You are always exposed to a higher risk of getting scammed buying and selling websites on Webmaster Forums, such as DigitalPoint Forums, but when it comes to Flippa, I (and many of us) expect the risks to be significantly lower.
But still, there is a scam or two occurs on Flippa. I understand that Flippa is doing its best to curb scammy listings and biddings, but scams happen regardless – and if it happens on Flippa (and succeeds) the impact is more devastated that making deals on the forums I mentioned.
Take my case study as an example.
No, I’m not the one who is getting scammed, but I felt the impact of the scam – and to say the least, it drives me anxious and makes me a bit disappointed to Flippa Support Team.
The site in question is MoneyBuzz.org – It’s a personal finance news site I built ground up, but despite having a nice domain name, the site fails to grow as I intended. So, I decided to let it go cheap with a hope that the right buyer can take it further. I sold the site on DigitalPoint Forums for a low 3-digit dollar amount.
Now, the interesting thing happens: The buyer (let’s say his name is A) flipped the site to another buyer (let’s say his name is B) in another Webmaster forum – for a nice sum of profit, I assume. This is a regular website flipping activity (I do this on regular basis.) Everything seems to work in orderly fashion.
But things went bad when Buyer B decided to re-design and re-purpose the site – from a personal finance site to an affiliate money making site – and list MoneyBuzz.org on Flippa.
To cut long story short, the Flippa listing of MoneyBuzz.org is a blatant scam. While the original site was only making a few dollars from Google Adsense, Buyer B claimed that it is making $960 from affiliate sales (he does have the screenshots and other stats – fake ones – or at least, belong to other sites, of course) and set the BIN to $5,000. Holy cow!
I report the listing to Flippa, telling the staff that I was the original owner of the site, but the Flippa Support Staff says that the listing seems doesn’t have any problem – I say nothing and hope that sooner or latter, the scam will unveiled. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Then the unfortunate bidder (let’s say Buyer C) did buy the site for $3,000. I was in awe that such fraudulent act can make you $3,000 – and Flippa seems to ignore my warning.
Weeks have passed, and suddenly, Buyer C appear in my email inboxes and blogs’ comment sections and start question me regarding the site, accusing me for being a fraud and can be potentially damage my online reputation built with sweat and blood. I’m clearly not a scammer! My mistake is that I left my email contact in MoneyBuzz.org and didn’t remove it before selling it to a buyer – lesson well learned on this one!
I finally was able to convince Buyer C that I have nothing to do with the site, and I did contact Flippa Support team (again) and I receive NO RESPONSE. Buyer A is helping Buyer C (and in a sense, also helping me) to pursue and find the whereabouts of Buyer B – with no luck. Buyer C is in agony, contacting Flippa – also with NO RESPONSE (maybe he has got the response by now – I’ll check on this.)
My question is: Despite Flippa is not directly responsible for such fraudulent listing, but to the least, I (we) expect the Support Team to help us out – or at least, state Flippa’s position regarding the listing and the scam involved in it. Instead, Flippa seems using the tactic of “be silent and let the complaints die eventually.” Not good.
It’s true that it’s the buyer’s responsibility to make sure whether a site or listing is scammy or not – doing the due diligence, such as checking the domain background, the income statements, etc. – but it’s Flippa’s responsibility to explain what’s needed to be explained (any help is considered as a big plus) – it is the buyer and/or the seller who is paying for listing fee and/or success fee, anyway; if you take money from someone, you are responsible to offer some value, including support when a dispute arises – it seems that Flippa lacks after-sales support?
If you are part of Flippa team – please clarify this. I fave Flippa and recommend its services to my clients (still do so even after this bad experience) – but my trust in Flippa is dwindling down. Anything to say? Anyone?
Disappointed Flippa members (but still recommending it to others, anyway)