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A Gray Hat Strategy To Get Lots of Bids On Your Flippa Auctions

Flippa.com continues to be the largest and most popular public marketplace for people to buy and sell websites. As a seller there, your goal is to not only sell your site but to get as much money as you can for it.

The best way to do that is to get your site on the Most Actives page on Flippa. This is where the majority of the buyers are looking. The only way to get on that page is to get a lot of bids on your auction as the auctions with the most bids get bumped into this “jackpot” page automatically.

So how do you go about getting a lot of bids? For starters, an established website with growing or consistent traffic and revenue will always fetch a lot of bids. Still, though, that sometimes isn’t enough to attract a lot of bids. Today I’m going to show you a gray hat strategy on how to get lots of bids on your Flippa auctions. It’s “gray hat” because some people object to it because they say it’s gaming the system. After learning the strategy, you can make up your own mind.

The Gray Hat Strategy To Get Lots of Bids

What you do is list the website for sale for 7 days or less. Five days is ideal. By keeping the auction duration shorter, you create a sense of urgency in buyers. You start the auction at $1 with or without a reserve. Not having a reserve price will make this strategy even more effective but not having one isn’t necessary for it to work.

Now so far everything has been white hat and above board, right? Well here is where the gray hat stuff comes into play. Assuming you have an established website for sale with traffic and revenue and you’ve implemented the tips I’ve just outlined, you’ll get a flood of bids right off the bat – especially if you don’t have a reserve price.

Most sellers will accept the initial flood of bids immediately after they are placed. (A note for Flippa newbies:when bids are placed on auctions, sellers must approve each initial bid before it becomes binding and made public). For this gray hat strategy, you don’t want to do that.

Instead what you’ll want to do is accept the lowest bid of all the bids that come in initially. Then after you accept the one bid, sit tight for the next 12 hours. During this period, don’t respond to any private messages and don’t make any comments on your listing. Ignore the auction entirely and let the bids pile up.

When you return to your auction 12 hours later, you should have several bids piled up that you need to review and accept. At that point, accept all of the bids and proceed with the auction as usual. Respond to your messages and leave any comments that are required and accept all bids as they come in.

How Does This Strategy Work?

What this strategy does is it gives your auction the appearance that it is really hot and popular – which will attract more buyers and bids. Buyers want websites that “everyone else wants” and when they see an auction with 15+ bids within the first 24 hours of it going live, they’ll be instantly drawn to it.

If you were to accept every bid as they came in, you likely wouldn’t get that kind of activity as some of the initial bids could be very aggressive (i.e. $1,000). When someone places a bid that high so quickly, it discourages other bidders. By accepting the lowest bid only and letting the rest of the bids “pile up,” you encourage more bidders right out of the gate because buyers only see the one low bid. They think they can still get a good deal so they place a bid.

Show Me Proof – Does This Really Work?

Yes! I employed this strategy on one of my auctions earlier this year. I listed the site late at night and I got a quick bid for $10 – which I accepted. I then signed off and went to bed. When I got up the next morning, I had 10 bids piled up. After I accepted them all, I had 11 bids in less than 12 hours. My auction eventually ended up being number one on the Most Actives page and I got top dollar for my site.

Still don’t believe me? Take a look at this screenshot of an auction that went live as I was writing this post:

(click the image to see the full-size of the screenshot)

Notice how the seller accepted the first bid and the 19 bids that are pending? The seller of this auction goes by the Flippa username of, “abisko.” He’s a regular website seller on Flippa. He employs this strategy on every auction he launches. His auctions consistently hit the top of the Most Actives page. Here is a link to the actual auction. By the time you see it, it will likely be in the top ten on the Most Actives page.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a link to abisko’s profile page on Flippa (you need to be logged into Flippa to view it). Notice all the bids his auctions get – including the one for 82 bids? He uses this strategy on every auction.

No matter how you feel about this strategy there is no doubt it works. The next time you launch an established website for sale, you might want to consider using it!

About Travis Van Slooten

Travis is an affiliate marketer and website flipper who ran FlipWebsites.com until the Fall of 2010.

This entry was posted in Selling Websites and tagged , , .

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    Great trick. I will try it on flippa. I much learned from this site. Thx much

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    That is genious :)

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    Great Great & Great advice. This trick is really cool. I will try it…

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    Nice strategies. I’m employing that on one of my flippa auctions as we speak. This is working for me.

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    HI, 

    You have done really great work to post this article. Its very informative guys. 

    Thanks 

  • http://www.davidbatterson.com David Batterson

    I just launched a site for sale about 30 minutes ago and within the first 10 minutes I got a bid (1st bid) for $200.00 and accepted it. Now I am going to wait 12 or 14 hours or so to let them pile up! Love the sound of the strategy! I am hoping to get a Kajillion dollars for the site so I can bail out the US government! lol JK! Great advice though! Thank you!

    • http://www.flipwebsites.com Chris Yates

      How did the strategy turn out for you in the end?

      • http://www.davidbatterson.com David Batterson

        7 bids equaling $1600.00 in 16 hours. 20 days left on the auction! Things are going good!

  • Green Terra

    Thanks Travis. Great article for higher ends sites, but do you ahve any tips for flipping new sites?
    I just started flipping sites about a month ago, but it looks like peopel don’t want my sites, I sell new sites without any made money. I sold one site though, but I would like to amke a living of it.
    Thanks again.
    PageDesigners.us

    • http://www.flipwebsites.com Chris Yates

      New sites without traffic or revenue are tough to sell on auction sites. The key is to either find private buyers or break even on the auction and make money on the backend.

  • http://experienced-people.net/ Clinton

    Interesting you mention abisko. We have a scammer alert on him (http://experienced-people.net/forums/showthread.php/271) ;)

    But as a strategy for giving the appearance of busy, I see no reason why this shouldn’t work for low-end sites. Some bidders may be motivated by the apparent competitiveness of the bidding, some could be turned away by it, but either way you can get to “most active”.

    For higher priced sites, I suppose I would prefer that my listing didn’t get to most active as that serves to draw in the wrong crowd trying to hitch a ride.

    • Travis

      Clinton:

      Ya, I remember that thread. I was one of the few defending Abisko – at least defending the specific auction in question in that thread. It was an interesting debate.

      This strategy could definitely work for low-end sites as long as the sites have something of value – be it traffic and/or revenue – or perhaps a mailing list or unique domain. This strategy wouldn’t work for your typical low-end turnkey site as you wouldn’t have anyone really interested in it (behind a bid or two).

      Travis

      • http://affordableseotipsandtricks.com Joseph Archibald

        Hey Travis, I’m just tinkering with the idea of getting more into site flipping – have flipped a couple of sites over the past 18 months, but never really been my thing – I SEO for my living, but not ventured much into flipping, even though I do check out what’s on the market on Flippa once every so often.

        But I just want to say thanks for sharing tips like the one in this post – really invaluable to anyone who is either new to flipping or even those who have a number of successes under their belts.

        I really appreciate your candidness and willingness to share!

        Cheers!
        Joseph Archibald