How Mohit Tater Vets Online Businesses Before Buying As An Investment
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Jared Bauman is the host of this week's podcast, and he is interviewing Mohit Tater, the CEO and founder of Blackbook Investments.
Blackbook Investments specialize in online business investing. This includes buying and selling content and affiliate sites, service and subscription sites, Ecommerce businesses, and SaaS companies.
They're working with both large and small investors and have a range of funds/group-buy options. They discuss the numbers for both operators and investors.
They also talk a lot about growing and selling websites. Mohit shares how he failed to start and grow a new site, and instead turned to Flippa to buy one. He was able to 5X and sell that site within a matter of months. This led to a portfolio of sites, and, ultimately, Blackbook Investments.
This is another very practical podcast full of tips and tricks for a niche site and other online business owners. There's no doubt Mohit Tater will encourage you in your ventures.
Interview With Mohit Tater Of Blackbook Investments
Mohit shares how he built out his own personal portfolio, and goes through some how-to's and practical tips for due diligence when buying a website.
He has a ton of experience growing sites as well, and he has plenty of advice that we can all take away.
Relating to his business, Mohit discusses:
- How and why he started Blackbook Investments
- What Blackbook is doing in the market today
- The benefits of funds for both operators and investors
- How the split looks on site revenue
Relating to niche sites and other online businesses:
- How to vet sites before buying – how to make sure revenue is genuine, etc
- How to make your site more attractive to buyers
- The types of websites that BBI are looking for
- What are things that lead to hyper-growth for niche sites?
- The types of link Blackbook builds
If you want to get in touch with Mohit or learn more about this business, visit blackbookinvestments.com today.
- Link Whisper – internal link plugin
- Sam Bass from Chief Operators interview – a similar business to Blackbook Investments
- @MohitTater – Follow Mohit on Twitter
- Mohittater.com – or email mohit [at] mohittater.com
Read the Full Transcript
Jared Bauman: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman, and I'm really excited about the interview that we have for you today. I just got done with Mohit tater from black book investments.
Now we talk a lot about Blackbook investments and what they're doing right now in the market and how they're working with both investors, large and small, the funds that they've set up. And it's really intriguing actually to hear that. The benefits of the fund that they're working with for both the investors and for operators, we get deep into the numbers.
So if you're interested in learning more about how the numbers work, when you're an operator, how the numbers work as an investor, how this type of business model works, you're going to love what Mohit has to share, but we also spend a lot of time talking about growing and selling websites, Mohit. Way back in the day, failed to grow his own site from scratch.
And so he turned to Flippa and with his first purchase on Flippa, he grew at five X in six months and sold it. So we get into the details about that site. We talk about how you built that as portfolio, and then he goes through and shares with us some how tos or some practical tips for how to do due diligence on a website that you might want.
We also get into how to grow sites. He obviously has a lot of experience with websites and growing them. He has to grow those sites for the investors. He has a black book, and so he shares tips on how to grow websites, what he's seen work today and how to make your site more attractive to buyers down the road.
So if you're. Who's thinking about maybe selling a website, you'll get some some value out of that as well. Again, overall, it's just a great interview. I'm really excited for you to join us. And so without further ado, let's dive in.
welcome to the niche pursuits podcast. My name is Jared Bauman. I'm your host. And today we are joined by Mohit.
Mohit Tater: Wait, how are you doing? I'm doing good. How about yourself?
Jared Bauman: Doing very well. Doing very well. Yeah. Welcome. Thanks so much for joining.
Mohit Tater: No problem.
Jared Bauman: Would you let us know? So let's see. Where, where are you calling in from today?
Mohit Tater: am actually on the outskirts of new Delhi in a city called Gerdau. It's like. The second startup capital of India for Bangalore.
Jared Bauman: Good, good. Well, good. I mean you know, you're the founder of of a black book investments and they are a group that works with both investors and then website operators.
So. We have a lot of different things we can talk about. I think it's going to be really interesting interview. We just had somebody who's in a somewhat similar space from Sam bass, from chief operators who is on of a couple months ago. So I think it's going to dovetail nicely with some of the things we talked about there.
Why don't you give us a little bit of your background and bring us up to speed on where or where you started? Yeah, so
Mohit Tater: I started almost like 10 years back. And basically I was building websites since 2011. I, you know, I started Delta, you know, dabbling in, you know, online marketing, the internet, I am thing and all of that.
And just trying to see if this whole thing works, if this is legit and I could not, you know, have any success in the first year, year and a half, two years when I started, because the sites that I was making from scratch, they did not end up making any. So it was not easy. And I was like, okay, what else can I do?
You know, how can I go about it that, you know, so that it works. And then I came upon a flipper, which is a market based to buy and sell websites. And I, I could see that you people are selling revenue, making revenue, generating websites on there, or really low multiples back then, like, you know, six, six monthly, 10 next month.
So I was like, okay, maybe let's, let's give this a shot. Maybe I'm not good at knowing the LinkedIn from scratch, but how about, you know, taking something, growing something that's already, you know, making some amount of money and then growing it from there. So I bought my first step site for like a couple thousand 500 bucks, something like that.
And I was able to, you know, grow it white bell in six months and I sold it for like 12 K in six months, like five X or six X. In six months. And then I just kind of, you know, I could see that this thing works. And once that was, you know, proven, I just repeated that process a few more times. Shorter, there were a few duds.
I got taken for a, you know, a couple of times but I did not lose hope and I was just added and eventually I, you know, started building up a portfolio of sites rather than running just one site. And I slowly graduated, you know, started buying bigger sites, bigger deals. And let's say about in 2014 you know, friends and family, they were, you know, just wanting to ask me what I was doing and you know, what was I investing into?
So I told them, this is what I'm doing. And they were like, can we can be able to do this? How can we be a part of it? So I told them, okay, let's see. Maybe we can buy a website for you yourself, and I can manage it for you. So it's passive for you. I got to get a management fee, whatever, and you'll get a, you know, passive income basically.
So that's how the idea for black book was born out of necessity. And then I started taking on friends, family, friends of friends, you know, as investors, they would buy websites and I would tell them what to buy. I would buy it for them. They would put in the money and I would do the management part basically.
And that's how black books was born.
Jared Bauman: Yeah. Wow. So you've been at this for quite a while. You've been in the website games for quite a while.
Mohit Tater: Almost a decade. Yeah. Yeah.
Jared Bauman: Let's, let's talk about that first site that you bought and flipped on six months later and, and you know, what kind of site was it? What was the what kind of things did you do to, I mean, I know this is a ways back, but I'm just curious, you know, how you flip that side on so quickly and for so much of a, of a, of an income.
Mohit Tater: Yeah. So basically it was a service based website selling, you know, Facebook likes and followers and put her followers, Instagram followers, all of that stuff. So Beaverton. So when I bought it from the salary, they were not doing any paid ads. They were just, you know, getting organic little bit of organic traffic.
That's all they were doing. And they had only a certain amount of fixed price packages. So, what I did was I increased the pricing. It's the price that introduced higher value packages. And then I started paid marketing. And then I also reached out to people who I saw, who I could see, very, not trying to grow their audience, you know, by either doing like, you know, people who were just putting themselves out there on these platforms, like Instagram, Facebook, and they were just trying to improve their and increase their audience.
So I reached out to them with, you know, my offer that I can help you increase your. So that's how I could, you know, you know, multiply the business that they income in, in shorter sports, short span of time. And after that I like six months. I just wanted to sell it to see if this thing works. If I can actually just sell it also.
So the whole cycle is complete and once that was proven we'll just go back to that. That's pretty
Jared Bauman: fascinating. I think a lot of website owners ignore paid ads as an opportunity to drive revenue. And so that's, that's interesting. You mentioned that you bought that site on flip up and that you went on to buy, you know, many others.
I mean, there weren't quite the robust number of brokerages available at the time to offer websites. Now there's a lot of Facebook groups. There's a lot of different areas to go to buy sites, but at the time, What were you leaning into to find these websites? Was it flip exclusively, or did you have other avenues that you were getting deals from?
Mohit Tater: Flipper exclusively puts the wild, wild west back then? I didn't even know of any other places where I could buy websites. So I just changed up on flipper. And once I bought a few sites from there, I was just, you know like, you know, this I'm getting good deals from here, so no need to look at. But it was tough to find the gems that the good ones from the bad ones, because I was just starting out and I didn't know much are they looking at, let's be very thorough with our due diligence.
Jared Bauman: you, you're kind of, you know, jumping into the next point that I wanted to ask about, which is perfect. How do you vet you know, how did you, or how do you vet now? I know we'll get into that with Blackbook, but at the time as just a solo person, building websites, how were you vetting? Sites that you were acquiring and any tips that you could share about that, you mentioned that you get, you got a couple of duds as well.
Like, so you've had, you've had both sides of the equation where you bought some really good ones, maybe some not so good ones. What are some tips you can share? Because, and the reason I ask is because I think there's a lot of people probably listening. Are in that boat where they are looking at sites to acquire, they are, they're interested in it, but putting out all that money for a site where you just don't necessarily know everything about it is really scary and difficult.
So how did you go about vetting and what kind of things have you learned along the way with the good ones and the bad ones?
Mohit Tater: Yeah, so initially I, it wasn't two big deals. I mean, I was doing like four figure deals, like 2000 bucks. I was just, you know, playing good by the year. There wasn't too much DD.
I was doing as to just trying to verify the revenue, the, the income was coming in and yeah, I mean, very fine. The traffics was the shit, all of that. So that's how I started. And those were monitors. You probably didn't need too much DD on those, but as we have progress over the years, you know, our due diligence process has of course matured and we have.
A process in place now where in, you know, multiple people look at a deal and look at it at, from different angles. And they look at different things. You know, someone might look at the backlink profile. One person might look at the quality of the content. One person might look like they look at, you know the financials all of that, basically.
So it's a multifaceted process now. And I'm, I'm happy to share tips. Now, if you want me to, I can. So, yeah, I mean so it's all about verifying revenue that I think that's the first and foremost thing is like, if the, if the revenue can be verified, the revenue that the is claiming and not just verified and it'd be tied to the site, you know, anyone can verify revenue and show you revenue from anywhere.
Now I've had, when I got taken before, like eight, nine years ago the revenue I was shown was stapled screenshots. Okay. And I took it on the Facebook. But I did not check if it was the revenue related to that site, you know, it could have been from any others.
Jared Bauman: Right. They could have gotten it from a different site or a different source or something like that.
Mohit Tater: exactly. Yeah. Same thing with Amazon, you know, you might be you know, verifying the revenue. Okay. This is the Amazon associates tag for this site, and this is getting so much revenue, but did you ever check if there's any other site using the same tag? You know, maybe they didn't come for that tag is stemming from two or three sites.
And a seller is using the same tag on multiple sites and selling each site has a, at a higher valuation than it should be. So that's another thing. So verifiable and also attributable to that site, particularly at least two out of the very important thing. Can
Jared Bauman: I just ask a question? I'm just out of curiosity, how would you check that the tag isn't being used elsewhere to generate sales?
Mohit Tater: Yeah, so we have technical experts. Like screaming frog and we use screaming frog a lot. So yeah, it's, it's not that difficult if you know what you're doing basically in research, we do reverse very for that tag, basically on these SEO tools and see if any other side is using. So yeah, a little bit technical, but not too much.
Jared Bauman: Got it. Good. Okay. Good, great tip. Okay. So first and foremost, verify that revenue, make sure that it's actually revenue that's coming from that site and that, that site isn't just generating revenue from somewhere else or showing you revenue that isn't tributary to that site both ways. Exactly,
Mohit Tater: exactly.
So, and then we have checks and then we have one person checking the content, you know, how good is the content. Plagiarism free. Has it been copied from elsewhere? Ha has it been written by a native writer? Does it read well, you know then we have things like, does the site have a social following?
You know, if those are legit followers or if they are, you know, fake ones are, is there engagement on, on the, on the social tab? So we got content and then we check the backing profile B, we want to mix the profile. Like we don't want, you know, only like links that are pointed inside that are only niche edits or only, you know, guest posts.
It's good to have a varied mix of you know links in the link profile. So that, that is good, all this, and also the same thing for the anchor text. That should be varied. You know, you don't want to have only brandable or only, you know, money, keywords related anchor text. So you want to have a nice healthy profile.
All of that is there then you know, it also boils down ultimately to talking with the seller. That's one thing that you cannot, you know, Quantify, because when I talked to the seller now I'm had experienced to hundreds of dollars over the last eight, nine years that I can make out if you know, a seller is trying to make up things or if they are genuine, if they're legit.
So that's just something you learn over the years, you know, that you can be taught that. So it's just about how you how the quality of the seller goes.
Jared Bauman: It reminds me a bit. I bought and sold several sites over the years and it reminds me a bit of buying a used car and, you know, used cars get a bad rap.
Right. There's always say used car salesman that it does go both ways. Like you have to kind of do a technical test on the car and make it. To the best of your abilities, everything's working the way it is. And sometimes if you don't know what you're doing, I know in early days I would bring in a mechanic a one time to buy a used car and have them give me their professional opinion.
But then you also very interesting to just talk with the person, selling the car and talk to them about, you know, how they drove it and where they took it and see if it all adds up a bit. So
Mohit Tater: yeah, you, you get a feeling, you know, when you talk to them, you get a feeling. If you know this car has been driven properly or.
So, yeah. You only get to know that once you talk, because paper on paper, you can only see so much, you know? Yeah.
Jared Bauman: Well, good. That's the first time I've ever compared a website to a car, but but there you have it. So let's talk about Blackbook investments and and just give us I mean, you kind of led us up to our black book was created working with friends and family operating websites.
What's Blackbook look like today. What's it offer what's its Cora its core value.
Mohit Tater: Yeah. So what we offer is we offer a website investment as an asset class to a normal people like you and me, you know, we let's say if, if you know, we know about website investing and we want to invest in websites, but we don't know where to start, or if we don't know how to manage websites, we have never, ever built or one website.
What do you do then? But you still want to, you know, get the returns that these websites. So that's where we come in. You come to us, you tell us, Hey, I'm looking at investment websites. How can I help you know, how, how can you help me? So that's where we come in. We look at you know, what they are aiming for, what kind of money they want you to invest.
What's their risk appetite. And if they're wanting to build a portfolio of sites or if they're just wanting to buy a one site are they wanting to get retirement money, you know, from maybe flipping that upside? Or are they just wanting, you know, wanting to sit and get some extra cash, right. So based on their objectives and the amount of money they want to invest, we build a portfolio, we built the practice strategy basically for, for the investment in websites.
And then we identify the right assets for them to buy once. Then we get them, you know, we show to them, we get, get it approved from them. That they're good to go with this one, let's say so then we go ahead and do all the due diligence. Talking to sellers, we get on seller calls. We do the DB. We negotiate on behalf of the buyer of the investor and then B close the deal, transferred the site to our servers take care of the migration, everything in, on changing tags, all that stuff.
And once the site is with us, we manage the site for the investor. So the investor is totally hands-off passive and we take a fee and then they get a month, a quarterly payout. From learnings.
Jared Bauman: That is fascinating. I just love seeing the, these kinds of opportunities available for investors. It's such a good sign for our industry as website creators and as online marketers, it's just so great.
It is. It is. Yeah. So let's talk about the investor side of things and you. That anyone can participate in, invest in this. Like, what is it, what is a typical range of investment that someone is going to bring to the table? Is it, is it varied or is it, is it set?
Mohit Tater: So, so we have a minimum, it used to be 50,000 us dollars until last year we bumped it up to a hundred thousand and a few dollars this year because sites are getting expensive and the multiples are going higher and higher.
So you can't really buy a good site for 50 K anymore. That that is strong enough cash to pay the investor as well as our fee. So we had to raise the minimum of John's gate. So that's, if you want to work with us one-on-one so we have investors who want to put in less than maybe 300 K or half a million dollars, and they want us to make up a portfolio for them, you know, or let's say six months or one year of we get those.
We get individuals who want to buy one site. You know, they have a hundred gates. They want to buy one site like doctors. And then there are people who don't have on gay and they have like 23 or 10 K and they want to invest in websites. So we haven't had to turn them away for quite a long time because you know, it could not be feasible for us to buy a site for 10,000.
That's just throwing off core hundred bucks a month. And let's say we charge $2,000 a month and it just does not make sense for us to buy an offered such. So we haven't turned them away. So what we did was this year, we came up with a group by, or a fund of sorts. When, you know, the minimum was kept at $25,000 and people can participate by just investing 25 K and we'd be pooled a half, a million dollars worth of funds.
And using those funds, we have bought multiple websites. So now it's, you know, it's a double win. It's a win-win because now your money you're investing less money. So that's one thing and your money is being spread over like four or five assets or whatever number of websites you buy it from, from that money.
So even if one of those tanks there's still three other sites that are doing good and everything is not lost. Whereas if you were to buy a one site for a hundred thousand dollars, and if that one tanks, you know, you know, money is pretty much, you know, like gone, you've got to recover that, you know, it takes time to go with it.
So it's less risk and for, and less amount of capital invested. So we are doing the person right now and based on how that goes big, we'll do for the rounds in the picture.
Jared Bauman: Congratulations. That sounds wonderful. That sparks for me, that sounds a little bit like when we've talked about it in past episodes with other guests a little bit, like what empire flippers has done with a fund, is that similar or what are the differences between that?
Mohit Tater: Yes. You can say that it's similar to the structure of the The business model, the structure is is a little different, but in principle, in essence, it's the same thing, you know, we're raising money you know, and then, so in my case, I'm raising the money, I'm finding the websites and I'm operating the websites.
Okay. For my phone for my group, buy her fund with empire. So we are an operator with the empire flippers capital one of the five operators that were chosen to do the first pilot program with them. And. Yeah, that one would be based $1 million basically on the empire platform empire raise the money basically.
And we have our profiles and deals listed on empire flippers.com. People can come and see and invest a minimum of 10 K in HDL. And because it's as empire, we got like raised the money for liquidity. Our deal was the first one to close and we were actually oversubscribed by like $240,000. We had to send that back because the deal did not specify that we can keep them.
So we'll get to send that back. So we raised money with the help of EFT guys. Now what we did was after that, we had to look for deals to buy from that money. So we had to only buy it from empire flippers platform. And so we had three months to buy the deals. And the last day to buy was 21st of July, like just one week ago.
So we have deployed all of our cases. And now we're in the due diligence not to do that. We are in the migration phase and inspection phase for sites that we have bought. And once they are fully transferred to start operating them and be, have a split of profit, which is like 60% goes to investors, the profit I'm talking about a third of 10% goes to empire flippers.
They manage all the investor relations. They raise the money, all of that for that, they take 10%. 30% goes to a black book out of which 23% has to carry that's the earned extra percent is that began because of your, you know, operating the sites. And 7% is due to our own investment, which we had to put in.
So we put in 10% of a $1 million to be a part of the program. So that's how it works. 60 10 30 of the profit. Yeah. There's for my fund, we do it slightly differently with what we do is we, we don't do on the profit basis. We do it on the revenue basis. Whatever we buy, whatever revenue comes in, we split it equally into three parts.
One part goes to investors as dividends. One part goes to black book estimate, admin fee and the remaining one part. The last part that goes back into the growth of the sites, or, you know running link building campaigns for content, all of that, basically. So that's how we are doing it in our fund.
Jared Bauman: Good. Good. Lots of details there. That's really, that's really interesting. A lot of details there. Let's focus on your fund a little bit more if we can. And, or just in general, I guess we don't have to talk fund specific, but just in general, as an investor, if I'm bringing a hundred thousand dollars as a table, let's use that number.
It's a nice round number. What type of returns am I typically looking at? You know, you talked about these, this split makes sense. Investor gets them. You guys get some money for operating the site. And we'll talk about operator by the way. Cause I know that that's another topic. That's really gonna be interesting for everybody listening, the who, who actually operates your website, what you look for, those kinds of things.
But I got a hundred thousand that money's got to be split between me and my return on my investment between you, the manager and the operator, the site, and some of that money has to go into growing the site. Cause that's how you get your flip on it. So. How does that split? Typically, look, if I bring a hundred thousand, you know, what kind of deal are you buying?
And then how much money on a monthly basis is, is being reinvested versus being distributed.
Mohit Tater: Yeah, so, so in a typical, a hundred gift purchase, we can, let's break it down by numbers. We can buy something that is throwing off about $3,000 a month. So that's like 33 X that you buy for a multiples have gone up, but for easier purposes, that's your 3000 cashflow free cashflow every month that you get from that on paper.
How did that like recharge we used to charge it back 50% of the revenue. Now we've just, you know, changed that. So we're experimenting, you know, so we are now doing a fixed fee model also apart from 50% of the revenue share, because a lot of people don't want to, you know, I think 50% is two a, so it's just you know, probably even the fixed price is the same.
It's just that 50% sounds more than a fixed, you know, So, so let's say we take $1,500 a month to, to manage that site. So what remains is $5,000 for you to collect every month? That's $18,000 a year. That's 18% return. That is if you don't grow the site, but typically what we've seen is we have been able to grow the site.
Yeah. Like 30, 40%, 50%, sometimes even more than that you know, in a year, year and a half. And that's increases your ROI in terms of the, the payouts and also when you sell the side. So our aim is to not give anything less than 25% to the investors. That is what we strive for. 30 is really good.
Like, you know, we want to shoot for 30, 30, But, and that's out for our fee. You know, what the investor nets, after every, every fee is taken care of all the expenses have been taken care. So ideally be shoot for 30, 25 to 30. And we want to end up nowhere less than 25, basically, which is a very lucrative and very handsome amount of, you know, handsome return and same for empire flippers scaffold also.
So we're aiming for something in those, in that, in that range, 25 to 30%, ideally more of course, but we want to protect the downside. So I don't want to cap the up. At the same time on a protect the downside. So, yeah, so we shoot for a 25, 30% ROI annually for the investors. And that also includes the capital gain that will come when we sell the website.
So yeah, that's, that's what we inform.
Jared Bauman: Where does the money come to invest in the site to grow the site? Is that it? Sorry to invest in content or link building to those kinds of things. Where does that
Mohit Tater: money come from? So, so we do so depending on what management tier you choose like $15 a month, 2020 500, $3,000 a month, depending on that, we include a certain level of content you know, certain level of link building all of that stuff, keyword research based on what plan you.
That is there and integral to that plan. But if you want to put an extra for the growth, you're more than welcome. So we haven't, you know, we have an investor who wanting to put in like 400 K and it gave him an S we haven't messaged affinity already. There's just a hundred K more to be invested. What they want is after our feet, whatever the sites make, they don't want it.
Cash out. They want to invest all of it back into the growth of the sites. So they don't want anything for the next two years monthly. They're like, let's triple it. Let's, you know, let's double, triple, quadruple the valuation and let's get out at a good multiple. So that's what, so it depends on how much you are willing to put or in about what we offer basically.
So got it. Okay.
Jared Bauman: That makes sense. Okay. So let's fast forward a couple of years. What's the typical horizon. You guys are aiming for, to sell the site. I'm guessing the goal is to sell the site for most of the investors to kind of capitalize on the asset growth, but what's the typical turnaround time on that sale?
Or are you far enough out to even, I've seen that turn into something difficult.
Mohit Tater: I'd say two to three years is what you're projecting. We don't want to hold them for too long. And we, we don't wanna hold them for too less that they're not able to do it. Captured the full growth of the website. So two to three years is when you want to get out
Jared Bauman: So I've, I've gotten my a hundred thousand dollar investment and you guys went out and bought a site and have grown it.
Let's say that, you know, a couple of years go by, we sell it for about a 300,000. Yeah. You know, did dice, it grew, we got to, you know, seven, eight, $9,000 a month, flipped it on what kind of returns then just, you might've already spelled them out. But just so that we kind of, you know, cap it nicely. What's, what's the type of return as an investor.
And as an operator that everybody sees in that kind of a scenario.
Mohit Tater: So, yeah, let's say if you buy a website for like 200 or whatever, in a one and a half years, or two years so we keep a half of the upside, which brings up the upside. So let's say if we were able to grow the value of the site from a hundred to 200, we keep 50% of the extra, a hundred that we were able to add as our, you know, a fee.
Let's say that. And after everything is said and done, like I said, we are able to achieve like, historically what I can say is about 28% is what we have been able to achieve in the past which is of course no indication of what we can achieve in the future, but in the last seven, eight years, that's what we have been able to achieve on average every year for investors.
Jared Bauman: it is. There is there compelling returns, obviously for an investor who might be looking to put their money in stock market or real estate or different things like that. Those kinds of percentages are really, really high for uninvested. So let's let's talk, let's shift gears a bit and talk about the operators side of things.
I'm curious how your. Handling operators and how you're running websites internally and how you're growing them. I mean, I let a lot of the people that are here are interested in growing websites, whether they start them on their own, whether they acquire them through a place like an empire flippers or a flipper.
And then a lot of people here are interested in, in, in selling sites they've grown and bought and stuff. So let's talk about how you're achieving that. What's the operator model look like for you guys? Is it all in-house or do you partner with other website owners?
Mohit Tater: It's all in house. Basically. There is no model there, so it's all in house.
We have people on the team that are operating these sites. We call them site managers, if you will. And they do Antwon, how any independent person would, you know, buy it. Start a website and pull that site. So these people are, you know on the black book team and they have all the resources available to, you know, grow the sites.
We have in-house writers. We have editors, we have SEO. SEO is we have junior SEOs. So the structure looks like is we have, let's say a site manager who is managing two to three sites with them would be a junior SEO who is helping them. You know, with day-to-day for those sites, the site managers usually does the strategy part of it majorly.
And then you know, we have peoples for posting the content, tracking the content interlinking stuff, all of that. And then we have writers too, you know, and then we have a country manager. So the site managers will give their requirement to the content manager. If we can get those you know, kinda pieces done, in-house, it's one managers gonna assign them to our industry.
If not, if we need an expert on that let's say industry expert on that, we'll go out and hire freelancers who are experts in that niche. And we'll hire them, the content manager, vendors, all of that content content comes back to the manager. And then it goes to the site manager who reviewed the content and they, with the help of the tuner SEO's post the content.
So yeah, it's like, you know, or the last three, four years, we have been able to build a nice team, though. It has been really tough to find good operators because. You know, whoever is really good at it is probably doing their own thing.
Jared Bauman: There's a bit of a catch 22 there, right? It is,
Mohit Tater: it is. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
It is a catch 22. So, so we offer a very you know a great environment in the team. Very, you know, and so, you know, a, a common pain point of achieving that operator is that, you know, they don't get to work in a team environment. So that is huge. Is what we can offer, because now they're able to work with other, you know similarly experienced and, you know skilled people in the same industry and share knowledge, share knowledge, and they have the stability of the income that they're getting from from the salaries and all of that.
And we paid the salaries, so, and they get to work in a team environment, which they miss. If they're working. Right. So there's no risks because all the risk is taken by me. We are operating our own sites or you know, or the investors, so they can actually work freely in there. They can, you know, be creative about growing the sites, whereas they might not have been able to do that, where they were operating their own sites.
It could have been risky for them at times. So that's how the current model is. They're always looking for good operators to, you know, hire and operate our portfolios. So, if anyone in your audience, you know, would love to talk to us about being an operator with Blackbook, you know, working with us more than happy to, you know, talk to them.
Jared Bauman: That's great. Yeah. You talked about, yeah, it's none of the risk. I mean, that's a big deal. Like we've kind of started off by talking about how not to get a bad deal on, on, on these kinds of places. And you know, that's probably one of the biggest. Restrictors first well that in cash, like I think those are probably two of the bigger restrictors for website owners and operators.
And the market we're talking about in buying websites is the amount of cash you need to have to get into something like that, which is restrictive for some people. And then also the amount of risk that's involved in buying a site and you know, Hey, what's going to happen down the road. You know, as something as something goes.
So let's talk about you get the privilege of seeing a lot of different websites and, you know, being tasked as as, as an owner of this company with growing a lot of websites for investors, what do you look for in a site that you're purchasing? What are the specifics I'm really trying to think of people listening to the podcast who have sites.
They're thinking about selling what types of things maybe I should ask her. What types of things can they be doing to make their site really attractive to buyers like you? What types of things are you looking for that separate good websites from websites you pass
Mohit Tater: on? Yeah, honestly when we look for websites to buy, we have very stringent criteria.
When you buy sites, we ideally look to buy sites from people. Don't build sites to sell them. We want to buy sites from enthusiasts, you know, who are really passionate about what they're doing, who are experts, you know, in their niche or who just are so passionate that, you know, it shows in their content.
So. Those are the people that we want to buy from, you know, who have done this as a as a passion project or, you know not for making money. And it just so happened that it turned out to make good money for them because it built in fashion and they did it so well. So those are the kinds of sites that you look to buy, and it's easy to spot them because you know, the quality of content you'll see, there will be totally, you know, on a different level than what you would see on a that's a generic affiliate site.
Built to sell because you know, we can identify, you know, good content from bad content the level of engagement that that person has with their audience, you know that the Cho in the comment section of that site. So I think, yeah, that's if the person has, you know, started that side, just because they like that industry or the niche without any other intention, that's the kind of whatever we want to buy.
If you're starting a side could be aimed to sell it. That's something you'd probably might just pass over to be honest. So even for our audience, I would say if you're doing something, do something that you're really passionate about though, even though in the back of your mind, you might think that you might want to sell it in a few years, but put everything into it.
You know, if you're really passionate about golfing, you know, then it should show in that, you know, on that website that you're doing. It shouldn't, it should come across that. Okay. Your enthusiasm for that does really speak have your pictures there have photos, have original photos there, you know, and not cookie cutter content, not stock photos.
It's all about being authentic and differentiating yourself these days. So the more genuine you can come across. Better your chances for a sale and these sites, they don't come to the market at often. And when they do come, they go for way higher than what normal websites go for. So, yeah.
Jared Bauman: And as you, as you look to, to grow on the website to buy, right?
So you're looking to grow them. You've got an investor that, or a team of investors, group of investors. I mean, the the need to grow that site is, is, is very real. I can imagine. Right? This isn't a, you know, I, I own a couple of, I run a marketing agency. And so I have a couple of websites, but you know, if I don't get around to publishing content on them this month, it's, you know, it's not the end of the world.
If if they don't grow this year, it, I mean, that's a bummer. I'm not really paying my bills with it, but when you've got an it team of investors, like you've got to get those returns and you've got to get them in a, in a time horizon. So I'm really curious, like, what are you doing to, I don't want to say short circuit, the growth process, but, but what are the, like, what are the things you're looking to do that really do lead typically to hyper growth again?
And these kinds of things can probably be applied for whether you just buy a website or whether you're just taking a fresh look at your current way.
Mohit Tater: Yeah, it actually blends. It's not rocket science. It was down to just a few basic things, to be honest solid keyword research, you know based on what that site is capable of based on the BR and the metrics that the site has then creating really good quality content, not skimping out on, you know on the content.
Put lesser number of pieces out there, you know, it's all right. But put really good stuff on there. Don't put half-ass stuff there. Just so that you want to make volume, don't do that. Maybe, you know, maybe publish one article that's really good and solid and research, and maybe that costs you twice of what a normal article cost, but don't do three, do one of those, you know, that will give you the results.
Then there's two ways about, you know link building. Want to do it. Some people think that, you know, it's a waste of time, whatever, but they do help expedite the process. We are here on a clock. So we run link building campaigns and try to get really genuine, authentic links based on the quality of content.
Because if you don't have good content, people are going to link to us. So we really do good with content first. And then we'd go about, you know, trying to find links for those as organically and as white hat in a white hat as possible that expedites the growth process for us. If I had all the time, I might not be going that heavy on the building, but we are on a clock and we have to give returns.
So we good content link building campaigns and then just improving the structure of the site. You know, there's not an OnBase stuff you can do, which most people don't realize that they have to do, or they don't do it. You know, interlinking existing articles, it'll link new articles from the old ones going back and, you know, linking the new ones from the old ones.
Get them indexed back. Creating silos, you know, that works really well. You know, we have categories on a, on a side, if you can create silos and interlink the silos that does really well with Google what else? You know, the basic stuff, optimizing, you know Meadows and title tags and having, you know, one H one on pages, having all tax roll the images after getting the images to the owner, all of that stuff.
So it's not rocket science. It's just what really good. And just you being persistent versus stint in putting out that good, confident, getting it out in front of as many people, either via outreach or, you know, by social. If that is a social friend,
Jared Bauman: Let me ask you your opinion on you mentioned controversial or at least highly debated, right?
Let me ask your opinion on another debated topic and how you guys approach it from your, from your vantage point in growing sites. And that's this concept of eat, which is Google's acronym for expertise authoritativeness. Trustworthiness. You talked about buying sites from, you know, people who have a passion, people who care, people who write the content.
Maybe not from an expert standpoint, but certainly from a really knowledgeable standpoint, not just from an intent to sell the site. How do you guys, do you guys pay attention to these kinds of signals, these eat signals? How do you bring those signals? Is it not something you really worried about because of the flipping model you're in, I'm just kidding.
Mohit Tater: No. So, so we do pay attention to too. That definitely if it's if it's a topic that are in our writers are not experts on, they'll go and hire experts. And we tell them that you know, we'll give you attribution on the site and we'd even put a photo of you on the site. And they're mostly most, they're happy to do that.
And since they're experts in their field, that all automatically gives us the EAP, you know edge there and for generic sites that don't need any B use our own authors at times, you know on the sites. And like if you're reviewing, let's say bicycles, I mean, we don't need to be an expert trickier of bicycles.
I mean, you and I can view bicycles if you already know how to do that. That, so B are taking into consideration more and more now the signals and trying to hire more experts in that niche and give them the attribution. So it's a win-win for both. They get more coverage, more time. And we get to have an expert on.
Jared Bauman: Yeah. So basically. Yeah. And that makes a lot of sense. So basically, you know, maybe if you have a, a fitness site, that's a, that's a category where Google definitely, you know, has shown signals that they prefer trainers, fitness experts, you know, these kinds of things. You're going to go out and work with someone who's a published expert, maybe has certifications those kinds of things in fitness.
But if you're reviewing. Dishwashers, you know yeah, he say we don't need, yeah. You don't need an expert for that. And you can kind of pay less attention to those signals.
Mohit Tater: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.
Jared Bauman: With with link building, you mentioned LinkedIn helps accelerate the growth of a site, which is really valuable for you because you're on a timeline.
What types of link-building are you are you guys doing, is there a typical type of link building? You know, there's, there's obviously different types of guest posts. Outreach, there's a Lincoln session or Nisha edits. There's kind of creating really authoritative content, like a skyscraper, a type of content.
There's different types of approaches. What do you guys seem to it's working? We
Mohit Tater: do. We do we do everything we do across the board. Yeah. So that the link profile is mixed, likely this, that initially we don't do only one type of strategy. We, we do a mix of mix of everything, to be honest generally.
Jared Bauman: Okay. So, you know, the time has come to, to sell these, this site or these sites, you know, the growth has been there. Where are you, or where are you guys looking to buy and sell the sites nowadays? Are there are you, are you, are you building up a network of off, you know, off market type of deals?
You know, w w where are you guys looking right now?
Mohit Tater: So, yeah, we're not spending we're buying sites before we get all the platforms, like, you know, the brokers and. Well, the thing is most of our deals happen. You know, the deals that we buy are mostly off-market, you know, because those are more often than not, those are better deals.
If you want, if you know what you're doing, and if you know your due diligence, those are more often than not better. And you get them for slightly lesser price than what you would pay if you were buying on a platform because the brokerage is involved, you know, that you're face the price. So we have an approval of people that know us, and we know them.
They know that we buy stuff. So we get deals, inbound deal flow all the time. You know, we have people looking out for deals for us and he keeps sending us deals. We, we pay them a nice commission. If you do a deal through them, that's off market. So we get more deals though. And same thing for selling, you know, we have a good network that we're in.
We can sell the sites within our network. We don't often have to list on that. Or we can just, you know we have a lot of investors coming to us, so they are all looking to buy a sites. So, you know, if something had been investors wanting to sell a site more often than not that deal that happened within my network within a new investor comes in, buys an existing investors bedside.
So it takes time to build up that temper. But I would say I have a fairly decent network now that you know, I can do the deals within the network. Still it's really good. It's tough to come by really good site. You know, the deal flow is always you know, Charlie to beautiful. So yeah.
Jared Bauman: Yeah. It's all about, it's all.
It sounds like at the end of the day, it's really all about finding those specific sites that meet your criteria. And you know, I'm not hearing you say the multiple is vastly important. These kinds of things are less important. The most important thing is finding a site that you know, was built.
Mohit Tater: Right, right site to buy, you know, I don't mind paying more for that to be honest.
Jared Bauman: Good, good. We've covered a lot today. I mean, I, again, just to kind of recap you have this this investment group that pairs investors up with websites and the website buying space, and then you operate those, grow them. Sell those on. And so I think it's really been interesting to learn about what an investor is looking for.
And then also learn about how you're operating these websites, how you're growing them, the time horizons, all that kind of thing. Is there anything that we is there anything we didn't talk about that you think is really important? Anything I didn't ask about?
Mohit Tater: I think we covered a lot of ground today, to be honest.
And we'll talk about the funds that we're doing with empire, with the black books on. How we operate and what's our philosophy when we, when they look at sites, to be honest I think we probably discuss where the market is going. So maybe
Jared Bauman: you have some good insights there.
Mohit Tater: Yeah. So I think, I think pointing sites are still going to be around for.
And the models might change. But they're going to be around for a bit. A lot of people have, you know, been have been out of market now since the Amazon, since Amazon public permission last there for us. So that has done a lot of filtering, you know, so now only the people, the serious people are, you know, in the market right now.
And I would say the hobbyists, you know, they were just dabbling into it. They have been So high C multiple supports rising, or maybe year or two years, because cashflow is always king and people are always looking for cashflow, you know, and that's why we see deals happening at, you know, 40, 45, 50 X, even these days, because there is money.
There's, it's a seller's market right now, and there's money that people want to pay to buy really good assets. And they, they're not hesitated to big premium for those. So. It's going to go up in terms of multiples for maybe a year or two. That's what I feel. And it's going to stabilize because at one point it cannot go any further because the risk would be too high to buy assets at that price point.
Right. You know, if it's a five X or six X month ago yearly now the risk is high because you are still at the mercy of Google or Amazon or whatever. And the returns are not that great anymore, but there's not. If you're buying at six, six, we're expecting 16% Emily, if you don't do anything, if the site doesn't grow or.
Faults. So that is becoming less liquid. Whereas if you buy it for three X, we're looking at 33%, which a double of that. So at one point they'll stabilize, or maybe, you know, there might be a slight correction in the prices. But I think it's going to go up for the next couple of years, I think because there's more and more people entering the market, more money flowing into the market.
So it's a, you know, it's a seller's market right now. And as more and more people get exposed to this asset class, There's going to be more people like me coming into the market, you know, often they're operating services to investors. So it's really, I would say prime for growth. This, this industry is more money.
There's more people doing it. And you know, like empire flippers capital have capital. What they're doing is really good. They're bringing more exposure to the industry and making it taking it to a whole nother. Because they are one of the biggest players in the market. And if they're doing something like that, varying up investors with operators I think there's more people who are going to come into market with the same model.
Jared Bauman: You talk about what the Amazon associate rate cuts have done to maybe the the, the, the person who's dipping their toe in the water. Right. And it's not as attractive and lucrative anymore. There's also a lot of other monetization methods. What kind of monetization methods are you guys most interested in or are you most looking at?
I mean, there's, there's Amazon there's there's ad networks. There's premium ad network. There are other affiliate programs. And then there's, you know, other ways to generate revenue, whether it's info products and, you know, brand creation, all that kind of stuff.
Mohit Tater: Yeah, exactly. So going forward there, we're only focusing on buying access that are, you know, that can be brands in themselves, or if not brands, they can be mini brands in that nature.
You know, if it's, if it's a building site, It should be maybe the top three among you know, the top two welding sites in the world, because that's a small niche and it's not good to be the top three or top five building sites. So we're looking at, you know, only buying sites that can be, that we think will be around for another five years, at least.
And that can be turned into many brands that have the potential for additional revenue streams. Like you said, you know products and additional products can be physical products, you know have the potential to email marketing, but I think emails. But when right now, what we're looking at when we buy sites is of course diversified streams currently when we buy and scope to add more constraints in the future we don't want to buy a site solely monetized by Amazon.
You know, so Amazon can be a part of it, part of the revenue, but not a major part or even if it is, we should be able to add a new stream of income right away that will reduce the percentage of Amazon income, basically. And the second thing is we are really bullish on these premium ad networks. So you know, all the, all the big companies, let's say Google, Facebook they all make money by advertising so bad.
They're not going to be, you know, so I'm very bullish on that. So we're slowly trying to buy sites that are more, you know, once I was a premium admin, first thing I had to try or immediate line I, I think those are relatively. Relatively safer than buying an affiliate only site best would be a mix of both like Amazon, a few more networks, affiliate networks, and then add income from payment networks.
Jared Bauman: yeah. Yeah. And all those different avenues of revenue make it so that. There's even more reason for people to buy sites because it diversifies the risk. You talked about the risk and how as multiples grow the risk increases. And the good news though, is there's a lot different ways to monetize these sites and to add new streams of revenue.
And so it does sort of balance itself out in the end, or at least that's the hope, right?
Mohit Tater: Yeah. Yeah.
Jared Bauman: Well, it's been a wonderful conversation and I have to say my mind is I really enjoy these types of conversations because it really, you know, you mentioned in the podcast, you can just get so head down as maybe a single website owner or a single website operator that you, if these kinds of conversations are really fun.
Because you can see what's going on in the world, in the bigger picture and how investors with a lot of opportunity, a lot of money are viewing these types of websites. We're all building and what I've been doing it for a little while now, what a different conversation it is from when, like back in the early days in 2010 and 11, when you started buying your first site on Flippa and look at what's happening now, it's
Mohit Tater: fascinating who would have thought, who would have thought?
Yeah, exactly. It's great. It's coming
Jared Bauman: now. Yeah. Well, and so let's see, just catch everybody up on where people can keep up with you, where people can reach out to you. You did mention that, you know you are always looking for SEOs to hire and and whatnot. Obviously, if an investor happens to be listening to this, you know, what are the different ways people can reach out to you and follow along?
Mohit Tater: Yeah. Just email me at . Or you can, you know, just go to black hook investments.com, you know, fill out the form there for investors. We have investor questionnaire, they can fill out the form. If you are looking to sell your website, we have a form for that. You can just, you know, fill out the form and details of your website that you want to look in sell.
And if you are looking to apply to work with us, you can just email [email protected]. So yeah, that's and I'm on Twitter at, at, at the rate Molly dater. Yeah. Anyways. I'm not too hard to
Jared Bauman: point. I was gonna say larger. There's a lot different ways to get in touch with you. It sounds like.
Great. Yeah. Well, it's been really a great conversation. Thanks so much for joining us today. And until we talk next this time, he will.
Mohit Tater: Thank you, sir. I appreciate it. It's a speaker.
Jared Bauman: My pleasure. Yeah. Thank you.
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