If you buy and sell on Flippa or you are thinking about it, there is an excellent back and forth discussion on Namepros that is a must read. The thread started out about the Whiskey.com $2,000,000 bogus bid, but on comment 86, Image Authors gave his opinion of what he sees happening on Flippa. I can say in private some others have expressed similar concerns. The brokers who sell on the platform vs the individual is an interesting dynamic. Kevin Fink from Flippa is an active participant in the thread and does a nice job of explaining things from his perspective. Kevin really has been the straw that has stirred the drink in Flippa becoming more active in domain only auctions.
I think for many the things Image Author and Kevin Fink bring up will be informative for those new to the platform, and some things may even be an eye opener for those who have sold there already.
The first comment from Image Authors:
Kevin, my own conclusion about Flippa has been this:
Flippa gives privileged marketing to a small group of sellers over and over again. This helps create the impression that “If those guys can succeed, then so can I”.
In reality, Flippa’s top-visibility spots are often taken up by a privileged group of sellers and by shill bidders who climb the “most active” ladder through fraudulent activities of their own (for which Flippa is not directly responsible).
Ordinary Flippa customers must pay a variety of extra fees to get their auctions seen. Essentially, these fees are Flippa’s real business model. I’m guessing they account for much more revenue than percentage-based commissions from auctions that actually succeed.
6 or 12 months ago, the playing field on Flippa used to be much more level, much more fair. But in the past months, the market place has become increasingly lopsided.
In fact, the selling situation at Flippa has become so absurdly skewed that a few special Flippa sellers will contact the rest of us and tell us that we need to let them list our domains because of all the special perks they get and all the “watchers” they’ve accumulated.
That isn’t brokerage. It’s just a few people with head-of-the-line privileges shaking down the rest of Flippa customers who must stand in line behind them. Frankly, it’s ridiculous.
As time goes by, the situation on Flippa will become less and less fair, less and less competitive. Why? Because people with premium domains will be convinced to give their domains to some special Flippa seller so that he can list it for them — pretty much as they would have done themselves — and skim off an additional 15%.
Why do those guys get that extra 15%? Not because of any special outreach they’re doing. No, their “brokerage” pitch to sellers is based on the special perks they get (and the sellers can’t get) from Flippa management and on the watchers they’ve accumulated as a result of those special perks. The deck is stacked against normal sellers.
If the owners of good domains would list their stuff themselves on Flippa, then they’d accumulate a list of “watchers” themselves. But, as things are, they simply cannot get seen! Not unless they pay for a long list of add-ons to show up alongside the special privileged sellers. Not unless they ask their friends to place lots of fake bids below the reserve.
So what happens? Premium domain owners get sucked in to the idea of letting a privileged class of Flippa sellers act as a layer between themselves and any possible success on the platform. Those sellers scrape off an extra 15% just for creating listings, which is exorbitant and unearned, in my opinion. And worst of all for Flippa customers, all the “watchers” that would have gone to them go instead to the “broker” who stands first in line. So over time, their own sales and their own success contributes to making the playing field at Flippa more unequal!
It’s a very bad deal for Flippa customers. Simply atrocious, in my opinion.
Am I bitter? No, I don’t think so. 6 to 12 months ago, I had some decent sales at Flippa. But since then the selling environment has gone downhill. Really downhill.
Not worth $9 to list anything. It’s too much of an uphill battle to get seen — and an increasingly unnatural uphill battle, tilted more and more steeply due to Flippa management desicions.
Kevin, I like you personally. And I’ve even received some free promotional upgrades in the past, which I appreciate. Auctions and sales are always hit or miss. But Flippa is stacking the deck AGAINST regular customers.
I stopped listing at Flippa not because stuff wasn’t selling (from time to time it still sells if you’re lucky enough to be seen through the shill bids and special “brokers” with front-of-the-line privileges). I stopped selling because I felt like I was jogging and Flippa kept tilting the slope up. At this point, selling at Flippa for most of us is like running up a 70-degree incline. Unless we agree to give 15% to special sellers with access to attention.
I certainly wouldn’t want to pay extra just to even things up on a basically unequal platform. And as for surrendering to a special class of Flippa brokers in order to get a normal degree of visibility, count me out!
Here is the first reply from Kevin Fink:
You can follow the whole thread from that point on by clicking here