Originally published October 4, 2012
Unless you’re a close friend you wouldn’t know this, but I haven’t owned my old site RidiculouslyExtraordinary since August. It still looks like it’s mine, but it’s not.
Part of the agreement I made with Dwayne at Ezoic.com was that if he were to buy the site he needs to change the header and remove my name from the site. In addition, I was to be allowed one last post on the site to explain that it is under new ownership. Unfortunately, that part of the agreement hasn’t been put into action.
Why did I sell?
RidiculouslyExtraordinary is the past. After I stopped writing there it became worthless to me. Sure there was a bit of sentimentality there, but I don’t like that feeling. It’s not empowering. Detachment is one of the greatest skills I have developed over the years. Things – which includes the bits and bytes of a website – just don’t matter.
In 2005, as I was quitting a particular business, I was offered 6 figures to sell. Instead of doing that I simply deleted the websites and the accompanying e-mail lists, which was ~50,000 people (~3,000 were paying customers). When I think back on this today I think, “That was young and dumb.” Not because I think it was the wrong decision, but because I didn’t even consider the offer. If I had thought it through I might have very well come to the same “no sale” decision, but I regret not taking some time to consider my options.
So when Dwayne e-mailed me out of the blue in July with an offer to buy RidEx I considered it. I ultimately decided I didn’t like the offer and said no thanks and I didn’t feel like negotiating. But a few weeks later I had a change of heart. “What the hell?” I thought. “Why not just get rid of it? It doesn’t mean anything to you.”
In addition, even though Dwayne’s original offer was much less than I thought I could sell the site for if I put in some legwork, it was still enough to live on for about 6 months. When I thought about it from that point of view – prompted by a conversation with Max – my decision was instant. I thought it would be crazy to pass up on a half year’s worth of living expenses for something I felt no attachment to.
I sent Dwayne an e-mail with a counter-offer 50% over the original offer. In short time we came to an agreement.
How much did I sell for?
Not a lot, but not a little. It’s on the lower end of $XX,XXX. I’ve mentioned elsewhere how much my lifestyle costs so I’ll let you reverse engineer based on the data I’ve presented. I think I got an – excuse me for this – extraordinarily good deal. Prior to selling I installed Adsense on the site (the simplest ad monetization method available) to get a general idea what the site was worth from an ad-revenue perspective. Although RidEx still gets over 30,000 unique visitors/month the daily Adsense revenue was single digits.
In addition, all the content on the site is “uncopyrighted.” Meaning it was always available to you or anybody else to do with as they pleased. Essentially I was selling the domain, the backlinks, and the search engine rankings – which are almost guaranteed to fluctuate.
What was the process?
We signed a simple agreement via an online service. (OurDeal.com – which my friend Kyle owns – is an example of this type of service.)
Then we started the cash and site transfer with the help of Escrow.com.
The site transfer was pretty easy. I backed up and zipped the database (via PHPMyAdmin), downloaded and zipped all the site files (using Filezilla), and uploaded everything to Dwayne’s server. I also pushed the domain from my NameCheap account to his. (Shoutout to Norcross and Will for database backup tips, as I hadn’t played in PHPMyAdmin for a few years.)
A week later the cash was transferred via Escrow to my account.
All told – including all e-mail communication/negotiation – it took less than 2 hours.
How do I feel now?
I feel the same as I did before. I hadn’t felt like I owned RidEx for a long time and it’s not like I sold for anything nearing a life-changing sum.
Though after I sold I went on a spontaneous trip to Gdańsk and Paris. I think it was the first time I’ve ever said, “Hey, you want to go to X tomorrow?” and then booked it. If you’re a history buff you might know WWII began in Gdańsk, specifically Westerplatte. We happened to be there on September 1, the anniversary of the first invasion. If you ever visit Gdańsk I would steer you to nearby (20 minutes by train) Sopot as well. In Paris we stayed in this loft, which I would recommend if you’re ever visiting. (Also, buy 10 pack tickets for the Metro instead of over-priced day passes.)
Part 1? What’s Selling Out Part 2?
I’ll talk about Part 2 soon enough and it will likely surprise a lot of folks.
This is all part of the Clean Slate Theory, which I’ve mentioned before, but I’ve never written about at length. You can probably get the general idea. I’ll write about it … eventually.
Related: I’m selling RollerCoasterTour.com. Just the domain or the site/contents as well. karol at gajda dot com if you’re interested.