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How much is an AdSense website worth?

7:48 pm on Jun 30, 2005 (gmt 0)

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How could you calculate how much is a website worth based on the potential of ppc advert and aff programs? Some one is interested in one of my websites, I only make about $20 dollars a day out of adsense on it. Its got a bit over 1000 pages of spam free travel related original content, with only a few high quality incoming links.

Perhaps I could cash the next 3 years at this level on one sale? That will make me $18000 today which I could use to improve my other websites and create more. The thing is that Im sure the site will increase its earnings as is becoming very popular on its area, so Im not sure on what to do! How much to ask, to sell or not to sell?

6:30 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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With 1000 quality content and growing.
with $20 a day (this will definitely grow)

I would not sell this site for even 300000, because in 4-5 years it will get there.

6:49 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)


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It's kind of funny - nobody would say, "I have a business, what should I sell it for?", but people often ask a similar question about a website. There's no magic formula, unfortunately, since the real answer is heavily influenced by the specifics of the situation.

In the general business world, the discounted value of future earnings is often the key part of valuing an acquisition, and so it should be on the web. Unfortunately, as many have pointed out, the predictability of these future earnings may be quite low, resulting in them being discounted at a much higher rate. Perhaps the worst case (looking specifically at a site where the major source of revenue is Adsense) is a website that derives nearly all of its traffic from search engines; there's a significant risk of algo changes, link loss, penalties, etc. that could cause its income stream to falter. If that same site generated the vast majority of its traffic from repeat visitors and stable links, the income predictability would be somewhat greater. Of course, the very "black box" nature of Adsense itself offers a modest risk factor - a unilateral program change by Google could dramatically change the expected income.

In this kind of environment, other site characteristics come into play - superb quality content may have intrinsic value or at least provide the confidence that if something happens with Adsense there will still be advertising sales opportunities.

As far as high-multiple sales that have been referred to, in just about every case there's motivation beyond the current income stream. For example, if I have a high-traffic, thousand page content site that is making great money, folding in your thousand page content site may enable me to ramp up earnings overnight (greatly exceeding your projected earnings). Or, perhaps I've got five thousand pages of good content that I can plug into your Adsense site, and I'm confident that I can pay a high earnings multiple for your site and make it back very quickly.

The general problem with assigning a "normal" business multiple to the earnings of Adsense-only sites is that there's little goodwill associated with the business - by and large, such things as customer loyalty, brand name, vendor relationships, management expertise, etc. just don't exist.

So... if you want to sell a site, find a buyer for whom the site will have value beyond its current earning stream. Otherwise, you'll probably get offers that make it more attractive to hang in and collect your monthly checks.

6:52 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I would not sell this site for even 300000, because in 4-5 years it will get there.

Nobody will ever give you $300,000 for a website that only makes 20 bucks a day. If one would offer me $300,000 for a $20/day website I would sell it immediately.

I think most $20/day won't be able to make $300,000 within 5 years time. A search engine update, aging content and lots of other factors can seriously decrease income.

So it's way better to cash in now for a huge amount of money that can be invested in new websites. (If one would offer you so much, but that will never happen)

7:14 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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But yes, there is definitely a small sector of buyers who'll be willing to calculate potential future profits even without the benefit of three years worth of audited accounts.

There is a certain popular utility type site that was sold on a popular auction site not too long ago that I don't think had any earnings record. The site was one page that would be very easy to duplicate, however I don't think the bookmarked traffic or the 70k backlinks would be very easy to duplicate.

If I remember correctly there were multiple bids for that site and the end price was several hundred thousand dollars. Perhaps that is an extreme example, but I think it does show that many buyers do look at other factors beyond current earnings.

7:49 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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The question you need to ask is not, how much is my website worth but how can I market my website to sell it?

Because only once you are marketing your website to buyers properly will you get a sense of its market value.

Debating it forever in these forums simply will not do the trick.

Because maybe you're not making any money, but some buyer out there knows how to make 100$ / day on it immediately.

So, to him, it could be worth 36K and the only reason he cares how much you're making is because it'll help him know how to grind you down.

In the end though, he'll pay because it'll make him money.

Or maybe you're making a very highly suspect $100 day on spammy techniques. Well, someone savvy will realise that is probably worth 5K or less.

In the end, it's all about getting as many buyers interested an making offers without tipping your hand too much.

8:00 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Without reading the rest of this thread (this was on page 2), this statement makes little to no sense:

I have a $40/day site that I'd gladly part with for $10,000 (250 days of income)

Why? Because I could borrow 10K at a BAD rate (9%) over a short term - 3 years - and pay this back at $318/month, while taking in $1200 a month. Unless this particular site takes a lot of work, I would buy sites like this all day, all night.

If you're really serious and can prove those numbers, sticky me.

8:02 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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These dang threads get started once a week here at WebmasterWorld and all have about the same unrealistic posts from pie in the sky believers who think they should be paid $150 for every hour they worked on their site.

The best solution to these threads is to start a commercial exchange forum for website sales. I think it's been discussed before.

This topic (how much is my site worth) is getting about as old as the most common:

1. I was kicked out of Google, why!?

2. Google is corrupt and cheated me because they sandboxed my site I launched 3 months ago which has 10,000 back links and 50,000 pages of high quality, unique content. (Unique my #$%, it's crap content you stole from somewhere else and/or forum and product pages).

3. What are the highest paying keywords?

4. I were kicked off of the Adsense! Nofair I got cot but the other have n't ad sowry me engrish not so goods. Do what can I?

5. Scraper sites stink.

"How much is my site worth?" threads are always posted by those with no experience or basis in reality with buying/selling sites. They are lost and high on drugs thinking that because Orbis sold for $2.1 billion, the same valuation criteria should apply to their Mexican Donkey Porn Hotel Vacation booking website (which also has AS ads).

IMHO, they should go try to sell their site on some other forum instead of trying to sneak it in on WebmasterWorld. They really don't care about learning the market value on their website because you can tell by their hysterical follow up posts when they find out it's only 6 to 12 months earnings value in the real world.

They don't want to hear that because they were just fishing to sell it here anyway. If you read the start of many of these type threads, you see it sounds more like a sales pitch then it does a website/valuation question.

Website valuation and purchasing/selling strategy is a legitimate topic for discussion. But 9 out 10 times, that's not what these threads are about. It's a fishing expedition.

Spammers is what they are.

8:08 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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I disagree that the expectations are unreasonable.

I wholey agree that a lot of these are just fishing expeditions.

While it is probable that a website valuation is 10 months, it is possible that it is worth less and it is possible that it is worth more.

Heck, if you could seek out and well heeled buyer who would be a perfect fit for your content, they may not even care what your revenue figures are.

Sight unseen, yes, 10 months is a reasonable number. But nobody buys anything sight unseen, so the truth will be much more complex.

8:11 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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> Mexican Donkey Porn Hotel Vacation booking website

And to think, it truly was just a few short years ago when folks were suitably impressed if a hotel had chocolates placed on the pillows as part of the nightly turndown service. :)

8:20 pm on July 5, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This is my first post under an alias.

I am aware of a site, which makes quality of life changing amounts of money (six figures) with AdSense annually. It has other great income sources as well. The site has high quality content, great traffic and stickiness that anybody would be proud of. It is in an industry which has unlimited potential for content building, the sky is the limit. Content building is not cheap though, as a high degree of knowledge and education is required.

To sell this site for 1 to 5 X annual income, would mean a lot of money, however I do not believe the site could be replaced for 5X. Established traffic, branding, stickiness, site ethics, and reputation are part of the equation. There are roughly 5,000 pages of original content, maybe another 15,000 of forums, directories, and other misc complimentary content. If I value each content page at $50 (which would be cheap for the skill level required) that would mean those pages are worth 250,000 (replacement value). Even if one values the rest of the site at zero, one would still have to ask compensation for the branding and stickiness.

If I could by a business for 100K with 250K in assets yes, this is a no brainer.

If I could buy a business for 500K with 250K assets, and 100k income (almost pure profit) yes, almost a no brainer.

This 164 message thread spans 17 pages: 164

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