How much would YOU pay for
September 13, 2007 12:11 PM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of putting my once-great anti-Microsoft advocacy website up for sale. But should I even bother?

I have the dubious distinction of being the guy behind, a website I started in 1999 without any real aim or ambition. For a while, I kind of maintained it, off and on. The last time I really gave it any attention was over two years ago, though.

What keeps it alive is the forums, though -- to this day, it still has an active user base, despite the fact that the long-running joke is that the administrator (me) is essentially an absentee landlord. A few other forum moderators keep an eye on things and "hire/fire" other moderators as needed. Otherwise, weeks will go by without me even THINKING about the site.

There's also some value in the fact that a slew of other domain names all point to the site --,, and about 15-20 more of roughly equivalent "value."

I feel like it may be time to let it go. It was vaguely interesting years ago, but it grew into an annoying albatross. I get SO much spam (several messages every time my e-mail client checks -- and that's every FIVE minutes) that what little real feedback comes in has maybe a 5% chance of being read (or even noticed) by me. And what I do get, I don't even answer.

There has been some media coverage of the site before -- mainly online, but by household-name media, and I was once interviewed on Pacifica's Free Speech Radio News show. A few years ago, the website could probably be fairly described as being somewhat well known among geeks. All that is gone now. (Of course, the fact that hating Microsoft ceased to be a "geeky" thing years ago and is now as mainstream as Britney Spears has a lot to do with it, I guess.)

In this phase where I'm trying to "de-clutter" my life, parting with this site would be a great idea. But I also have a not-inconsiderable amount of debt, and selling it for a decent sum would be a a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

I've never bought or sold a website before, and I've only bought virgin domain names from GoDaddy, etc. So I have no clue about what kind of money is involved here. But it seems to me that I can get a reasonably healthy sum if I play my cards right. I'd sell the site -- both the main site and the forums, and all associated domain names -- but ideally, I'd like to see something in the five-digit range. Am I nuts?
posted by CommonSense to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
I haven't used it but You may want to look around, they do domain reselling.

To determine a price you will likely need to share traffic, ad stats, #forum users, etc.

Are any of the forum mods interested in purchasing? Active user with some cash to spare? I'd start my search there. Good Luck
posted by imjosh at 12:19 PM on September 13, 2007

I'd like to see something in the five-digit range. Am I nuts?

posted by feloniousmonk at 12:27 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

If you're going to sell out, sell out big. Give Microsoft the first and last bid.
posted by chairface at 12:28 PM on September 13, 2007

I would say SitePoint is probably the most appropriate place to sell your site. There's a few other sites like it, and people cross-post a lot of stuff. You could also consider eBay, but it's far easier to get lost in the shuffle there.

The negative part of SitePoint is sites generally sell for low prices, like 6 months to 2 years of earnings, but if you have a site that really interests people and has a lot of latent value or history, those #s can get thrown out the door. It's a good place to get exposure, so feel free to put it on there with a high starting bid if you want to test the waters.

If I was to guess, I'd say you'd likely get anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars for it, not knowing more details. Of course it's possible you sell it for $50k or higher, but it's hard to guess not knowing more about sites like that.

The next step up would be something like BizBuySell, where people try often sell companies for millions. They also sell brick-and-mortar companies there. That's probably overkill, but you can poke around and see what they have - most of the sites listed there are posted by brokers, so maybe if you dig around you can find one to champion your site.
posted by lubujackson at 12:39 PM on September 13, 2007


I would aim high, but don't get your hopes up too you've said, hating Microsoft is a lot more mainstream now. Of course, that may help you.
posted by DMan at 12:41 PM on September 13, 2007

Could you use eBay? This seems like one of those silly news stories that could generate publicity and increase the price. Maybe Golden Palace will come a'knockin'?

Also, this is an excellent time to sell - Microsoft products are not doing as well as they used to. Vista doesn't have the rabid adopter crowd that Apple is now cultivating. Their music player is a joke, and they don't seem to be doing any leading in the tech sector right now. I bet you could get low 5 digits if you find the right buyer.
posted by dendrite at 12:43 PM on September 13, 2007

Maybe Microsoft would be interested in buying it

Worth a shot, but I'm betting they wouldn't.

I would try to find a personal recommendation for a domain reseller, and see what they appraise it for.

How many users in the active base? If you have on the order of a thousand, you might float a plan that if they can raise, say, $1,000, they can buy it and run it as some sort of collective. That's just $5 or $10 per person at most, assuming you can get 100-200 people to buy in.

You can also try putting it (and the community) on eBay, but I think it is good form to give the community members a chance to buy it first.

My gut instinct is that hoping for five figures is overly-optimistic. Keep us posted on the outcome.
posted by mikepop at 12:52 PM on September 13, 2007

Before you sell, you should get a good idea of the value of what you're selling. Are you running any stats packages on it like Google Analytics?

I also didn't see any ads on it. Have you considered running ads for income? If you get a decent amount of traffic and ad revenue, I think you should at least consider continuing to run it and split some of the ad revenue with a few trusted site administrators and moderators who can upgrade the profile and infrastructure of the site. Nothing like seeing a nice check in the mail every month for doing practically nothing.
posted by junesix at 12:53 PM on September 13, 2007

Do not attempt to sell it to Microsoft. This may turn your site into fair criticism of the company into trying to profit off their trademark. IANAL, but definitely check with one before contacting MS.
posted by null terminated at 1:03 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

Maybe Apple or one of the *NIX/ BSD companies would be interested?
posted by ReiToei at 1:11 PM on September 13, 2007

Also, and please believe me when I say I'm not trying to be funny, but you could try selling it to a porno company specialising in 'little people' (dwarf) fetishes.
posted by ReiToei at 1:13 PM on September 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

You could always donate it to Slashdot.
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on September 13, 2007

To sell your site, you should start collecting stats - pageviews, unique visitors, etc. I was surprised that you don't have googleads, or some kind of ads.

A site that gets lots of documented traffic can be sold. It's also a great name, and you have actual traffic. You might be surprised at how much ad revenue you could generate.
posted by theora55 at 2:01 PM on September 13, 2007

Do you care what happens to the site after you sell it?

Anyone who buys the site will likely want to start monetizing it. That might mean keeping it as is, but slapping ads on it, or it might mean just exploiting its page rank for one reason or another.

Have you considered turning it over to your more dedicated forum moderators? Perhaps for a little cash + a share of whatever revenues they manage to extract out of it in the next 5 years.
posted by Good Brain at 2:05 PM on September 13, 2007

That might mean keeping it as is, but slapping ads on it, or it might mean just exploiting its page rank for one reason or another.

The Google page rank is only 6, which I don't think is very valuable. My personal blog has a page rank of 6, and I've had a couple random offers to buy that domain, but they weren't even four digits, much less five.

For those asking about your forum numbers, here they are:

Threads: 11,300, Posts: 126,155, Members: 3,108

To maximize your income, you should really find someone with an interest in your specific domain name, not just the abstract numbers (users, page rank, traffic, etc.). Your abstract numbers don't appear to be especially attractive, but that could be a really good domain name for a variety of purposes.
posted by scottreynen at 3:46 PM on September 13, 2007

Ask Apple's advertising department if they'd like to do anything with it.

Then ask Microsoft how much they would like that to not happen.

posted by blacklite at 4:46 PM on September 13, 2007

I think Apple would have to completely lose their minds before they'd show any interest in a site like this.

Unless you're getting a shit tonne of traffic to your front page, I don't think that selling the site will net you jack shit. And if you're not getting a shit tonne of traffic, slapping up advertising won't make you anything either.

If you rope some like minded individuals in and turn it into some sort of advocacy blog, shining light on the best open/free projects out there, and manage to leverage your ready baked community into ramping up your traffic, then maybe you can make something of it.

Or, maybe you'll be lucky and find a sucker.
posted by The Monkey at 8:23 AM on September 14, 2007

I think that Good Brain hit the nail on the head. If there's a community there, you should turn it over to them. If there is revenue to be gained, they should send you a percentage of it and you should keep maybe a small stake in it. Turn the email over to one of them, so they have to suffer from the spam. I think you are nuts to expect for anything in the 5 digit range, but you should also do the right thing.
Making something that serves people, but selling them out to make a profit is one of the reasons people hate microsoft. Don't be a jerk.
posted by history is a weapon at 10:56 AM on September 14, 2007

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