Webrork.com is an online site where you can sell and buy entire websites. I spoke to Logan Abner, founder and CEO of Webrokr.com.
Logan, what is your academic background? What and where did you study?
Graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor’s Degree in sociology in three years.
How and when did you become an entrepreneur?
Paid entire way through school by running a local web design company and flipping websites along the way.
Owned first profitable website by the age of 13 and sold it for my first experience in the “flipping” world by 14. Launched a profitable local web design company at 15 and operated it through college. Have been brokering web properties privately for four years and decided to launch WeBrokr for more exposure in late 2011.
What would you say is the ‘total market’ or of the website trading business today?
There is currently no defined “market” for web property brokerage. Many site owners don’t even know brokers exist and that is something that really upsets me. When it is time for them to sell their “baby” they are unable to receive what it is truely worth without the guidance of a qualified broker.
Selling web properties started as early as the first domain name sales. However, it really didn’t take off until 1997 when Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft. With the huge $400mm price tag it really opened peoples eyes. Soon thereafter came the dot com bubble of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Site were being snatched up left and right for hundreds of millions like it was nothing. After the collapse of a few huge acquisitions like GeoCities and Broadcast.com, both purchased by Yahoo, things cooled off for a while. Fast forward to 2005 and the acquisition of MySpace got things rolling again. There was a steady trend of large purchases up until today which I call “the social bubble”. We are seeing the same thing today as we saw 10-15 years ago, the over-paying of web properties. Facebook and Instagram have billion dollar price tags with not much to show for it. Mark my words folks, another collapse is sure to come.
What are the future prospects of Webrokr.com?
Logan Abner: I am late to the party when talking on the subject of Mobile but I would like to touch on it anyways. I will admit, I was very, very late on getting in on the smartphone party. I always believed I spent too much time on the computer as it was and the last thing I needed was to be spending more time on my phone when I was away from my desk. My reluctance to buy a Blackberry back in 2006 really set me back in todays world of mobile web and apps. If I had a time machine I would currently do two things; 1. go back to the early 90s and buy hundreds of premium domain names. and 2. have created dozens of mobile sites and apps in 2006-2008. If you were lucky enough to get in on the mobile world a few years back then you already have a HUGE advantage in the industry. Stats don’t lie, and those stats show that mobile is increasing rapidly while desktop use is on the decline.
If you were late to the party like myself don’t fret you still may have some time. If you are really looking to invest right this moment you may still be able to push out something mobile friendly and draw in the crowd before mobile rules every in about 3-4 years.
How do you evaluate the price of a website?
I have evaluated so many websites at this point that I almost find it hard to explain how I do it, and I am sure any broker reading this would agree with me. Evaluations can vary on many levels, for example: revenue, traffic, age, niche, growth trend, domain name, content, workload, staff, expenses, legality, etc. In the perfect world your website would be as follows:
- $100,000 monthly revenue
- $2,000 monthly expenses
- 100,000 unique visits daily
- 1,000,000 pageviews daily
- time on site – 10 minutes per user
- 10 years old
- High paying ad niche
- growth of 20% yearly over past 10 years
- short, memorable domain name
- user generated content
- less than 1 hour work per day
- No staff
- Only expense is hosting
- 100% legal
The site listed above would have my buyers drooling all the over the floor. How many of these sites exist? A handful. How many of these site owners actually want to sell their precious gems? Zero. No one in their right mind would want to sell an asset of this nature unless they were offered an amount that no one could refuse.
Most likely if you are reading this you don’t own a website quite like the one above. Don’t worry though, you can still be a seller and get a very solid price for your property. To value your own website you first must take a look at your revenue numbers. This is the single most important thing to any buyer. Now take your NET MONTHLY INCOME and multiply that by 12 – 18. That is the number you will get if you decide to list your site on your own. If you allow a broker to take over go ahead and multiply that number by 24 – 36. A broker is able to get you substantially more because of our trust and relationship with buyers.
It pains me to say this because I too used to crawl the pages of Flippa and digital point looking for that one gem to purchase. Sadly, those days are now rare. Both sites have gone downhill and are littered with start up junk and sellers hoping to get way more than what their property is truly worth. Buyers who have hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars to spend don’t have the time to sit on Flippa and wait for their dream property to pop up. They rely on brokers, like myself, to feed them the premium sites directly.
What is the difference between the tebsite trading business and domain trading?
As you have probably figured out by now I have extensive knowledge of website selling and trading. On the other hand I am not as keen on actual domain selling. Selling domain names is a market that is comprised of mostly tycoons who spent millions in the late 90s to acquire premium names like “the.com” “me.com” “hi.com” etc. These guys have enough money already to just sit on the names for 10, 20, even 50 years until someone comes along and NEEDS the domain. Because of this they are able to charge huge chunks of money.
In today’s market domain trading is no longer a viable option to making money. If you wanted to build you own portfolio of say, 50 truly premium domains, and sit on them, it’s going to cost you upwards of $10,000,000. Do you really want that $10mm locked up in a godaddy account? With that amount of cash you could buy 2-3 of the most elite websites any broker has to offer and make your money back much, much faster.
What about the name ‘webrokr’? How did you come up with it?
Just like I talked about above how all premium domains have been registed long ago, the same thing happened when I was looking for a business name. I crunched ideas for days thinking of the perfect name to call my now public brokerage service. I really wanted WeBroker.com with the E but it was taken. I don’t believe I was ever able to get in contact with the owners of the domain so I said hey, screw it, i’ll drop the E and still be successful. After all, it’s not the name that runs this business, it’s my service and the service to my clients is going to be top notch regardless of that E.
I also liked the fact that my name can mean two things. You can either call us WEbroker or WEB Broker. Both my sense and both fit what we do.
Many thanks for giving us an insight into your business.