When your website is hot, it’s hot. Or should I say, it’s glittery.
Over the past few days, everyone has been kicking themselves wondering why they didn’t come up with the genius idea to create a company where customers could send their enemies glitter.
The way ShipYourEnemiesGlitter.com works is quite simple. People place orders for $9.99 Australian Dollars via PayPal, and the owner prints out a hate letter, fills it with glitter, and mails it to the enemy in question.
After all, why go the old school way of torturing your enemies with hate texts or embarrassing videos when you can go the much more lethal route of sending them glitter in the mail?
This Glitter Company Could Be Yours
If you’re as enthralled with this idea as the rest of the Internet, get your wallet ready, because this business is up for sale.
You can see all the details on the official auction page at Flippa, a website where people buy and sell websites and domain names. The company has received an astonishing 2.5 million visitors since it launched on January 12, 2015 — yes, just a mere week before it went on sale. That level of viral activity is any online entrepreneur’s dream, which is why we’re all watching with bated breath as the price goes up and up in auction.
When this post published on the evening of Tuesday, January 20, the highest bid for the site was nearly $71,000. Nearly 340 potential buyers had bid. (UPDATE: When the auction closed on January 21, the site sold for $85,000.)
Why sell a website that’s doing so well so early after launching? Because 22-year-old Mathew Carpenter created the site as a fun side project, not expecting to quickly generate over $20,000 Australian dollars in sales… and becoming successful so quickly can apparently create a lot of problems.
“I launched this website as a bit of a joke not expecting this level of attention,” Carpenter wrote on Flippa. “Heck, I launched this website whilst I was on holiday! For the past few days it has been stressful dealing with all of the media attention.”
Should You Buy This Website?
Obviously, many people believe the concept of this particular business is a hilarious and brilliant idea. However, true entrepreneurs are also wondering whether this concept has any staying power, and whether it can become a viable long-term business.
“Buying a viral site is definitely a huge risk, but it can also come with a huge return,” says Jeff Rose, creator of GoodFinancialCents.com, who nets more than $20,000 a month through online businesses. “For that to happen, the buyer of the site needs the resources and capabilities to take full advantage of the momentum and keep it going.”
Because the site has been overwhelmed with orders — Carpenter actually had to stop making sales — the new owner should be able to generate a high number of purchases from just the current customer base. In fact, Mr. Carpenter has agreed to forward the new owner all emails from current and future hopeful customers.
That kind of email list can be extremely valuable, says Joe Saul-Sehy, an experienced online entrepreneur and former financial planner who writes at StackingBenjamins.com. If you want to purchase a viral site like this one, he says, “you should have a purpose that clearly outlines how you’re going to make back the $70k purchase price in a short time. It’s not enough to love the business . . . you either have to have e-myth-style systems in place or have another reason to buy it (the email list, for example) that’ll make it profitable.”
What About Long-Term Potential?
This business is on the height of what can be called a “viral wave” — it has generated a significant amount of interest in a short amount of time. Typically, when companies produce viral videos or interesting products, the initial excitement produces the most money and then sales level off as time goes on.
That’s what more seasoned online entrepreneurs will take into serious consideration before putting in a bid, says Rob Walling, founder of marketing automation software Drip, who has bought and sold dozens of websites through Flippa.
“When determining if I’m going to buy a website, I look for a history of stable (or growing) revenue, a stable source of traffic that’s not going to disappear tomorrow, and a hefty profit margin,” he explains. “This site fails the first two since it has a four-day history of sales, and my guess is its traffic came from a lot of one-time sources like press mentions.”
He goes on to say, “At $70k, this is not a good buy for someone like me who builds longer-term businesses. The site got a lucky spike of traffic due to some press coverage, but that’s not really sustainable… The current bidders are betting that the profit they can turn on this short-term spike of orders will be more than the current high bid. I’d say it’s a good bet this site will gross more than $70k… The question is: how much more than $70k will it make?”
So while the new owner might not receive the same level of sales as the company did during its first few hours, with the right marketing and budget, they could, in theory, launch this company into the forefront of young pranksters’ minds and build it into something even bigger.
Want to buy the company but not interested in filling every room in your home with glitter? Carpenter outlines on Flippa how a new owner could outsource most if not all of the business and still generate a significant income. He received numerous emails from businesses offering to handle the entire production of his business, he writes, and he’s happy to pass along those contact details.
If you’re seriously considering buying the site, here’s one more factor on your side: Carpenter has offered to sign a three-year non-compete contract, so you won’t have to worry about him shipping out envelopes full of feather boas anytime soon.
Your Turn: How much would you pay for a website like this that has gone viral?
Catherine Alford is a full time blogger, personal finance freelance writer, and mom of newborn twins. She writes about how to balance life and a budget all across the web including her own site, Budget Blonde.