The 5 Hottest New Website Auction Markets: Where and How You Can Profit


The following is a guest post by Dave Slutzkin, CEO,

They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing. But how many small online business owners are taking advantage of markets beyond the English- or Spanish-speaking worlds?

You don’t need to be multilingual—or a multinational—to tap into the markets that are slowly emerging from behind sometimes extremely restrictive internet censorship laws. At Flippa, we’ve seen the changing of these laws, and growing web penetration in these countries, bring droves of new site sellers and buyers into the market.

What this means is that those of us with web properties have more opportunities than ever to profit from new markets.

Which markets matter?

Among the countries that currently censor the web are China, Myanmar, Vietnam, Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Sudan, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and Thailand.

But as censorship laws have changed in many of these places, we’ve seen website auction and sale activity—and interest in it—rise.

Over the last three years, we’ve seen nearly 480 websites sold out of Pakistan, for example.

But in other countries, site purchases have far outstripped sales. Coupled with rising traffic levels, this data suggests people in these countries are looking for established websites for sale as a means to make money beyond their local economies.

Let’s see where the key opportunities lie for buying and selling websites in these markets. The countries listed here are presented in order of traffic levels to Flippa between 2009 and 2012.

Country % new visitors Site sales # Site Purchases # Site sales $ Site purchases $
China 68.51 73 126 44,225 166,045
Pakistan 34.92 479 97 552,982 219,543
Thailand 39.87 190 277 480,229 209,642
Vietnam 63.83 49 73 44,225 166,045
Saudi Arabia 40.13 17 110 10,785 32,815

If you thought that these emerging markets wouldn’t have the spare cash to buy a website or two, think again. Our data shows that not only are many of these countries buying more websites than they sell on Flippa, but the average purchase value for most of these nations outstrips the average sale value.

In short, customers from these countries are spending more, on average, to buy a website than they’re getting in a sale. To some degree, that may reflect the nature of the sites being bought and sold, but either way, it bodes well for the market as a whole.

Potential growth markets

What about the other countries on the list? We haven’t handled any sales or purchases from Iran, Oman, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Ethiopia or Turkmenistan as yet.

But we’re seeing significant increases in traffic from new users within these countries.

Some 92% of traffic from Myanmar in the last three years has comprised new users; 59% of Iranian visitors are new; and traffic from Sudan and Yemen includes new users at rates of 85% and 80%, respectively.

It seems that the relaxation of censorship has allowed interested users in these markets greater access to our site as well as others. And as any good online business person knows, today’s first-time visitors are tomorrow’s customers.

Buying… or selling?

We all know that these countries represent massive markets for web businesses. The advantage for those of us online is that we have the potential to benefit from these opportunities without the costs that offline businesses face.

Buying a website in an emerging market can be a quick, cost-effective way to grow even a modest brand among a targeted audience—especially if the site you buy is well-suited to your capabilities and unique point of difference.

And for those with websites for sale, these countries significantly expand buyer competition. Apart from Saudi Arabia, all the countries listed in the table above have average purchase values far above the Flippa median sale price.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a website—or take your business to a new overseas market—we’d love to hear your plans in the comments.

Launched in 2009, Flippa is the #1 marketplace for buying and selling websites. Each month, over $2 million in websites and domains are traded on Flippa. Over 29,000 sites, valued at more than $22 million, were sold on Flippa in 2012 alone. The most notable of these included Mark Zuckerberg’s as well as iPhone application, news site, and Pinterest analytics site

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