Flippa is an auction and trading web platform where anyone can buy or sell a website, domain or application. It was launched in 2009 and is currently considered one of the most popular due to more than 1 million visitors per month. In this article, you will learn how to create a clone script of the Flippa marketplace - a site with a similar design and similar set of functions, thanks to which you can start your own business like Flippa.
Step 1: Flippa Website Business Model
The main idea of Flippa is to provide an open platform for selling online businesses: sites, applications and domains. A transaction can take place according to one of two options: assisted sale and broker management. In the first case, the seller receives an account manager as assistant manager, who can be contacted for assistance in creating a lot and concluding a transaction, and secondly, a dedicated broker who will look for a buyer.
Listing fees (top) and commissions (bottom) on the Flippa website
The platform mainly earns money
through listing fees and commissions from successful transactions that the seller pays. For buyers, the platform is free. The fees range from $ 10 for domain names to $ 49 for existing e-commerce businesses. The size of the commission depends on the volume of sales - from 10 to 5%, or 15% when you connect broker.
Reasons for the efficiency of the Flippa business model:
- Multiplying effect. The point is that an increase in the number of buyers leads to an increase in the number of sellers, which in turn stimulates an increase in the number of buyers. This creates a closed loop that leads to increased traffic on your site without your intervention.
- No geographical barriers. Buyers and sellers of sites, domains and applications can bid on Flippa from anywhere in the world, an Internet connection and registration are enough. This increases the number of sellers (put lots) and buyers (bids).
- No time frames. You can place bids and place bids at the auction 24/7. Time for bidding can be set from 1 hour to 30+ days. The number of lots is not limited.
Step 2: Flippa Marketplace Features
. If you compare Flippa with other marketplaces, then it most closely resembles eBay
. Both trading floors are available for both private and legal entities, and at the same time conduct tenders through auctions. But Flippa has its own positive aspects that distinguish it from classic marketplaces and direct competitors. The main differences are:
- Flippa is not a broker. Most of Flippa's direct competitors are brokerage companies that help with buying or selling an online business. Whereas Flippa is a multi-vendor platform that allows you to conclude transactions without intermediaries to accompany the transaction. You can connect a broker to the transaction, but this is not necessary.
- Hiding lot data. Flippa allows you to hide some data about the lot (site, application) in the listing so that users can’t see the keys, traffic sources, analytics and so on, and use this information to create their site with identical keys, channels and marketing.
- Flippa have well implemented tools for promoting individual lots with the help of recommendations in the listing, a description of the case on the blog, a banner on the main page of the market place and promotion on affiliate platforms.
. When creating a site like Flippa, in addition to analyzing the business model, you also need to study the expectations of the sellers, because if you read the reviews on the Flippa website on trustpilot
, it will become obvious that not all of these expectations were realized by the project team. Here are some examples:
- Help for beginners. Yes, selling a business on a site is carried out through step-by-step instructions, but the problem is that those who are selling a site for the first time do not have an understanding of how to evaluate its value, how to protect themselves from scammers, or how to reach an end customer, not an intermediary.
- Data privacy. Flippa has data hiding tools that can only be accessed if you sign an NDA. But what prevents you from signing an agreement and then selling the data to a third party? Usually this problem is solved by means of the obligatory participation of a broker in a transaction or through a fee for access to information.
- Fraud protection. At Flippa, this is well implemented only when you connect to a dedicated broker transaction, if you just try to buy, for example, a site, then, in fact, your only protection is linking to a Google Analytics account. However, there is no guarantee that the statistics, metrics and analytics indicated in the lot are reliable or relevant. You can solve this problem using KYC and AML practices.
- No multi-language support. Marketplace supports only English, which limits the reach of the audience and does not allow trading sites from other language zones. This problem can be solved by adding 5-7 main world languages and relevant filters in the search.
Step 3: the main functions of the trading platforms
The next step in creating a marketplace clone script
involves analyzing its design, functionality, and user interfaces. User interest is how the visitor sees the site. In our case, we need to implement three options for such interfaces for three user roles:
- Administrator. You or your employees who will manage the marketplace. They should have tools to manage sub-administrators, users, list requests, categories of websites, domains and applications, reviews, disputes, monetization methods, payments and integration with social networks.
- Buyer. Users who will buy sites, domains and applications on your site. They need a convenient toolbar to search for offers of interest to them, place bets, conclude deals, etc. They should also be able to report false, incorrect or irrelevant data, if they are.
- Seller. Users who decide to sell a site, domain or application through your service. For them, it is necessary to implement the procedure for identification of the person, confirmation of ownership, putting up a lot, management of applications from sellers, etc.
Here's how the dashboard features will differ for these three roles:
As for the design and color scheme of the clone site, they do not have to repeat the original. It is better to choose your own, unique combination of colors using Adobe Color or its analogue. A logo can be created using LogoJoy. The interface design (wireframes) in this case is best made similar to the original, because they are familiar, which means they are understandable and convenient.
Step 4: marketplace monetization model
Additional opportunities to attract customers on the Flippa website
As we wrote above, a monetization model is implemented at Flippa,
where sellers pay a fee for putting a lot for bidding and a commission for each successful transaction. In addition, the site provides the opportunity to promote individual lots for an additional fee. But these are not the only ways to profit from the marketplace for selling online businesses.
Monetization models where the seller pays:
Monetization models where the buyer pays
- Subscription fee. Registration of a monthly or annual subscription for full access to the platform or its certain premium functions. As a rule, the second approach is now used, since it allows you to maintain a large coverage. This approach uses Amazon (but not only).
- Registration fee. This is a simple strategy that allows you to profit in the early stages of the development of your site. Merchants make a one-time payment for access to your online store. This approach is now called Early Access Fee. Later, you can start charging sellers a monthly or annual fee. The Google Stadia game streaming service went this way.
- Listing fee. This is a one-time payment from the seller for creating an advertisement for the sale of something on your site. This can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the value of the lot. The size of payments in both cases can be tied to the value of the lot or its category. At Flippa, listing fees: $ 10 for a domain, $ 15 for a new site, $ 15 for an application, and $ 49 for a profitable website or online business.
- Sales fee. In this case, the marketplace charges a fee for each successful trade transaction. You can bill sellers after they receive payment from the buyer or, for example, summarize all payments and bill once a month. At Flippa, the size of the sales fee depends on the volume of the transaction: 10% - from 1 to 499 thousand dollars, 7.5% - from 500 thousand to 1 million dollars, 5% - over 1 million dollars. And 15% when connecting a broker (available for transactions over 250 thousand dollars).
- Pay per view. A model in which the seller pays for viewing the list of buyers or for access to hidden more detailed information about the lot. Suitable for marketplaces, where customers create a request for a specific product or service, and sellers leave a request to complete this order. This model was invented by the freelance exchange Upwork and Fiverr.
- Advertising lots, sellers. Here, sellers pay to stimulate sales of their goods or services on the marketplace website and partner sites. This may be a banner, a position on top of the listing, the original design of the lot, a marker on the map, or something else. Almost all marketplaces use this approach, including Flippa (from 65 to 950 dollars).
- Advertising of third services. You can offer places on your site for rent to advertise products or services from third-party brands, sites, services - advertisers. Rental prices usually depend on traffic and conversion: the higher they are, the more expensive the advertisement. The easiest way to connect this kind of advertising is to use the Google Ads service.
Monetization models where all users pay
- Tender fees (not available on Flippa). Valid only on auction sites, for example, sliBuy. Buyers pay a fixed amount in bidding for the right to participate in the auction or for some additional features, for example, for the ability to see other players' bids if they are hidden, or for the ability to turn on alerts when bids change.
- Service charge. A rather rare model of monetization, in which the site takes a fee from the buyer to maintain the performance and development of the site. If the fee is fixed for everyone and does not depend on traffic, season and sales volumes, then this is essentially a subscription. Nobody uses a floating rate, since it is very difficult to make it fair.
- Assumes free access to the marketplace with the ability to connect premium features, for example, disabling advertising, expanding the radius of coverage of sellers or buyers (as in Tinder).
Step 5: the cost of the Flippa clone script
The budget of the project
depends on how many web developers, from programmers to quality control specialists, spent time implementing all the functions of the site. In the case of the Flippa marketplace, creating a clone script can take up to 1664 hours. More details in the table:
When the estimated development time is known, it must be multiplied by the average value of the hourly rate of web developers. The hourly rate depends most of all on the country where the technical partner is located, to a lesser extent on the qualifications, experience and fame of the developer.
Post Development Activities:
- Even the best software contains bugs and becomes obsolete over time (new features, security tools, a modern design and interface are needed). To fix errors and keep your site in good shape, you need regular updates, the cost of which depends on the quality and depth of the changes, that is, on the time of their development.
- Support service. If you want your marketplace to work normally 24/7, you need a team of specialists who will respond to problems and solve them quickly. Such a team may be full-time or outsourced. Issue price - from 3 thousand dollars a month.
- Hosting costs. It’s best if your site runs on Amazon or Google cloud servers, as it is more reliable and safer than on-premises solutions. The calculator on the supplier’s website or their support will help you assess the expected level of expenses for such servers. Usually this is from several tens to several thousand dollars a month, depending on the size of the site and user traffic.
- Assistance in development. Usually, they start MVP first and then gradually improve the site due to various additional functions, which, although not necessary for the work of the marketplace, can significantly improve the user experience of visitors. The development and integration of these features also costs money. The amount, as usual, depends on how much time developers