Former Flippa superseller wants equality on the marketplace

Shane Bellone’s post criticizing Flippa went viral on namePros. The superseller status of Shane Bellone has been revoked on Flippa recently. Understandably this demotion made him angry and he did not wait until he calms down but accused Flippa of shady behaviour right away. His statements are the follows:

  • His status was revoked because he pointed out that the seller is a scammer (and I can confirm that the listing in question was a scam)
  • He got about $5000 from Flippa in credits which obviously played a serious role in his success on Flippa
  • He just had to ask for an Editor’s choice badge (which increases the visibility of the auction and therefore the sale price in a huge extent)

The problem with these arguments is that those sellers who have no access to these free upgrades will than likely lose their money if they try to mimic the strategy of successful sellers.

I am pretty sure that all of these statements are true and they were not denied by Flippa, either. Interestingly, it is not yet fully clear why the superseller status was revoked after dozens of replies. While maybe the timing is not perfect, Shane’s outrage can be considered as an outcry to stop treating sellers differently and this is an excellent point. Kevin Fink, Editor of Flippa is also active in the thread and made constructive comments and explained the evolution of the marketplace, so one can conclude that the problems will be fixed sooner than later.

Flippa is clearly the best website marketplace and they suddenly became one of the most important domain marketplace, too. The same logic that works for websites is sometimes not perfect for domains, so it is a learning curve for Flippa, too. Website buyers look into monthly income multiply it by 30 and buy the website. There is no such a rule for not-expert investors, how to valuate a domain.

I am a superseller on Flippa, as well, so I can surely say there is no such a thing as “superseller treatment” in general. Important to note that Shane was also a broker of Flippa before the Domains Holding acquisition, not just a simple superseller, so that can be a reason for the special bonuses. When I was promoted to this status I thought in my dreams that this badge will make a huge difference and I can sell anything for profit there from that time but of course this is not the case.

The thing is that I

  • never got a dime in Flippa credits, expect those which are public (like domain valuation).
  • never got an Editor’s badge, although asked (for a domain with 100k Estibot and selling it without reserve). I did not get a reply to my message asking it, not any promotional help.
  • don’t see any real difference between being a superseller or not. Well, supersellers have an own support email but I moved back to regular customer support because I got no reply from superseller’s support several times.

Still of course having a superseller badge increases the credibility of the seller, it can increase the CTR of the auctions slightly. Comments from Kevin Fink on the thread suggests that they are moving this direction and gives every superseller what I got – nothing. And I think this is the right move. Don’t give free money to anyone (including Domain Holdings brokers), since it makes the marketplace unbiased and creates fake success stories while making the life of the honest sellers impossibly hard.

Kevin also admitted that he is the only one responsible for decisions who will get an Editor’s choice on Flippa domains and it is harder now to get a badge just because asking. His priority is the one word, short .com. Well, I will test this soon, since I have 2 domains that fits into this rule and I am going to list these on Flippa.

Anyhow, the thread suddenly became a complaint zone. The main complaint is that upgraded listings are sold for massive lost, I have analyzed this earlier, and came to the same conclusion.

What is the problem and how to fix it?

The problem with Flippa domains is that there are tons of sellers and only few buyers and the ratio went worse after Ali Zandi’s American dream came true using Flippa and it was heavily promoted around the web. This story skyrocketed the number of sellers while buyers became even more cautious. It is clear that there is one way to fix the problem that current listings get very few views, including those that were upgraded for $350: radically decreasing the number of listings. Kevin is looking for tips in the thread so here you are:

  • stop giving free credits for domain valuation
  • stop giving free credits to those who contact your support
  • increase the price of basic domain listing to $100
  • give one free basic relist if unsold, not unlimited
  • increase the price of premium upgrade to $1000 – a premium domain starts from $10k in my dictionary so this is 10% of that
  • give one free premium relist if unsold, not zero
  • decrease the success fee accordingly, maybe 5%
  • bring back the spotlight upgrade

This way everyone will think twice before listing a domain, radically decreasing the number of worthless domains at auction and increasing the views of the listed domains. The same is true for the upgrade. The ones who pay a lot of money will get the visibility they deserve. Everyone can list a domain for free in their catalog, auctions should not be free. With these changes, sellers could sell again their domains for profit and reinvest it on Flippa. Free auctions ruin your business!