Adbility.com For Sale (1999)

By , October 7, 1999

After building my “Web Site Banner Advertising” site for more than three years, I listed the Adbility.com site for sale on eBay.  It sold for $168,800. (The actual winning bid amount was $175,000, but the buyer didn’t want my web servers, so I reduced the price based on the value of the servers).

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Adbility.com is FOR SALE

“Web Publishers’ Advertising Guide”

(Updated October 7, 1999)

This sale is now being conducted as an AUCTION on eBay: See http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=175221115 (bids close on October 13, 1999).

I am continuing to seek a buyer for my “Web Publishers’ Advertising Guide” web site (at http://www.adbility.com/wpag/). The site has provided listings and information about advertising networks and affiliate programs (and related resources) since April 1996. Traffic is more than 150,000 pageviews per month, mostly by webmasters seeking to enhance their advertising revenue.

Advertising at the site is currently “sold out” and is pre-paid through November 30. (Total revenue for the current quarter, September through November, is more than $30,000.) You can see the current advertising rates and allocations for Q3/1999 at http://www.adbility.com/wpag/baf_spon.htm

I expect that the actual sale price will be between $200,000 and $500,000. (I have turned down all “lowball” offers of $100,000 or less.) Many people are “expressing interest” but are actually just curious. Others have even made “offers” that are very vague and then withdrew the offers when I requested detail. (Apparently, pretending to be a potential buyer in order to waste my time is entertaining to some people.)

I will apply a substantial discount to any offer that includes shares of stock in a private company, or restricted shares in a public company.

I assume that any buyer will require some transitional editorial and business consulting services for three to six months as part of the transaction.

Summary Financial Data for Adbility.com:

Revenue (not including consulting):
1998 gross receipts: $49,712 (January 1 – December 31, 1998)
1999 gross receipts: $74,200 (January 1 – October 3, 1999) (see also: http://www.adbility.com/wpag/baf_spon.htm)

For more detailed financial information, see:

* http://www.adbility.com/valuation/financial_statement.htm (January – July 1999) or
* http://www.adbility.com/valuation/welch_98_99.xls (an Excel spreadsheet with all revenues and selected expenses from January 1998 through October 7, 1999)

Site Traffic: You can view ad performance statistics from May 1998 through the present, by following the links from the Ad Rates page. You can also view the actual site logs, and download them to analyze on your own computer, at http://www.adbility.com/logs/ (note that most activity is recorded under W3SVC3 which is the log for adbility.com, but some traffic is routed to markwelch.com, WPAG.com, or WebAdGuide.com).

Receivables: None. There are no accounts receivable. I demand prepayment for all advertising at Adbility.com (in the past, I have made exceptions for “pay-per-click” advertising and other “remainder” advertising used to fill unsold inventory, but the site is currently sold out and is expected to sell out in future quarters).

Expenses:

* Colocation Fees: Currently $415 per month at above.net, but I will be locating the new server elsewhere, so this expense is expected to rise.
* Other expenses: Telephone & supplies
* No current salary expense (sole proprietorship), although I am currently interviewing candidates for the position of “editor.”

Assets:

* “Old Server” – Dual Pentium II 350 MHz, 256MB, 2x4GB SCSI 10K, Windows NT Server, IIS, SL Mail), purchased Dec. 1998 ($4,000)
* “New Server” – Dual Pentium III 500 MHz, 512MB, 2x9GB SCSI 10K, Windows NT Server, purchased October 1999 ($5,000)
* No other tangible assets would be included in the sale price

Domain Names included in sale offer:

* Adbility.com
* WPAG.com
* WebAdGuide.com
* AdCents.com
* Adversion.com
* Adsv.com
* AdCounter.com

I assume that all seven of the above domain names will be included in the sale transaction. The domain name “markwelch.com” is not for sale, but I will agree to redirect all relevant pages to adbility.com as a term of the sale contract.

There are also seven moderated mailing-list discussion groups associated with the site:

* AdNet-L (ad networks and brokers),
* AdServe-L (ad serving solutions),
* Affiliate-L (commission-based advertising),
* AdResults-L (advertising campaign results),
* AdultAd-L (advertising opportunities for adult web sites),
* BannerExchange-L,
* Click-L (pay-per-click advertisers and ad networks).

These groups are currently hosted at egroups.com (but I “suspended” them in early August due to pervasive technical problems at egroups). See http://www.adbility.com/wpag/baf_list.htm for more information about these groups. An eighth list, called “WSBA-Digest,” was a periodic newsletter also hosted at egroups.

Liabilities: There is no business debt (since this is a sole proprietorship, business and personal debt are essentially the same and any sale would require liquidation of UCC liens and business debts).

Some observations: Obviously, there is a nicely rising revenue curve, currently exceeding $30,000 advertising revenue per quarter. That explains why I have rejected offers of $50,000 to $100,000.

There are many ways that the site could be altered to enhance revenue. In addition, there are many likely “extensions” for content at the site, and other logical extensions would include “authenticated user feedback” to enhance the “community” nature of the site. It is also possible that a buyer might seek some other benefit (such as providing the resource in order to enhance the buyer’s own brand and reputation).

Email: sale@adbility.com

— Mark J. Welch, Editor & Publisher
— Adbility’s Web Publishers’ Advertising Guide
http//www.Adbility.com/WPAG/
— (925) 462-8483 voice – Pleasanton, California

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