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Old 04-01-2001, 08:16 AM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 110
Unhappy Website/Domains/Proprietary Technology For Sale

In addition to offers for purchase, I would also appreciate any appraisals that users could offer, so I can list an appropriate asking price on other for sale listings.

1. Your name?

Lenny Grover
E-mail: lgrover2000@hotmail.com

2. URL(s) of site?

The main URL of the site is http://www.adswappers.com
I also own the domains that have the same names as the AdSwappers exchange services: clickswappers.com, clickswapper.com, searchswappers.com, timeswappers.com, startswappers.com. These domains, as well as popupswappers.com (we had a popup exchange that we replaced with StartSwappers due to lack of interest and annoying bugs), linkswappers.com (a planned text link exchange that was never implemented), and ideaswappers.com (the URL we were going to use for the discussion board and forums that we never implemented) will be included in the sale. Basically, we registered enough domains to protect our brand identity and allow for the offering of new services through the AdSwappers site.

3. Age of site?

2 months (during almost the entire second month, the site was down as a consequence of problems with our web host (CWIHosting) described in the Web Hosting forum.

4. Approximate monthly page views and/or unique visitor?

The nature of the site fosters a very loyal community of visitors that views a relatively large number of pages, per visitor. Before the site experienced hosting problems, it was getting between 4,000 and 10,000 page views a day (the TimeSwappers program generates a lot of page-views). However, there were only about 6,000 unique visitors recorded in the site's first month. After I had to take the site down, for a week, to move it to a temporary server, I put up a WebTrendsLive tracker on all pages to gauge traffic. Before the site went down, I sent out a notice warning that the site would be down for at least a week. Even though I have not sent out an e-mail announcing the site is back up, I have had over 1,100 unique visitors over the last 6 1/2 days, and over 21,500 pageviews in this period. Unlike other sites that have a loyal audience that views 15-20 pages per unique visitor, our CTR is reasonably good. Since we use frames and our TimeSwappers software to ensure that ads are visible for 20 seconds (instead of being merely "displayed" for 8 seconds on most content sites), we get a CTR between .1% and 1.0% even on LinkBuddies banner exchange ads. The CTR was almost directly proportional to the freshness of the ads (the longer we left ads from the same category - many of the same sites - running, the lower the CTR would get).

Though we do not have much traffic, almost all of the visitors are coming from word of mouth advertising. One member submitted us to Google but, though we have a reasonably good "page-rank" because of all the links to our site, I have yet to receive one visitor from their search engine. The initial traffic came from advertising on my competitor sites, though many of the hits (including those from the e-zine ads) were lost because CWIHosting disabled the site at the time. Our member database has about 50% of members coming through referrals (even considering the initial batch of users who came through my advertising) and the membership database is growing by about 5-10 a day (1-2% daily growth).

As you might have guessed by now, the value of the site is primarily the value of the proprietary technology that powers it and not the little traffic obtained in 2 months.

5. How does site generate income? How much?

Between the hosting problems and other work I am involved in (see "reason for selling"), I have not had much of an opportunity to pursue different revenue streams. You could easily replace the banner exchange ads with ContentZone or CPC ads and you could make $20-$40 month that way (especially since you could display full-page ads through the ClickSwappers and StartSwappers services). We were previously using SearchFuel to provide the SearchSwappers results and that generated a few dollars (though not enough for a payout), and that could be replaced with Search123 of other co-branded CPC search. With as little traffic as the site currently has, its revenue potential is limited. However, these exchanges are a perfect way for a popular webmaster services site, free web host, etc. to monetize existing traffic. The viral nature of the programs will bring targeted traffic to your other offerings; the ability to offer credits as an incentive to join CPA programs targeted at webmasters (you would need to OK these incentives with the individual affiliate) could get a very high response from your current traffic; the high number of pageviews per visitors, and decent CTR, is ideal for banner advertising; the SearchSwappers program is perfect for a search affiliate program and the StartSwappers/ClickSwappers programs can run full-page ads.

Another interesting revenue stream that could be exploited is the licensing of the scripts. I am selling the full copyright to the scripts and software (with a few exceptions explained later: royalty-free libraries/code), and you could repackage them for sale to other webmasters. I do not know of any off-the-shelf scripts for any of the exchanges that I offer, and the high cost to produce interactive database enabled websites (the average eLance offer to produce simple banner exchange management scripts is $4,000, even from Indian consulting firms), let alone the TimeSwappers companion software, ensures that you will not face much competition.

6. Who develops content and administers the site and how much time does it require?

Developing the scripts and software was very time-intensive but, since this is a web application and not a content site, it can run nicely without any intervention. You need to answer support e-mail, delete sites that violate the ToS (users can report offending sites, so you just need to check your e-mail and delete reported sites), and periodically check logs to delete people who are attempting to cheat the service, and these tasks can take up to an hour a week. But, if you take a week off, the site will continue to hum along. In the two months the site has been running, the only downtime was deliberately induced by CWIHosting or caused by routine maintenance of the servers. The scripts, themselves, are remarkably stable.

If you want to design additional features, that could take a lot of time, depending on the complexity of the features to be developed. The structure of the current codebase is straightforward and there aren't any complex regular expressions, etc. that a relatively new Perl programmr would have difficult understanding. I am the only person working on the site.

7. What industry/audience does your site serve?

Personal and small-business webmasters.

8. Is knowledge required of the industry served by your site?

You will only need a basic knowledge of the Internet advertising industry (just like with every other site listed here).

9. Reason for selling?

Between my classed and another complex website that I am working on, I really do not have time to develop AdSwappers to its fullest potential. I am basically a beck-end developer and am far better at developing the underlying scripting for a site than front-end design or site promotion. I also do not have the money or existing traffic to seed AdSwappers with enough users to fully realize the benefit of its viral nature. I will also need the money to launch my next project and fund an associated CPM-based Webmaster affiliate program (You have not heard the last of me!). Though AdSwappers is relatively cheap to run, I feel that it would simply be far more valuable to another person than it currently is to me.

10. Will you help with the transition of the site to the new owner?

If you give me appropriate permissions and information, I will recreate the database on your server, configure the scripts to run properly on your system and install them as part of the purchase price. I am not familiar with domain transfer fees, but we can negotiate those into the purchase price as well. I will also answer questions about the site or its underlying code for a certain time after the sale (to be negotiated), to ensure that you understand how the site works and how to modify it to suit your needs. If you require any additional services (with the exception of the couple outlined below), we can negotiate an appropriate consulting rate. However, keep in mind that I am selling this site partially because I do not have time to fully develop it on my own.

11. Does the site have an e-zine or newsletter? Number of subscribers?

The site is membership-based and has just over 440 confirmed members and over 100 prospective members waiting for confirmation. Since the temporary server I am using to host the site does not have sendmail, there is an increasing backlog of members waiting to be confirmed. The membership generally grows at about 5-10 users a day, but will sometimes get as high as 30 members a day. In general, there is about 2-3% daily growth without extra promotion or search engine hits, because of the viral nature of the site. All subscribers have their e-mail addresses confirmed (and re-confirmed in they change their e-mail) before their membership is activated. If you purchase the membership database, know that you cannot send them third-party opt-in email (though you may advertise in your e-mail updates), or license their information to third parties without their explicit consent. This is outlined in the privacy policy.

11 1/2. Is there any additional information that is pertinent to the sale?

Since the primary value of the site is the proprietary scripts and software, I will briefly outline their functionality and other related information. As part of the sale, you will be the copyright holder of all of the included code that powers the site EXCEPT: cgi-lib.pl (a free Perl CGI library), cookie.lib (a free Perl library to handle cookies), and, since some Visual Basic code was downloaded from Planet-Source-Code.com, the Visual Basic program is covered by their general license (none of the modules had more exclusive licenses-it allows for royalty-free distribution of binaries produced using the code but prevents you from publishing the source code or claiming credit for it). Since I do not own the copyright for those components, I cannot transfer their copyright to you. You are otherwise free to license the code as you please and I will not have the right to sell it to anybody else.

Since the temporary server I am hosting the site on (a PII/233 with 92MB RAM running Windows, MySQL, and ActivePerl-my desktop workstation in case you haven't noticed!) does not have Sendmail, new registrations and e-mail address changes cannot be performed. As a result, I have set up a sample account for you at:

Username: test
Password: test

so that you can play with the site and demo it for yourself. Please do not change the password!!! Some basic features are:

1) automatic sign-up and e-mail confirmation
2) 2 level referral tracking and real-time statistics (including referral statistics)
3) real-time crediting and debiting of advertising credits
4) complete account management including the ability to add an unlimited number of sites per account, remove sites, assign credits to sites, set the banner for a site, change the account's password and e-mail address, all in real-time
4) the ability to exchange credits earned in one advertising program to another at a specified exchange rate (I do not know of any other advertising exchange that offers this), in real-time.
5) the ability to transfer credits for any program to another AdSwappers user
6) automatic rotation of sites/ads for each program
7) a downloadable Windows program that automatically rotates ads on users' desktops and automatically runs at startup, loads itself when the user connects to the Internet, temporarily unloads itself when a user disconnects from the Internet (to be loaded again if he reconnects), suspends itself if a user is inactive for more than 3 minutes (so as not to display ads when a user isn't present) and automatically rotates ads every 20 seconds.

I also planned to implement an admin interface that would allow the present the administrator with a list of all sites currently in the database and allow him to review them and delete them if they violate the ToS. While the user specifies a category for each of his sites, category targeting is not currently implemented. It increases the page-load time of the exchange pages by as much as 50% (percent increase in load time decreases with number of sites in category, as it becomes more likely that there will be a site waiting to be displayed in a given category) and, with only 450 users, the load time increase is not justifiable. I would be willing to negotiate these additional modules into the purchase price. If you would like them included with the site, please say as much in your initial offer. If we agree on a price and only then do you tell me you want these modules, they will cost extra, as the cost to produce them has not been factored in the purchase price.

The code that powers the website is written in Perl (version 5) and uses Perl/DBI to communicate with a MySQL database. The Windows program is written in Visual Basic 6.

12. Asking price for the site?

Negotiable, make an offer. I would appreciate any appraisals to help me determine a fair value for the site.

LaNMaN is offline  
Old 04-13-2001, 07:39 PM   #2
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 110

The buyer backed out so the site is still available. Feel free to make an offer.

LaNMaN is offline  


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