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If you’re interested in buying or selling a website or online business, you must decide which platform(s) you want to use. With a growing number of marketplaces and brokers, it’s essential to do your research and understand the differences between them.
Two popular options for buying and selling online businesses are Investors Club and Flippa. This article provides a detailed Investors Club vs. Flippa comparison so you can decide which is right for you.
Investors Club vs. Flippa Summary
The main difference between Investors Club and Flippa is that Flippa is a massive marketplace where anyone can list a website or online business they want to sell, while Investors Club is a smaller and more selective marketplace.
Flippa is the most well-known website marketplace, and they’ve built a massive audience over the years. Buyers have far more options at Flippa, but that also comes with downsides.
Investors Club is small in comparison, with only about 50 active listings at a time compared to the thousands on Flippa. But Investors Club only lists websites/businesses that make it through their vetting process, so the quality of the listings is generally higher.
Because Flippa does not verify or vet most listings or sellers, it’s better suited for those with previous experience buying or selling a website. Investors Club is generally more beginner-friendly.
Flippa Marketplace Overview
Flippa was the first mainstream marketplace for buying and selling online businesses. Prior to its launch in 2009, most transactions were either done privately or through online forums. In fact, Flippa is a spin-off of the SitePoint forums.
Today, Flippa has a massive audience interested in buying and selling websites. Acquisitions of digital businesses have become much more common, and many other marketplaces and online business brokerages have opened up, including Investors Club.
You can buy or sell domain names and websites of all kinds at Flippa. While some marketplaces take a more specialized approach, Flippa is open to just about anything. There are always thousands of active listings that buyers can browse.
Flippa offers two different types of listings: auctions and classifieds. Sellers choose which type of listing they want to create.
- Auctions: When a seller creates an auction listing, they’ll set a reserve price, which is the lowest price they’re willing to sell for. Buyers can place a bid, with the highest bidder winning the auction. If no bid meets or exceeds the reserve price, the site is not sold.
- Classifieds: A classified listing includes an asking price. Buyers can purchase the site for the asking price or make an offer. Sellers can accept or reject offers.
Investors Club Overview
Investors Club is a curated marketplace launched in 2020. The listings focus on content websites (blogs and niche websites) and e-commerce (including Amazon FBA, dropshipping, print-on-demand, and subscription box).
While Investors Club’s audience is much smaller, there are fewer listings on the site. They accept less than half of the submissions, which helps maintain high-quality listings. Since there are only about 50 active listings at a time, it’s easier for sellers to stand out (compared to Flippa) and for buyers to browse the listings.
Every listing at Investors Club has an asking price, and buyers can make offers on listings that interest them (not an auction).
Now, let’s look at how Flippa and Investors Club compare in specific areas.
1. Types of Listings
Flippa offers a wider range of listings, including domain names and all types of websites. They also offer both auctions and classifieds. Investors Club is focused on content websites and e-commerce businesses, with no auction listings.
2. Number of Listings
Flippa has a significantly higher number of listings than Investors Club. There are always thousands of listings at Flippa, but Investors Club usually has only about 50 active listings at a time.
While buyers have more selection at Flippa, they also have to sift through many more options to find something they’re interested in. And since just about anyone can create a listing a Flippa, a lot of junk can get in the way.
For sellers, standing out of Flippa can be difficult because there are so many listings. At Investors Club, buyers can easily browse all the listings, which benefits both buyers and sellers.
The huge number of listings can be an advantage for buyers in some situations, as some listings seem overlooked. It’s possible to walk away with a good deal if you uncover a hidden gem.
3. Quality of Listings
Investors Club has a more rigorous vetting process for their listings, so the quality is generally higher than Flippa. Flippa does not verify most listings (although there is an option to upgrade to a verified listing). Buyers should always do their own due diligence regardless of where they’re buying a website or who has verified it, but due diligence is even more important for buying on Flippa.
4. Price Range
Flippa listings cover almost every price range imaginable. There are starter sites priced very low, highly profitable sites with six or seven-figure asking prices, and everything in between.
Most of the listings at Investors Club are priced between $25,000 and $100,000, although some are higher or lower. This is one way that Investors Club is fairly unique.
Most online business brokers focus on significantly larger deals, so sites priced below $100,000 are often overlooked. Buyers and sellers in this price range have fewer options.
Investors Club is an ideal option for someone looking to buy their first online business because they vet each seller and listing, and because there are many listings in an affordable price range.
5. Vetting of Sellers and Listings (Due Diligence)
Flippa does not verify most listings or sellers. There are many legitimate and trustworthy sellers on Flippa, but there are also some scammers. Flippa verifies revenue for listings priced over $250,000, but smaller listings are not verified unless the seller pays extra.
Investors Club takes a different approach. Every seller and listing undergoes a vetting process, ensuring buyers only see high-quality options. They verify revenue and use Google Analytics to verify traffic. If the details cannot be verified, the listing will not go live on the site.
Again, it’s important to emphasize that buyers should always do their own due diligence, even if a broker or marketplace has verified a listing.
6. Seller Privacy
Most of the listings at Flippa display the URL of the website for sale. Listings also include general details related to traffic and income, so all of that data is out in the open for anyone, including competitors, to see.
Flippa does give sellers the option for a private listing where the URL is not shared publicly on the site. This option provides more privacy to the seller, but private listings tend to generate less interest than regular Flippa listings.
At Investors Club, all listings are kept confidential. Buyers have an account and provide proof of funds before seeing the URLs of the listings.
Investors Club offers a free valuation tool that only requires a few minutes of your time. Enter details about your site, including traffic, income, and expenses. The tool will provide you with a report showing your site's estimated value. If you like what you see, you can proceed to list it for sale with Investors Club.
7. Fee Structure
The fee structures of these two marketplaces are significantly different. There are no fees for buyers at Flippa. Sellers must pay a listing fee ranging from $49 to $599, depending on the selected package. There are also marketing upgrades that can help get more exposure for a listing.
Flippa sellers also pay a success fee, which is a percentage of the selling price.
- Sales price of $1 to $49,999 – 10% success fee
- Sales price of $50,000 to $99,999 – 8% success fee
- Sales price of $100,000 to $249,999 – 6% success fee
- Sales price over $250,000 – 6% success fee + monthly fee
The Flippa listing fee applies to all listings, regardless of whether they sell or not. The success fee is only charged if the site is sold.
Investors Club also offers a membership option for buyers. A free membership is available, including access to listings at least five days old, legal documents, a free escrow service, and free migration.
Premium membership costs $79 per month, $399 per year, or $999 for lifetime access. This membership provides access to new listings (five days before free members), unlimited access to due diligence reports, and priority support.
Overall, Investors Club’s fees for sellers are better than Flippa’s. They don’t charge a listing fee, the success fee is lower for any sale less than $100,000, and they provide more to sellers (covered in the next section).
8. Features and Services
The main benefit of selling on Flippa is the opportunity to reach a large audience. Sellers get relatively little for their fees aside from the exposure.
Investors Club offers a few features and services that either aren’t offered by Flippa or are offered for an additional price.
- Valuation. The process of selling with Investors Club starts with a free valuation. They help sellers determine an appropriate asking price.
- Escrow. Investors Club provides a free escrow service that protects both buyer and seller. Flippa does not provide an escrow service. If buyers and sellers want to use an escrow service, they must use a third party, which involves additional fees.
- Free migrations. Investors Club helps both the buyer and seller by providing free migration. Flippa offers no migration assistance.
Best for Small Sites
Best for Medium-Sized Sites
Best for Well-Established Sites
9. Buyer Inspection Period
Every deal at Investors Club involves a 14-day inspection period after the closing. This allows the buyer to ensure everything is as it should be. Investors Club releases the money to the seller at the end of the 14-day inspection period.
Flippa is not directly involved in the transactions, so there is no inspection period. Buyers and sellers can opt to use a third-party escrow service, which serves a similar purpose but is typically shorter than 14 days.
Sellers who list with Investors Club must agree to 45 days of exclusivity, which means they cannot list the site or sell it anywhere else. After 45 days, they are free to pursue other opportunities.
Flippa requires exclusivity while the listing is live. Once the listing is removed, the exclusivity ends.
Investors Club Advantages
- Vetting Process: Investors Club has a thorough vetting process that should weed out most fraudulent listings and bad actors. This not only promotes trust but also saves the buyer the effort of sifting through less reputable options.
- Assistance with Valuation: Investors Club helps sellers determine an appropriate asking price. Flippa only offers an automated valuation tool.
- Seller Privacy: Unlike Flippa, Investors Club ensures seller privacy by keeping listings confidential. The URLs of the listings are only disclosed to registered buyers who have demonstrated proof of funds.
- Fee Structure: Investors Club’s fee structure is generally more favorable for sellers. There are no listing fees, and the success fee is a flat 7% of the selling price, lower than Flippa’s success fee for transactions below $100,000.
- Manageable Number of Listings: Buyers can easily browse all of the listings at Investors Club, which isn’t possible at Flippa.
- Less Competition for Sellers: The smaller number of listings also benefits sellers because there are fewer distractions from other listings.
- Services: Investors Club also offers additional services to facilitate smoother transactions, such as free escrow service and free migration assistance, which Flippa does not provide.
- More Appropriate for Those Without Experience: Investors Club is generally a better option for first-time buyers and sellers because of its vetting process and the additional assistance and services.
- User Base: Flippa boasts a larger buyer pool, which potentially means more eyes on each listing, offering an opportunity for higher visibility.
- Variety of Businesses: Flippa caters to a wide variety of online businesses, not just websites, including apps, domains, and eCommerce businesses, resulting in a diverse selection.
- Price Range: Flippa’s broad price range attracts a wider array of buyers and sellers, from low-budget startups to high-value enterprises.
- Potential For Higher Selling Price: With a larger user base and more potential buyers, there is a chance for higher selling prices on Flippa. This is especially true with auctions that involve a bidding war.
- Potential for Better Deals for Buyers: Experienced buyers can sometimes find excellent opportunities that may be overlooked by many other buyers.
Investors Club vs. Flippa: Final Verdict
When choosing between Flippa and Investors Club, buyers and sellers must evaluate their specific needs, goals, and comfort levels. Flippa’s larger user base, diverse selection, and self-service platform make it an attractive option for seasoned buyers. Experienced sellers also have the potential to get a higher selling price on Flippa if listing creates a lot of demand.
However, Investors Club comes out on top for those new to the process or desiring a more supportive selling and buying experience. With its vetting process and white glove support, Investors Club offers a level of ease and security that exceeds what’s offered by Flippa. Investors Club’s fee structure is also better for most sellers.
Overall, I recommend Investors Club for buying or selling content sites or e-commerce sites from $20,000 to $100,000. For larger deals, I’d recommend a broker like Quiet Light or Empire Flippers. For deals below $20,000, Motion Invest is an excellent option.