Why to avoid buying adsense or affiliate websites
If you’re a beginner in the world of buying websites online, the promise of easy passive income might seem tempting, potentially leading you astray. Platforms such as Flippa.com and EmpireFlippers offer hundreds of listings flaunting this promise. Most of these are content-only sites, generating revenue through ads or affiliate links, often from Amazon. Generally, these sites don’t offer services that customers pay for directly. However, certain risks associated with these ventures include:
Continuity in content generation
Maintaining your traffic flow
Stability of your income
The first risk can be managed reasonably well; you can either produce the content yourself or hire someone to do so. The profitability of this move, however, is a completely different discussion.
The second risk is more challenging to handle. A majority of the traffic for these sites originates from Google, presenting a risk you have little control over. While some suggest measures to maintain your Google ranking, it’s not a foolproof solution, and in my opinion, your incoming traffic should be diversified. I recommend aiming for at least 50% direct traffic and 30% social traffic.
The third risk is perhaps the most overlooked by beginners, and it’s highly pertinent to this narrative. A few years ago, I planned to buy a high-traffic content site (>50k a month) that created top 10 book lists. The site earned about $1-2k a month from Google ads and Amazon affiliate links. I secured a great deal for approximately $28k. The site was transferred without a hitch, set up on my WordPress hosting, and I replaced all the Google ads and Amazon affiliate links with my own. Things seemed to be going smoothly for a week or two until Amazon denied my affiliate account due to a “lack of original content”.
My interpretation of what happened was that because the seller had a more ‘reputable/older’ Amazon affiliate account they didn’t scrutinize his account as closely. This is a phenomena that I have noticed happening even with Google Adsense recently as well.
Ultimately, the seller was very reasonable (don’t ever buy from an unreasonable seller) and agreed to refund the money minus a month of lost profit. I’ve always regretted that deal not working out because I had a very nice algorithm written that could have automated a lot of the writing process.
Since this experience, I now request all sellers to replace their ads, links, and so forth with mine for about two weeks before the purchase. This strategy helps me ensure that there won’t be any unexpected issues post-transfer. Many sellers decline, which is fine by me. It simply indicates they either have something to hide or are unwilling to put in a bit of effort to facilitate the sale of their site.