Seller’s Remorse – GameReviews.com

By | September 23, 2014

In February 2014 I bought the domain GameReviews.com for $7000 (estibot.com appraised value = $63,000). Over and over again I had vowed to stop buying domains but I saw this domain for sale in an email newsletter and felt compelled to buy it, even though I did not have any particular plans for it and was not that into video games.

I figured I would try to setup a game reviews site, and if that did not work I could always sell the domain for what I paid for it. I did not want to pay to have people write game reviews for me, since there are already hundreds of sites that do that, so I decided to setup a big site of existing reviews. I bought review site software for $250 from crowdvox.com, but also bought a video game review script from GameSpotClone.com for $197 and then imported their review database (6,500 reviews, 13,000 videos, 196,000 images) into Crowdvox.com. I did not want to just use GameSpotClone.com because I figured there were too many other sites already using it so Google would not consider the content unique, plus Crowdvox.com had some features that I liked.

I got a working version of the site up and running, but never really put the finishing touches on it or did anything to promote it, and it never got any traffic at all from Google. Since I was experimenting with selling domains on Flippa at the time I decided to post the site for sale on Flippa (Click Here to see that listing). The highest bid was $9000, and my reserve was $20,000, so it did not sell. But, I had a private offer by email for $12,000 and another buyer said they could probably pay more than that, but needed time to come up with the money. Yet another buyer wanted to pay $25,000 but finance it by paying $1000/month.

Just about the time I was getting all of these offers, I had an idea for a new version of the site, and really wanted to give it a try. But, it was probably going to make $0 just like almost all the other sites I have launched in recent years, so I was not sure what to do. I could double my money in less than a year and walk away, or try my new site but lose out on all these great offers.

Because I had so many eager buyers, it made me regret posting the site for sale, and I decided to keep the domain. I want to try launching my new site first, and then I can always sell it later now that I know there is a good market for it. I may even get higher offers in the future. I recently found an old email from September 2012 where a broker was offering the domain for sale for $150,000, and another email in May 2011 to me direct from the owner offering it to me for $200,000. In both of these cases, it was just one domain on a big list of domains, so that is why I did not remember it. The point is that in 2011-2012, people seemed to think it was worth $100,000+ so there is no reason I could not try to get a high amount for it now. If anything, the video game industry has grown substantially since then, so the domain should be worth more than it used to be.

Also, since 2008 when I sold Bored.com, I miss having a big popular site that generates a predictable cash flow for me, and I think GameReviews.com has the potential to be another site like that. I just need to figure the best thing to do with it. You can see my new version I created a few days ago at GameReviews.com (it is still a work in progress). I collect video game reviews from various other sites and put them all on one constantly updated page. I also do the same with video game news, gaming videos, and gaming podcasts. It is still very much under construction (like it has no real site design yet), but at least it is functional.

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28 thoughts on “Seller’s Remorse – GameReviews.com

  1. NameConnect

    Happy to hear you kept the name Eric, it’s a beauty with a lot of potential 🙂

  2. Anticareer.com

    I don’t think you want to copy full reviews from other sites and post on your site as you are doing now, that could get you in legal trouble. Most aggregator sites only take the first few sentences. If you want to do the site right you need to get people to write their own original reviews on your site.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      No, you don’t understand how it works. I am not copying anything. I am only using RSS feeds that the sites provide for other sites like mine to use.

      1. krishna

        Even copying content from RSS feeds is a crime unless they have permission.

        You are doing a seriously illegal thing if the feeds are protected by rights.

        1. Eric Borgos Post author

          As far as I know, there have never been any court cases over using an RSS feed, so it is a grey legal area. I only use part of content of each posting, I don’t show the whole thing, and I link back to the original posting so people can read the whole thing. I also list the source site and link back to their main page. If any site owner asks me to remove them from my site, I would be happy to. Also, I only put a snippet of their content (similar to what Google shows on their search results), not the whole text, so it could be considered “fair use”.

  3. Samit

    You need to get a good design, seo, smo and also get people interested enough to post unique reviews. Aggregation now needs a lot of cash to promote, not something I’d recommend. And posting so much content all together is also a negative signal for seo.

    It’s a brilliant domain with a lot of potential for massive revenues. I think it can make more profit every quarter than your reserve, but you need to spend a bit to get there.

    I’d love to build this out for you if you’re willing to promote it right, let me know if you’d like to talk.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I’ll have a good design for it up by the end of the week. The domain already Google PR 3 so hopefully that will help counter the negative signals from the large amount of content constantly being added to it, but I agree, that is a problem.

  4. Joshua Davis

    It’s a great name with lots of potential! What about adding some type of community feature to it with user profiles? Like http://www.twitch.tv/ is really big right now.

    Or you could pull video game reviews from YouTube. Even better you could offer gamers that are already making money though YouTube’s revenue share program to submit their videos to your site to reach a better niche audience and in turn make more money off of their current videos.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      Yes, Twitch was recently purchased by Amazon.com for $970 million in cash so that type of thing is big right now.
      Right now the site is 100% automated, and adding user profiles and allowing users to post content or messages would change that because I would need to moderate things, plus I would not be able to have Google Adsense ads unless I approve each piece of content before it is posted (this is especially hard for videos, because it takes more time to watch them all).

      Yes, I could easily add Youtube game reviews and have Youtubers post game review direct to my sites. I already am adding dozens of videos a day though, so I am not sure if I really need more videos. People can already go to Youtube for gaming videos, I am not sure if there is really any need for another site like that. I do agree though I easily pay people to post video reviews on my site, so I would have exclusive (or at least directly hosted content) instead of just linking to other sites. I also plan to have some people write game reviews. But, first I want to see how well the site does without all that. I should have the first version of it completed tomorrow, and the site design by the end of the week.

  5. Joshua Davis

    Sounds good, can’t wait to check it out. I’m curious if the pagerank will go up, down, or remain unaffected. We’ll just have to wait and see. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      The pagerank was from before I bought the domain, so I am not sure what will happen.

  6. Steve B

    It’s not gonna get anywhere by having RSS feeds on there. It’s duplicate content, plus you’re linking out to each source site. You can call it what you want, but it is nothing more than an aggregator site. Same thing.

    If I were you, you should invest in a domain like that. I know you want to automate it as much as possible and minimize work, but I think it can go far with a little investment. You have something that your competitors don’t, a great domain name. Yes, there’s competitors out there, but like I always say, you don’t need to be #1 or 2, or 3, you can just get a small piece of the giant pie.

    Hire someone to write one or two unique articles per week. It might seem slow, but one day at a time.

    1. Steve B

      Oh, by the way, you need a new design for the site. For a game site, that is very boring and dull.

      1. Eric Borgos Post author

        As I said on my posting, right now the site has no real site design. I should have it done by the end of this week.

    2. Eric Borgos Post author

      Yes, it is 100% an aggregator site. That is the point of it.
      Just writing a few articles a week for a game review site is never going to get enough traffic to make it worthwhile keeping the domain. I need to make the site big.
      I hay eventually change the site so I have a lot of people write game reviews for me, and then the RSS feed part is just a section of the site, but I want to start out the way I have it now (with a nice site design added soon) and see what happens.

  7. Alistair

    Killer domain name but Samir is right. You do need a facelift. It could be worth north of $200K…there are many deep pocket buyers in this niche. Make it look pretty. Generate some traffic….DO NOT post it for sale publicly. It it was my domain, I’d keep it…and it doesn’t have to be about video games only but ANY game…Think about it. You could also set up an award program for manufacturers to submit their games to you for review on the site…Endless possibility! Good luck!!

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      The site I have up there now is not launched yet. I am making tons of changes this week, and it has no site design at all yet.

    2. Eric Borgos Post author

      Yes, it could be used for other types of games (like board games), but Amazon.com does a great job with those types of reviews, so I think it would be hard to compete.

  8. Maz

    I think that’s a good domain name and it could be the next big website on gaming review. You should keep it and add contents to it. It doesn’t matter if you pay for online workers to write about gaming review, it will be worth it.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I am going to have people write 5-10 game reviews a week for the site, and I will feature those reviews on the main page, but I am not sure if that alone would be enough to make the site big, so that is why I am also aggregating reviews and news from all the other leading sites. It is not all live yet, but by the end of the week I will have postings from over 100 game sites.

  9. mikecallard

    i am very new to this how do you make money from the site?

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      I will have banner ads on the site once I launch it.

  10. Carl Edgar

    Not sure why you titled the yarn ‘seller’s remorse’ since you:

    (a) You didn’t sell the name
    (b) you didn’t suffer remorse
    (c) you got the domain for somewhat less than you’d get for a sale

    You’re in a win-win situation, Eric.

    1. Eric Borgos Post author

      Technically you are correct, I was not a seller since I did not sell the domain, but I did have the domain in escrow to sell (the buyer never paid) and I had multiple backup offers. I suffered remorse while I had it in escrow.

  11. Joseph Peterson

    Eric,

    Just a thought. Since several people made non-negligible cash offers for the site, those folks must have ideas of their own for how to make the most of it. Why not let one of them buy into your site as a partner and contribute to the development, content-sourcing, and marketing? After all, 2 heads are better than 1 for any project. And a partner is always a more likely buyer down the road.

    Would you do something like that potentially? I’m not stepping forward myself, since I’m clueless about gaming. But I’d be curious under what circumstances you’d partner with a potential buyer. If never, why not. If maybe, what would you look for and how would you evaluate a joint venture?

      1. Joseph Peterson

        Good reading. Always important to hear about bad experiences, since planning for the worst helps structure contracts. It’s none of my business, but I do wonder if you’d have more luck with partnerships now that you’ve been burned a few times.

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