Choosing the right marketplace for buying or selling a website can be a challenge. And with the number of brokers and marketplaces growing, that challenge is getting tougher. Each has its own unique characteristics, as well as pros and cons.
In this Empire Flippers review, we’ll cover the details of this popular marketplace. We’ll shed light on the situations where it may be ideal for buyers and sellers, as well as situations where another platform may be more appropriate.
What Is Empire Flippers?
Empire Flippers began as AdSense Flippers in 2010, selling pre-made content websites. It transitioned to the Empire Flippers marketplace in 2012.
Today, Empire Flippers is a curated marketplace for buying and selling websites and online businesses. It has a large, established audience of buyers and sellers.
While some marketplaces, like Flippa, provide very little personalized service to buyers and sellers, Empire Flippers serves as a broker and provides a wide range of services. Their team members help sellers with valuations, listings, communication with buyers, negotiations, and migrations.
Is Empire Flippers Legit?
Yes, Empire Flippers is a legit marketplace for buying and selling websites and online businesses. Of course, any investment involves risk and you should always perform the necessary due diligence. However, Empire Flippers uses a verification and vetting process to minimize the risk of fraud or scams on its platform.
Empire Flippers Pros
Here are some of the reasons why buyers and sellers may appreciate Empire Flippers.
1. Curated Listings
Each listing on the Empire Flippers marketplace has made it through their verification and vetting process. This approach differs from an open marketplace, like Flippa, where anyone can create an account and list their website or online business for sale.
As a curated marketplace, Empire Flippers offers a much higher level of quality among listings. Buyers save time by not browsing through hundreds of low-quality listings. Sellers also benefit from the higher overall quality because the marketplace attracts serious buyers and inspires confidence in the published listings.
2. Large Audience
Empire Flippers has a large, established audience of buyers and sellers. This results in a high volume of submissions from sellers, and plenty of buyers for those listings.
3. Wide Range of Services Included
Buyers and sellers benefit from the full range of services offered by Empire Flippers, including an escrow service and negotiation and migration assistance.
4. Buyers Must Provide Proof of Funds
The business names and URLs for sale at Empire Flippers are not publicly listed. This confidentiality protects buyers and sellers by preventing competitors and copycats from accessing sensitive information that can be used before and after completion of the sale.
Buyers must verify their identity and provide proof of funds to view confidential information like business names and URLs.
Empire Flippers Cons
Of course, every platform will have some drawbacks. Here a few of Empire Flippers’.
1. Few Listings Below $100,000
Empire Flippers only lists sites making at least $2,000 monthly profit. As a result, most of the listings are in the six or seven-figure range, with very few listings priced below $100,000.
Due to its average price range, Empire Flippers is best for buyers with substantial budgets and sellers with established and highly profitable businesses. Those looking to buy or sell a website for less than $100,000 are likely better off with another marketplace.
Investors Club offers an excellent selection of websites priced below $100,000. Buyers in this price range have more options in our marketplace than Empire Flippers, and sellers pay significantly lower fees.
The table below shows a breakdown of listings by price range, at the time of writing.
|Micro (less than $10k)
|Small ($10k – $100k)
|Medium ($100k – $1 million)
|Large (over $1 million)
2. High Fees
Empire Flippers charges a blended success fee that goes up to 15%. Full details are provided later in this article but, in general, Empire Flippers’ fees are near the industry’s high end.
Investors Club’s 7% success fee is among the lowest in the industry.
3. No Due Diligence Reports for Buyers
Although Empire Flippers completes a verification and vetting process for each seller and business, they don’t provide due diligence reports for buyers.
At Investors Club, buyers can access due diligence reports for each listing. These reports include a business summary, financial overview, traffic overview, site information, content analysis, and business analysis. Some sections of the report are only available to premium members. For example, premium members get an in-depth business analysis including analyses on the niche, competition, risk, growth opportunities, and workload.
4. Long Process for Getting Listed
The amount of time needed to get listed is one of the most common complaints of sellers on Empire Flippers. Their verification process can drag on for weeks, which is frustrating for sellers who want to move quickly.
Types of Website and Businesses Sold
Empire Flippers lists a wide range of online business models including content websites, e-commerce, software as a service (SaaS), lead gen, and more.
As a curated marketplace, Empire Flippers has specific criteria that every business must meet to be listed:
- Minimum of $2,000 monthly net profit over the past 12 months
- At least 3 months of traffic data from Google Analytics or Clicky
- At least 12 months of revenue
- AdSense, Amazon Associates, affiliate, and advertising sites cannot have changed URLs within the past 12 months
- No evidence of manipulated rankings (i.e., manual penalties, deleted accounts, 301 redirects)
- Service-based businesses cannot generate more than 50% of their revenue from one client
- Businesses cannot have fake social media followers
In addition to these requirements, Empire Flippers, like most brokers and marketplaces, does not list businesses or websites in categories like pornography, gambling, or anything illegal. They also reserve the right to reject any business they feel is not a good fit.
The table below shows the types of businesses listed, at the time of writing.
|Type of Business
Empire Flippers Fees
Empire Flippers does not charge a listing fee, and sellers only pay if the business sells. Their success fee is blended, based on the selling price.
The fee structure is a bit complicated for large sales because it requires a few calculations. For any sale under $700,000 it’s a lot simpler with a flat 15% success fee.
On any amount above $700,000 sellers pay a different percentage. On any sale above $700,000, you will pay:
- 15% on everything below $700,000
- 8% on the amount between $700,000 – $5,000,000
- 2.5% on everything above $5,000,000
Understanding the fee structure is important, so let’s look at an example scenario. If a business sells for $7 million all three buckets are in play, and here’s how the fee is calculated:
- $105,000 for the amount up to $700,000 ($700,000 x 15%)
- $344,000 for the amount from $700,000 – $5,000,000 ($4,300,000 x 8%)
- $50,000 for the amount over $5,000,000 ($2,000,000 x 2.5%)
- Total fee of $499,000 (which comes out to 7.13%)
Investors Club also charges no listing fee, and our success fee is a flat 7%, regardless of the price. So, sales below $700,000 will have a 7% fee instead of Empire Flippers’ 15% fee.
Verification and Vetting
Sellers must complete a verification and vetting process before their listing is approved by Empire Flippers. This process requires time and effort for sellers, as opposed to selling on an open marketplace like Flippa. However, it allows Empire Flippers to maintain a high-quality marketplace, which benefits buyers and sellers.
The time it takes to verify a business depends on its complexity and the specific details needed. According to Empire Flippers, e-commerce businesses usually take longer than content sites (like blogs and affiliate sites) due to the involvement of physical products and inventory. In general, Empire Flippers recommend sellers expect verification to take 3-4 weeks.
During the vetting process, Empire Flippers team members check:
- Seller info including name and email address
- Site details like the URL, date created or purchased, history, inbound links, etc.
- Proof of revenue (including dashboard screenshots)
- Monthly operating expenses
- Traffic data from Google Analytics or Clicky
Sellers can begin the process by submitting their business for sale through the Empire Flippers website. All information and documentation can be uploaded through the seller dashboard. Empire Flippers may request additional details as needed.
Buyers also go through a verification process. Empire Flippers’ listings provide limited basic information to the public. Only verified buyers can see more detailed information or pursue listings that interest them.
The buyer verification process focuses on identity and liquidity. Buyers submit bank statements and other similar documents as proof of funds. Each buyer can “unlock” businesses worth up to 1.5x their verified funds. Unlocking the listing provides access to details like the business name and URL, social media accounts, analytics data, and more.
Empire Flippers requires 60 days of exclusivity from sellers. That means if you list your website or business for sale on Empire Flippers, you’ll have to wait at least 60 days before listing it elsewhere.
After 60 days, you’re free to list the business somewhere else. However, the listing cannot be on Empire Flippers and another marketplace simultaneously. Additionally, the success fee is due if someone introduced to you by Empire Flippers buys the site from you within a year after the listing is removed.
Exclusivity agreements are standard in the industry, but at Investors Club, we only require 45 days of exclusivity.
Empire Flippers Reviews from Buyers and Sellers
Overall, Empire Flippers’ reviews across the internet are fairly strong (much better than Flippa’s reviews).
Who Is Empire Flippers Best For?
Empire Flippers is most appropriate for buyers and sellers from $100,000 – $3,000,000. There are a few listings below $100,000, but those deals fall outside of Empire Flippers’ sweet spot. Another marketplace, like Investors Club, is more appropriate for deals in that price range.
Empire Flippers lists some businesses above $3,000,000, but these deals may be a better fit with other brokers, like Quiet Light or FE International, who regularly operate in this price range.
Additionally, Empire Flippers is best for sellers willing to pay high fees for a chance to sell their business at a higher asking price. Sellers who prefer to minimize their costs may appreciate Investors Club’s lower fees.
Empire Flippers: Legit but Not Always Ideal
Empire Flippers is certainly one of the most popular marketplaces for buying or selling an online business. The company has a strong reputation and is a very active marketplace with many listings.
Buyers and sellers may find Empire Flippers to be an excellent resource, but (like any marketplace) it’s not ideal for every situation. For sellers who don’t meet Empire Flipper’s profitability requirement, who want more freedom than Empire Flipper’s exclusivity agreement allows, or who want to minimize their costs, a marketplace like Investors Club may be a better fit.
Marc has been building websites and online businesses since 2007. He's built successful businesses in several industries, including web/graphic design, photography, travel, and personal finance. Marc is the founder of Flip My Site, where he writes about buying and selling websites.