Can you still find website bargins?
You can and in this interview with Nelson Ferreira from Trustiu, a unique marketplace to buy and sell digital websites and YouTube channels, he’s going to share how to find website bargains that most people miss.
You’ll hear what makes Trustiu a unique marketplace for buying and selling digital assets, how Nelson learned SEO and used it to grow a site to €150k in 3 months, the 3 reasons why people buy European-based content websites (and why we did). And how to buy and sell YouTube channels (and why it’s easier in some cases). Click below to learn how you can find and buy website bargains most people miss.
Nelson Ferreira from Trustiu shares how you can buy valuable digital assets in a market that everyone else is missing…
Matt Raad: Hello, and welcome to the Digital Investor Podcast. I’m your host, Matt Raad.
Today, we’ve got a special guest all the way from Barcelona, Nelson Ferreira from trustiu.com. Trustiu is an interesting brand-new brokerage site where you can buy and sell digital assets. So, I invited Nelson to come along and talk about what these guys specialise in.
I think this will be interesting for our community, particularly those of you who are starting the journey of learning how to buy websites. Nelson’s brokerage site has some lower-priced websites in the $5,000 – $100,000 range. And, of course, they sell the six and seven-figure websites as well.
But just wait until you read what he used to do before he gave it all up and started this new brokerage firm.
So, Nelson, thanks for coming along today. It’s great to have you on.
Nelson Ferreira: Thank you so much for having me, Matt.
Why Trustiu is a unique marketplace for buying and selling websites
Matt: So, you’re a newcomer to the game. When did you start Trustiu?
Nelson: We launched Trustiu in January 2019, over four years ago.
Matt: This is a mature marketplace now, and brokers have been around for a decade. But I can see you do a few things uniquely from others.
What is it that you’re doing differently? What niche have you carved out in this space?
Nelson: So, I’ll start by sharing my story. Before launching Trustiu, I worked in a content production company in Spain called Link to Media. I was one of the first hires of this company, and I became their director of operations.
One of my roles was to be involved in some of their acquisitions. And it was through that role I realised there was a need for this type of platform. We were doing it all outbound, where we would reach out directly to the project we wanted to acquire.
And so, I detected an opportunity here in Europe (mainly in Spain and Portugal) to have a platform where buyers and sellers can meet, and we can facilitate and provide safety in these deals.
When I left Link to Media, we had 60 million users per month. And they are still doing really well today. They do an incredible job and have multiple websites and YouTube channels. I managed all the international projects, including Italian, French, English, and Portuguese.
But from my perspective, I saw that there wasn’t a good enough platform, especially for YouTube, to do those deals. And I also thought we could do much better for websites here in Europe. That’s why I decided to go on this adventure and launch Trustiu.
Nelson gained his online experience managing a large website portfolio in Europe
Matt: I like your story, Nelson. As I said, what you were doing is seriously impressive. I know a lot of people in this space naturally think of dotcoms being primarily in America. Even we teach that.
But here you are in Europe. Your whole career was managing a website portfolio that got up to 60 million users a month. That’s a serious-sized marketplace in Europe you’ve got.
So, how many years did you spend there?
Nelson: I was doing that for six years.
Matt: Were they primarily content sites? And they’re in different European languages?
Nelson: Yes, all different languages. When I left, there were six languages – Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, English, and a mini project in Japanese. And it was all informational content.
The first project was to do something like eHow and wikiHow in the Spanish market. It still exists, and the name is unCOMO.com.
I went to the company to start the Portuguese version, and we applied that to multiple languages to start building verticals, all with informational content.
Matt: That’s good. Content sites are basically what we teach here at eBusiness Institute.
The 3 main reasons Nelson Ferreira launched Trustiu
Matt: So, I’m presuming this is one of Europe’s biggest online media companies. And you’re basically running their website portfolio. What made you want to change?
Nelson: Yes, it is an important company here. There are bigger companies than this, but it is still a major player here in Spain.
But I decided I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own business. I really thought that we could make a change here. We could provide a better platform or, in some cases, a platform because it didn’t exist in some markets. And I became passionate about that.
The other reason has to do with my personality. I enjoy starting things from zero, which is rare. Many people like to scale, whereas I’m a person who likes starting projects. I can’t remember how many projects I launched from zero for that company.
And the third reason I am passionate about the Trustiu idea is that I’m also very analytical. Our team is so fortunate to see so many projects we can learn from each day.
So, we learn a lot from our clients, and every day we come to the office, we learn even more and gather more knowledge. That’s what helped me decide to launch this project.
Matt: Yes, and you’ve grown quite rapidly, so congratulations.
He raised funds from top investors in Spain to start Trustiu
Matt: I have been looking over your website and can see how many staff members you have now. You also mentioned earlier you’d received venture capital. So, did you raise funds for this?
Nelson: Yes, we raised funds about a year and a half ago. We did a pre-seed round via wikiHow and raised half a million dollars.
And I’m very proud of that because we are not that well-known in the rest of the world. But the VCs who entered our cap table are some of the top guys here in Spain. So, it’s pretty good.
But that was a scary decision to make, and I was very uncomfortable at the time. But sometimes you have to make that decision.
How Nelson used his SEO skills to grow a site to €150k in 3 months
Matt: How did it go when you transitioned to launching Trustiu? Did it start to work quickly for you? Can you remember what those first six months were like back in 2019?
Nelson: It was challenging but enjoyable at the same time.
I launched the website in November 2018. In the first week, I sold a small channel, which was the first clue we were doing good. It was a very small site for €200.
Because of my SEO background, I created organic traffic quickly and ranked for the main keywords we wanted to rank for. The organic traffic was a bit over the SEM and PPC.
And just three months later, I was able to sell that site for €150k, which is an excellent sign that we’re doing good.
But of course, every time you launch a project, it’s pretty hard initially.
He uses his SEO skills to network with key players around the world
Matt: See where your SEO skills can take you, Nelson? And that’s how you reached out to us; you picked up that we’d linked to you somewhere in a little article we did. You approached us and said, “Hey, thanks for the link,” and we’ve been chatting ever since.
This skill helps you create connections and network with people around the world. Next thing you know, here you are. And that’s what we teach our students because it’s all about SEO skills.
Nelson: That’s right, and it’s very cool
Matt: I was surprised. Here we are in Australia, and someone from Spain is reaching out and saying, “Hey, thanks for the link.”
Why you should consider buying European content websites for your portfolio
Matt: Let’s look at the interesting niche that you’ve carved out. I want to explain this to our readers. If you’re new to our community, one of the things we’ve taught over the years is to look at buying European-based content websites because it’s not as competitive.
Over the years, Liz and I have owned sites in Spanish and some other languages. Overall, we’ve found that Spanish is relatively easy for us to work with because it’s still easy to do keyword research.
And, here we have Nelson, who sells Spanish websites (his specialty) in the sweet spot of the $5,000 – $100,000 range.
1./ Spanish websites are easier to rank
Matt: Nelson, you’re a bit of an SEO legend, especially in Europe. So, what’s your take on all this? Have you found that Spanish sites are typically easier in this day and age to rank versus the typical American dotcom sites?
Nelson: Thank you for your kind words, Matt.
I think so. The market has evolved a lot over the last ten years, but I still think the same rule applies.
So, if it’s hard to rank something in the US market (in the English market), then European languages (such as Latin, so Brazil, Portuguese, so Portugal etc.) are easier to rank and always will be. That’s because the US and English markets are always ahead of others.
2./ European websites typically sell at lower sale multiples
Nelson: Another reason working with Spanish websites (and other European languages) is great is that there are not as many competitors. The price range is one thing, but the other is the sales multiple.
This is not as mature a market as the English market. English websites sell for 30 – 40+ multiples (the average monthly profits). Whereas in the Spanish and Portuguese markets, you can still find something in the 18 – 20x range, sometimes up to 30x. But this will change.
Matt: Absolutely. And you’re right, Nelson, this will change. How long do you think this is going to last? There are bargains to be had here.
3./ You can replicate your existing niches in Europe
Matt: For our readers who are a little bit more experienced and had some success in the American market (no matter the size, whether it’s 6-7 figures or smaller etc.), you might want to consider replicating that.
Go and hunt around on Trustiu. Look for similar websites by established size. They’re already up and running. You know how they work in the English market. So, you can get them at a bargain multiple, then rinse, repeat, and build them up again.
There are plenty of opportunities for anyone reading this who is interested in creating and buying digital assets, particularly content sites. And if that’s you, go and check out Trustiu.
That’s one strategy and idea:
- You can get these sites at cheaper multiples,
- It’s not quite as competitive,
- And you can replicate what you’ve done across other markets.
Or if you’re a beginner, you can just buy a small site.
Are YouTube channels the next big digital asset to sell for profit?
Matt: The other thing that is interesting about Trustiu is that you have a lot of YouTube channel listings. I haven’t seen many brokers do that, so this is interesting. I’m presuming they’re Europeans, so that’s a double whammy.
Again, you’ve got excellent values on those, and it looks like you’ve carved a nice niche for yourself there with YouTube channels.
Nelson: We did! YouTube represents a lot of our deal flow. We have channels from all over the world, and it’s easy to migrate those assets.
We know very well what we are doing in that market and have been doing it for four years. And from my experience, I also managed multiple teams who run YouTube channels. So, we are on top of the game regarding the metrics and the main KPIs on those assets.
In terms of sales, we have sold a channel for over €1 million, but we also have channels for €500. We are pretty agnostic in prices across niches. But it is an exciting market, and I think Trustiu is very well-known for listing YouTube channels, although we also sell all other types of content and e-commerce websites.
Why large corporations are spending big money investing in YouTube channels
Matt: You told me earlier there’s some big interest now in YouTube channels. What are some things you’ve seen on a bigger scale for YouTube channels?
I want to understand where this might head over the next five years. What’s the interest like in the YouTube channel asset space?
Nelson: Around 2-4 years ago, there was a big trend of FBA aggregators. And there were companies like Trustiu doing amazing acquisition work for FBA aggregators.
And so, I would say we are in the first year of YouTube aggregators. There are a lot of things happening here. There are a lot of YouTube aggregators starting and with a lot of cash to spend. And we know pretty much all of them. So, these are exciting years for the YouTube market.
Another interesting fact is in the last year or two, YouTube paid more than US$30 billion for creators, which shows the scale of this economy.
Matt: That’s interesting. So, when you start seeing these aggregators come in, they’re funds with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend on websites.
There was a big trend of that for e-commerce sites and Amazon FBA. Then it moved into content sites. And now we’re hearing it from Nelson; we’re at the very beginning with YouTube sites.
Now, I think that’s because these big funds know content is king. Content and eyeballs are where the money is at, and they’re just buying up whatever they can. YouTube is just another content machine, and it’s very powerful.
How Trustiu validate their YouTube listings
Matt: The good thing is you don’t just need hundreds of millions of dollars to do this. You can buy them for $500.
And so, the other thing to consider if you’re running content sites is to also hunt around on Trustiu to look at a YouTube channel that could compliment your content site or the niches you’re in.
Trustiu looks to have YouTube channels in every single niche, it seems?
Nelson: Yes, we have a lot! We also thoroughly vet all the properties on YouTube to see if there are any red flags for us.
Red flags can mean a lot of things. It might be related to the type of content and users. Are the subscribers real? Etc. And we look at all those organic metrics. And if everything is looking okay to us, then we’ll list it.
In the end, it’s a matter of the revenue and the profit the channel is earning. We have all different sizes and clients from all over the world, such as Australia, US, and Africa.
Matt: Yes, because it’s sold on a multiplier of profit.
If you need it for a traffic-driving strategy, you can pick yourself up a bargain with a YouTube channel.
Nelson: You can, and people are doing that.
We also sell some packs that include a website and a YouTube channel. Sometimes the website generates more traffic and revenue, and sometimes the YouTube channel generates more earnings. There are multiple strategies for people who are buying up those channels.
Matt: So, it doesn’t matter what level you’re at. But if you’re more intermediate and advanced in buying websites, you should seriously consider looking around at the YouTube options as well because you’ve got to follow the big money. That’s what we’ve always been taught.
If you want to get rich, follow the big money. And what are they doing? You’re hearing it here today for the first time. There seems to be a trend here with these aggregators buying up YouTube channels for very obvious reasons.
How to do Due Diligence when buying a YouTube channel
Matt: Most of our readers would be new to buying a YouTube channel. Is it easy to do due diligence on a YouTube channel? I imagine it would be easy because everything’s tracked. But because you’re a data guy, is it easy to do due diligence when buying a channel?
Nelson: It is actually easier than doing due diligence on a content site. So, there are a couple of things you need to know, and you do need a little experience.
It’s easy to access the main KPIs to see if everything is legit, and to transfer these assets.
Our team know very well what we’re doing when it comes to vetting a channel to see if all the channel metrics are organic or if the owner is doing something wrong. We do a thorough vetting process. But of course, the buyer also needs to know what they’re purchasing and needs to do their own due diligence.
But overall, I would say it’s very easy, especially compared to a content website or e-commerce site.
Matt: I’ve noticed you’ve got quite a big team now, and I’m presuming that’s part of their role. They’re vetting those YouTube channels and know what they’re doing.
I want everyone to understand; nothing’s ever guaranteed. You must do your own due diligence. But, Nelson, your team are vetting these channels before you even list them?
Nelson: Yes, so it’s our team who lists the properties on our marketplace. But before they do that, they need to have access to the channel to see that everything is correct. And if it’s not, then we don’t list it.
We actually only list around 20% of the listings we receive. That’s just because of a resource thing. You might have noticed on our site, we charge a success fee. And so, we will only list a channel that we believe we can sell.
Time to consider adding European sites to your website portfolio?
Matt: That’s awesome and so fascinating. We’ll have to do an update interview at some point down the track.
The purpose of this interview today was to show our community the opportunities that are out there, especially with these Spanish sites. That’s been a big success for Liz and me over the years, and it’s relatively easy to buy these sites. And Nelson has a beautiful platform there with Trustiu for foreign language content sites.
Nelson: Thank you so much.
Matt: And also, the buying and selling of YouTube channels as digital assets, that’s a fascinating space. That’s definitely one to take a look at if you’re a bit more advanced.
So big thank you for coming along today, Nelson. It was awesome to introduce you to our community, and I’m sure we’ll have you on again soon.
Nelson: Thank you so much for having me here, Matt.
Want to learn more how to buy and sell digital assets?
Matt: If you haven’t done our free masterclass, make sure you do. Sign up at the ebusinessinstitute.com.au/masterclass to learn how to buy and sell digital assets and websites.
Then you can go out there on platforms like Trustiu and have a look. You’ll learn how to start safely by purchasing small, little sites.