Now that buying a fixer-upper in the 'burbs, putting in mildly radioactive granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and laminate flooring, and then selling it is a recipe for losing money instead of getting rich quick, people looking to make a fast makeover buck have turned their attention to the Internet. They troll the tubes looking for floundering websites that might have potential, buy them for a little money, change a few fonts and get some Search Engine Optimization going, then try to sell them for a profit.
Peter T. Davis, who calls himself a “Web property developer,” said he owns about 20 Web sites, including message boards about model railroads and coin collecting.
Mr. Davis said he generally holds onto Web sites for at least a few months before flipping them. Sometimes, though, the process is much quicker — like the time he bought a forum about day care centers for $1,500 and sold it six hours later for $3,500.
“I used to make my own Web sites and sell them, but then I realized, ‘Hey, this is much easier than making them,’ ” he said. “It’s as simple as buying a Web site from someone and making it more attractive. It’s about creating value where there was none.”
There's no plans for a site-flipper TV show in the works, but if TV can follow people as dull as Real Estate agents around with a camera, I suppose they could have shaky handheld camera footage of people clicking computer mice and reformatting glitter fonts. But we're left to wonder if we'll need a $300 billion government bailout bill for website investors who've purchased sites that they can't sell and can't earn any income from in a few years. It's not likely. After all, sites like Pets.com went bye-bye a decade ago, and all we got was a little extra bandwith on the Internet.