i use GPL software there is always a file that details milestones, roadmap and KNOWN issues. I think this is a good format for any business.

    obviously people are using you, dnt domainers are as well or NOT ! you wouldn't be getting this much attention if members didn't think you are a valid service or a potentially valid service.

    SO bottom line dnt is a good place to be for flippa even if it gets hot, that doesn't mean rude.

    tim
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012
  7. davids

    davids Membership: VIP

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    Hi OLechat,

    How many people are on the support team and what sort of time is allocated as a whole to detecting and knocking out scammers?

    Do you have any statistics on how many listings are removed each day/month/year as suspected/confirmed scams?

    Lastly, how many people are on the marketing team?

    Hope you can answer these!
     
  8. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    Hi Snooks,

    Love your avatar :)

    When sellers list their domain as "9 years old, aged domain", there is a chance that they purchased a dropped domain and are trying to sell it as an aged domain, yes. That's unfortunately not a part of the information we can gather automatically, though our guidelines on site age do forbid listing a dropped domain as aged.

    We remove any specific claims of "potential" profit, of the "Made $XXXX in 3 days!" type, as well as any revenue claims for sites under three months old. The demand for this kind of site is decreasing by the day; this is partly because the market is saturated, and partly because new buyers are increasingly savvy.
     
  9. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    Hey Tim,

    You're absolutely right: "even a newbie should have some business knowledge before venturing into an auction".

    The guide you mention is supposed to come as an email when you sign up. If it didn't, that means something's broken -- I'll chase it up with our developers.

    In any case, you can read our three guides here: flippa.com/guides. The buyer's guide could use an update, but it covers the basics. There are also some other good resources out there on buying websites, namely Thomas Smale's Flipanomics course and Dave Rodenbaugh's ebook (he's written two great guest posts for us: Five types of listings I avoid and Five key questions you should be asking in any website auction.

    There's also an overview of our safety measures at flippa.com/safety
     
  10. davids

    davids Membership: VIP

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    Extremely disappointed you took the time to respond to everyone but me :(

    I really thought my questions were fairly simple and straightforward!
     
  11. johno69

    johno69 Membership: VIP

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    But the answers aren't on the copy paste script.
     
  12. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    Hi davids,

    I'm still answering questions; your just required some actual numbers on the number of suspensions, which I needed to talk to our support team about.

    There are three full-time people on support, including one dedicated Marketplace Integrity Officer who works on fraud detection and resolution. On top of that, everyone else pitches in to look after support tickets and potential fraud cases as needed.

    We banned just under 2500 accounts last year; so far, this year, it hovers around a dozen a day.

    The marketing team is currently standing strong at 2 people, though we both spend much of our day helping out in operations and support as well.


    (Whoops -- just re-read your question and saw that you asked about suspended listings, not users. I'll have to get back to you on that one.)
     
  13. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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  14. Designer

    Designer Membership: Community

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    @OLechat - fake PayPal screenshots fill me with dread. Have never used Flippa before, and probably never will now.

    Question: do you offer rewards for members to dob in scammers? Suggestion: do so if you don't.
     
  15. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    if you back away from things you'll never learn, there's scams everywhere and even the escrow system can't help sometimes.

    rewards for dobbers would be pointless, some scammers would just see it as another revenue stream ! create, report, reward, disappear.

    tim
     
  16. Suzabro

    Suzabro Administrator

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    I had a look at Flippa and it seems they have the same issues as some of the big Auction sites e.g. eBay, allot of outrageous claims on their sale listings. Personally those types of claims raise alarm bells (e.g. autopilot $1000 per day etc) but it would be great to be able to filter them.

    Thanks OLechat for coming on here and talking about the problems. Although I haven't used Flippa as yet it definitely looks interesting and I will have some more solid feedback as I use it.
     
  17. DavidL

    DavidL Membership: VIP

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    One thing I don't think you can do much about is people's descriptions. If given free rein to describe their product (be it a website, domain, car or ebay item), people will always talk things up.
     
  18. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    That's about 1% of new users.

    Fair enough, but PayPal screenshots are only one way to verify revenue, and not a good one at that. There's Verified AdSense, screenshare sessions where you can view the seller's records, hiring an accountant to do financial due diligence for large transactions, affiliate sales records, and so on...

    ... along with the rest of a buyer's proper due diligence, of course :)

    We've actually looked at a few ways to do this in the past, but as Tim points out this would create incentives for people to create scams and report them. Instead of a rewards program, we offer perks to our regular users who take the time to notify us when they see a scam.
     
  19. OLechat

    OLechat Membership: Community

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    There is, actually, a way to filter sites to only see the ones you'd be interested in buying via our Advanced Search (video link). You can, for example, filter out anything that doesn't have verified AdSense revenue, or anything that makes less than $xxxx a month and is under a year old. That removes most of the starter sites that you may not be interested in.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2012
  20. findtim

    findtim Membership: VIP

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    knowing nothing about flippa.... if i had a good revenue site i would be happy to pay a fee and give access to a flippa staff member to verify the earnings, THEN place an official emblem or something on my for sale page.

    does this happen? can it happen, its a win win or am i completely of track?

    tim