Content Site Netting Over $64,000 in the TTM
Passive News Content Website with Stable Traffic
San Francisco, CA
1. Please state your full name and company name
[Known to Broker]
2. Please briefly describe the business model
TraderSapiens.ru is a niche website focused on the Russian-speaking online trading market; the website provides free news, reviews and tips on forex and binary options trading. The primary sources of revenue are affiliate links and advertising placements by brokerage companies, most of the incoming visitor traffic is organic from Google and Yandex.
3. When was the business established?
The domain “tradersapiens.ru” was registered on the 24th of May, 2010, and has always been used for the current website. The latter was launched in July 2010. The “options.tradersapiens.ru” subsidiary project dedicated exclusively to binary options was launched in January 2012.
4. How many affiliate relationships do you have?
At any given moment there are approx. 50-60 active affiliate relationships; the exact number varies with time as new brokerage companies appear or enter the market, and some brokerage companies go out of business or leave the market. Of the above mentioned amount, approx. 10-15 account for 95+% of revenue for any given month.
5. How do you generate content?
There are two sources of content: the news and articles published by the website administration, written by freelance copywriters, and the visitor-generated content in the form of moderated comments.
6. How has the business evolved since it was first established?
The project has been following the same business model since its inception. The changes have predominantly been quantitative rather than qualitative: higher income, more and closer affiliate relationships, more content, higher domain authority, etc.
7. Who is your typical visitor?
The typical visitor is a 25-35 year old male from Russia or the CIS countries, interested in online trading. Other age groups comprise 60% of the visitor traffic, females account for 40% of the visitors.
8. Are you the original owner of the business? If not, when did you purchase it and how has it evolved since?
[known to broker] are jointly the original owners of the business.
9. Why is the business being sold?
TraderSapiens.ru is being offered for sale because the owners have decided to raise funds to invest into the development of other projects, including foremost the daily fantasy sports portal DFSboss (http://dfsboss.com/). We are currently reducing the number of projects we run to focus on a handful of primary ones.
1. Please list all domain names that are included in the sale
The sale includes the primary domain “tradersapiens.ru” dedicated to forex, as well as the subdomain “options.tradersapiens.ru” dedicated to binary options. It is worth noting that the entire project’s revenue is currently obtained from the latter.
2. Are there any social media accounts included in the sale? If so, please list them along with the URLs to such accounts.
The sale includes 3 social media accounts:
vKontakte - https://new.vk.com/tradersapiens (the largest social network in Russia and the CIS; the group has 2400+ subscribers)
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/OptionsTraderSapiens/
Google Plus - https://plus.google.com/108898756249936073781
3. Are there any mailing lists included in the sale? If so, which service providers are such lists held with and how many subscribers do they have?
The sale includes the project’s primary mailing list, which is sourced from the subscription form in the top right corner of the website, as well as the free e-book subscribers using the form at the bottom of most pages. There are currently 3000+ people on the list, and it is growing steadily with time. We send monthly emails to the list using UniSender (https://www.unisender.com/).
4. Does the sale include existing customer data? If so, in which format is this provided and how extensive is the customer database?
The sale does not include customer data, as we do not collect any, apart from subscriber emails mentioned in the previous item.
TRAFFIC & MARKETING
1. What are the primary traffic sources of the site?
90+% of the incoming visitors are organic traffic, from Google (ca 65%), Yandex (ca 25%) and other search engines (Mail.ru and Rambler).
2. Have you done any Search Engine Optimisation?
We are doing both on-site and off-site SEO. On the on-site part, most of our pages are optimized for specific search phrases (avoiding keyword stuffing) and geared for maximum load speed; the off-site SEO efforts are primarily concerned with increasing the domain and page authority by gradually growing our high-quality backlink base and getting social likes, shares, etc from real accounts.
3. To your knowledge, has the site ever received any search engine penalties (manual or algorithmic)?
To the best of our knowledge, the site has not been subject to penalties from search engines during the time of its existence.
4. What level of SEO effort is required for the site to maintain its current traffic levels?
The level of SEO spending required to stay on the current traffic figures depends largely on the competitors’ future actions and strategies. According to our best understanding of the current state of the market and the already existing link mass and domain authority of the website, we believe that adding 3-5 new referring domains per month (which includes a mix of links to the home page and deep-links to strategically important broker review pages) should suffice to stay on the current positions in search results.
5. Do you or have you ever purchased traffic? If so, please provide a brief overview
In 2014-2015 we have run several test campaigns on the following ppc and cpm platforms: Google AdWords, Yandex Direct, and vKontakte. The campaigns were targeting both specific broker reviews and general topics, such as “making money online”. None of the tests has provided a conclusive evidence of a sustainably positive ROI, which is why we have not purchased pay-per-click or any other type of traffic since.
6. Do you run any other marketing campaigns, such as display advertising, social media marketing, offline advertising or anything else?
At the moment we are not running any marketing campaigns within the current project.
7. How does the site rank for related keywords?
According to TopVisor (https://topvisor.ru/), the project (namely its “options.tradersapiens.ru” part) ranks in the top-10 for 50% of the tracked keywords in Google and 33% of the keywords in Yandex (a total of 430+ keywords are being tracked on a regular basis). In Google, the website ranks in the top-3 for 92 keywords, and in Yandex, we are in the top-3 for 45 keywords.
1. Which companies / individuals does the website generate leads for?
The website generates affiliate traffic for all existing brokerage companies in binary options which target the Russian-speaking web. The largest shares of traffic are currently channelled to FinMax (https://finmax.com/en/), IQ Option (https://iqoption.com/en), Olymp Trade (https://olymptrade.com/), Binomo (https://binomo.com/en), 24option (https://www.24option.com/), and Binarium (https://www.binarium.ru/).
2. When and how often do such lead buyers compensate for purchased leads?
Most brokers send affiliate payments once per month, between the 1st and the 15th of the following month. Some, such as Binomo and IQ Option, pay two times per month.
3. Do you have a binding agreement with any such lead buyers and is this agreement transferable to the new owner?
We do have implicit agreements with all affiliate partners – i.e. there are terms and conditions to which an affiliate automatically agrees when they sign up for an affiliate account; no physical agreements have been signed with any of the brokers. All existing affiliate accounts, including the existing traders and leads which might potentially convert in the future, are transferable to the new owner.
4. Are you able to provide live revenue verification?
5. Is the website’s revenue kept separate from other businesses and/or personal accounts?
6. Can the website’s revenue be accurately tracked back to the website, i.e. do payment descriptions/details include the website’s name or reference to the website’s products?
Most of the affiliate payouts are done via electronic payment systems, and only some brokers include the name of the website in their payment descriptions/details. Regarding the ones that don’t, we are always happy to show live payment system accounts (such as Neteller, Skrill or Webmoney) and match the payments to the respective affiliated based on the date, amount and the name of the company.
7. What are the main expenses of the business (please list any recurring expenses that account for more than 1% of overall revenue)
There are currently three primary expense categories: the monthly payments to the hosting provider (dedicated server, ca $70 per month), backlink building (the amount varies, typically in the range of $50-$200 per month) and content creation (the amount varies, typically in the range of $50-$100 per month).
8. If necessary, do you have tax returns available to support your revenue claims?
Tax returns are unfortunately not available for this project since all payments are being done to electronic wallets.
9. Please list your payment terms (commission structure) for your primary affiliate relationships.
The commission structure for the primary affiliates is as follows; commission plans for all existing affiliate accounts are available upon request, together with detailed monthly revenue figures for each broker.
- 24option: CPA $300
- IQ Option: Volume Share 4%
- FinMax: tiered CPA $200+
- Olymp Trade: Revenue Share 60%
- Binomo: Revenue Share 40%
- Binarium: Revenue Share 35%
- Verum Option: Revenue Share 70%
OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE
1. Please provide a breakdown of ownership and the organizational structure of the business.
[known to broker], co-owner (50%), affiliate relations, advertising, finance; 50% take of net profit; 1 hour per week time commitment.
[known to broker], co-owner (50%), SEO, technical development, content; 50% take of net profit; 1 hour per week time commitment.
2. Please provide a breakdown of the operations of your business
Affiliate relations – getting new offers, information and deals from brokers, managing affiliate payouts – 0.5 hours per week.
Advertising – processing occasional advertising offers – 0.2 hours per week.
Finance – maintaining the reporting file – 0.3 hours per week.
Search Engine Optimization – purchasing new links – 0.5 hours per week.
Technical development – bug fixes, updates – mostly non-existed at this point, since the website has been optimized a while ago.
Content – ordering new content from the freelance copywriter and publishing the completed texts – 0.5 hours per week.
3. Does the owner of the site need any specific skillsets in order to successfully maintain and manage the site?
A basic understanding of SEO principles would be a plus, yet this too can be included in the project manual if need be. In case the new owner does not wish to spend time managing the website, we can potentially organize this as a service for a monthly fee of $100-200.
4. How do you handle customer support and what is the average volume?
Since it is an information resource, there is virtually no customer support required on the website.
5. Do you employ any people or use any freelancers and if so, are such contracts accounted for on the Profit & Loss Statement and transferable to the new owner?
We rely on a freelance copywriter for new content creation, this expense is included in the P&L statement; the service is transferrable to the new owner.
1. What platform does the website use? (e.g. WordPress, Shopify, etc.)
The website is based on the WordPress.org platform, with a custom-built theme; the website uses several specialized plugins, none of which require licenses or recurring payments. The new owner receives the right to use the custom theme on this and any other projects in whichever way they wish.
2. Where is the site hosted and does this need to change after purchase?
The website is hosted on a dedicated server provided by Agava (http://agava.ru/) and can stay there after a purchase – the account can be transferred to the new owner. The server is physically located in Moscow in order to minimize response time for the target audience.
1. Please describe your main competitors
The binary options affiliate market is quite fragmented in the Russian-speaking web, yet several large competitors can be pointed out:
- BinaryMag (http://binarymag.ru/)
- Binaro (http://binaro.ru/)
- BinarOptions (http://www.binaroptions.ru/)
Virtually all competitors employ the same business model and operational principles. None of existing large competitors can be said to dominate the market.
2. What makes the website better than its competition?
The website’s primary competitive advantages are as follows:
- High-quality, user-friendly design which follows UX best practices (good both for the users and for the search engine metrics).
- Special focus on conversion optimization, from unique overlay design to page layouts and buttons tested to provide maximum click-through rates.
- High page load speed (we’ve focused a lot of attention on optimizing the code and the server configuration for lowest loading times possible).
- High quality of backlinks, only in-text same-niche links from established, non-spammy websites, as opposed to random link buying behaviours of the majority of competitors.
The above factors make the project more stable, maintainable, and future-proof than most of the existing competition.
1. Do you own any other internet-based businesses? If so, are any of them related to the website being sold?
Yes, the owners are also jointly running DFSboss (http://dfsboss.com/), an online community dedicated to daily fantasy sports on the Russian-speaking web.
2. Are you willing to sign a 3-year non-compete contract in the industry that the website operates in?
This depends on the exact wording on the said contract; we will be happy to provide a definitive response to this question after examining the specific document.
3. Will you provide 1-3 months of post-sale support & training, in order to ensure that the buyer is able to fully take over the business and its operations?
Yes, we will be happy to assist with any questions and issues regarding running the website.
4. What are the primary growth opportunities that you see for the business going forward?
The most important potential future growth possibilities are as follows:
- Further improving domain authority via targeted SEO efforts in order to rank higher for more keywords in both Google and Yandex, thus increasing the organic traffic.
- Developing the tradersapiens.ru domain – adding more forex brokers and other optimized content, link-building and new affiliate partnerships. This part of the website is currently under-developed and can provide a separate revenue stream given certain development efforts.
- Incorporating media advertising into options.tradersapiens.ru, such as Google AdSense, Yandex Banner Network, etc.
- Offering paid article placements, guest posts and/or SEO links.
5. Are there any geographical limitations to the potential buyer of the business (i.e. do they need to be based in a particular country, region or time zone to handle customer enquiries or to take over the financial and other accounts)?
To the best of our knowledge, there are no geographical limitations to the potential buyers.
6. Do you have anything to add to the above?
To recap, the business package offered for sale includes:
- Domain name tradersapiens.ru
- The underlying websites, tradersapiens.ru and options.tradersapiens.ru (unique content, custom WordPress theme+plugins setup)
- Hosting on a dedicated server (if required by the buyer)
- Email accounts associated with the domain
- Affiliate accounts with all represented brokerage companies
- A comprehensive written guide on running the business
- Freelancer’s contacts for content creation
- Social media pages (vKontakte, Facebook, Google Plus)
- Marketing materials (standard advertising offer)
- Subscriber list of 3000+ people interested in online trading
- Google Analytics account (administrator rights to the existing account)