I’m selling my identity. No, I haven’t responded to an email from a Nigerian prince. But yes, I recently attempted auctioning off who I used to be.
I listed a domain, a blog, and all the online real estate that goes with it, in an online auction.
There’s a lot of back-story around the selling of my old identity, so I’ll start by mentioning that a few years ago, when the new domain extension of .travel was released, I bought a bunch of them. Of course, when the extension was brand new, all top level domains were available so I was able to obtain names like air.travel and mountain.travel, etc.
I bought five top level domains for $100.00 each, and put them up for resale. I was only able to sell one of them. But it sold for $1500.00! And it was just a name with no website or social media attached to it.
Not a bad R.O.I. right?
I’ve never tried it again because I thought maybe that was a fluke, and besides, I’m not really into domain hunting. It was a fleeting thing I tried once upon a time.
Now, back to my identity.
I have owned and developed one domain for over a decade. It’s my travel blog, which I retired 9 months ago and I’m over it. But the blog is still alive and doing fairly well, even without adding new content since its retirement.
A couple months ago I thought to myself, “Self….are you just going to hang onto that thing forever?”
The answer is, probably not. I’m not at all interested in revisiting the destination I blogged about anytime soon. And if I do eventually revisit, I don’t plan to write about it anymore.
But I’m definitely not letting go of something I’ve poured my blood, sweat, and tears into for so long. I want a return on my investment.
This blog just can’t seem to kill itself naturally. The social media pages still attract new joiners, even though I haven’t updated them in months. The blog still attracts thousands of views per month, even though it’s dormant. People are still leaving comments on it, even though I ignore them all.
And to top it off, I’m still earning Google Adsense revenue from the blog.
So again, I thought to myself, “Self, why don’t you just sell that sucker and be rid of it?”
The next logical step was to get online and dig up information on domain appraisals. I needed to know how much it could be worth to the right buyer.
It’s not exactly a top level domain but it is a .com in a very specific travel niche. It’s also been a household name within that niche, and has ten years of activity behind it. Someone with far more initiative than I have could easily give it a rebirth without much effort, and earn more revenue than I ever have.
If that’s the case, you may be wondering why I wouldn’t try to do that myself.
Like I said, I’m over it. The journey was very personal for me and I’m not interested anymore.
So I created a 30-day auction listing at Flippa.com. Out of all the domain auction websites I checked out, this one seem to have the best reputation.
Shockingly, the auction consultants advised me to list it for several thousand dollars, with a reserve price of a couple thousand higher than that. I’ve never done this before so I had no idea what to expect, and I was pleasantly surprised with their advice.
What I learned during my 30-day auction.
The things I learned while trying to sell my soul were little overwhelming, yet invaluable for a non-business minded individual, such as myself.
My auction had hundreds of views and several watchers. Plenty of watchers contacted me asking questions about profit and loss. I didn’t quite know how to answer them because to me, this is a major loss. But my emotions aren’t what buyers were inquiring about.
Potential buyers want income statements, which I don’t have because over years of generating random income from the blog, I’ve never kept track of revenue outside of Google Adsense. I wasn’t doing it for the money.
Potential buyers all asked me to grant viewing access to my Adsense account, so they can analyze the information for themselves. That’s legit, I’d want to know financials too, if I was about to lay down a big chunk of money.
Potential buyers are NOT interested in anything personal about the website. Nor are they interested in potential. They want to know about the NOW. How much it’s earning right now.
So this auction process was a lot different than I thought it would be.
I honestly thought buyers would look at the 10 years, the social media following, the traffic history, and what they could do with it in the future.
In reality, most of them are looking for a turn-key operation.
However, I also learned one lesson very early in the auction. There are low-ballers out there who think I’m either stupid or desperate for cash.
One person contacted me two days into the auction and really low-balled me, telling me no one is going to buy at my price because it doesn’t earn enough revenue at the moment.
In the back of my mind I wanted to tell him to shove it, because I know how much I sold another domain for, with zero age behind it. But I politely responded that there were still 28 days to go in my auction, and I’m willing to hold out.
Since I had so many watchers and inquiries, I was expecting this to turn out kind of like Ebay where no one bids until the very end, hoping to get the best price. A bidding war happens.
The suspense was a little anxiety inducing, but it was also fun to imagine how it might turn out.
How it ended.
I didn’t triumph in a bidding war and retire to Barbados. I’m not writing this from an infinity pool with a victory margarita in my hand.
But I DID learn a lot in the process and to me, that’s the whole point of trying new things — to learn.
My website auction reached its 30 days with no buyers, but with a few really cheap offers. Since the blog and domain aren’t going anywhere and I refuse to give it away, I decided not to renew the auction listing.
To answer the original question: Can selling a blog be profitable?
I’m sure it can be! Just make sure you have your financials in order so you’re able to use them as leverage in the sale. I’m positive the cheap offers and lack of bidding in my auction were a result of not being able to provide the information they were requesting.
In hindsight, I’ve given it a lot of thought and have decided against selling my blog as is, because the content is about my personal journey. I don’t want a new owner to have control over, nor piggy back off my personal experiences.
So, my lack of selling success turned out to be a blessing in disguise after all.
Instead I’ve opted to create a new listing for the domain and social media accounts only. This way, if it sells, the new owner can start their own business or journey under my old brand name.
The brand itself will give a new owner a little kickstart in their own direction, while I keep my previous identity for myself.
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