You will find a large number of social network services websites for sale. These websites promise to deliver packages of “Facebook Likes” to Facebook pages, “Tweets” to Twitter accounts, visitors to web pages and so on.
The business model is:
- Customers are attracted to the website via SEO or pay per click campaigns
- A customer buys a package of likes, tweets, visitors
- The order is forwarded to an off-shore freelancer who completes the work
- An email is sent to the customer saying the work is completed
- There is typically a 50 to 70% gross margin on every sale
Most of these websites are NOT legitimate.
How do you tell whether they are on the up and up?
- Often the websites have obviously bad grammar and weak designs
- Traffic statistics don’t support the revenue claims. Too many sales from too few visitors. There are cases where well defined advertising campaigns can deliver highly targeted leads and yield sales from a small number of visitors, but sellers who are skilled enough to do that will most likely be identifiable in the way they communicate with you, the quality of the sales listing and the quality of the website itself.
- It is always a good idea to do a screen sharing session with sellers to see their revenue accounts real-time. In the case of these service sites where all the sales come in through Paypal, this is even more imperative. Sellers who won’t show you their Paypal account are probably scammers.
The business model, however, is sound and profitable. There are occasionally legitimate services businesses for sale in the social networking space. And of course there are many other kinds of online services websites for sale such as graphics designs, business forms design, website creation, etc.
If you keep your eye on new social platforms that are taking off, you are more likely to find something that will be successful. What is the next Pinterest or Tumblr? Could you replicate a “Facebook Like” service for the next rising social network star? The good news is that these service businesses are inexpensive and quick to setup.
The Ethical Question
Do you really want to be in a business that provides fake likes or re-tweets? One school of thought is that if you are being honest in the description of what you are selling, and it isn’t implicitly dishonest or immoral, then it is fair game.
Ultimately though, the most satisfying and sustainable businesses are those that offer real value to customers and don’t simply manipulate SEO loopholes.
Content creation, design, and transaction processing are all high value, high profit website services businesses that will have more staying power than social network signal providers.
To find out what services people need and are paying for right now, visit freelancer sites like odesk.com, elance.com and freelancer.com and browse jobs/projects by category. Set up searches for websites for sale in the categories where there is high freelancer demand or high prices per project.