Ernests Embutnieks says he sold his website WorldofTablet out of fear.

“Things were going great, and you think that you don’t deserve it and that something bad is going to happen,” Embutneiks said. “Then someone offers you $115,000 to take that fear away.”

In October 2019, the Latvia-based entrepreneur and his co-founder, Frenks Rozentals, bought the expired domain for $304.58 through GoDaddy Auction, according to his now-archived sale announcement. He was working as the head of digital marketing for a payday loan company, and he was looking for a way to make some extra money.

Just two years after buying the domain — with 112 published articles, around 2,000 daily unique visitors and monthly revenue nearing $5,500 — the co-founders sold WorldOfTablet for $115,000.

“At that moment, it sounded like a good deal,” Embutneiks said. “Looking back, it was stupid.”

How an expired domain became WorldofTablet

Embutneiks wrote most of the website’s content, only occasionally relying on freelancers via UpWork. The articles were geared toward Android tablet and iPad users and included how-to guides, buyer’s guides and reviews. Readers landed on the site through search. In fact, that was the site’s only significant traffic source.

WorldofTablet made money from Amazon’s affiliate program as well as display ads. In September 2021, just a month before selling WorldofTablet, Embutneiks shared they made $3,517.95 through affiliate marketing and $1,963.94 from display ads — for a total of nearly $5,500.

On his blog, Embutneiks shared a couple big takeaways from growing the site. One he always knew but WorldofTablet really hammered home: Quality content wins — no matter how much faster your competitors go or how many more backlinks they have. One relevant backlink is better than 100 backlinks on trash sites.

He also learned about the difficulty of finding quality writers. “We tried hiring the writers, but the quality wasn’t there no matter how much you paid them,” he told us. “It was easier to hire someone to create a draft for you and then you edit it accordingly.”

Selling WorldofTablet too soon

Two years in, Embutneiks reluctantly decided to sell WorldofTablet. “I couldn’t find a common ground with the co-founder,” he said. “He wasn’t interested in scaling the business as much as I was.”

They listed WorldofTablet on Motion Invest, a content site marketplace. Embutneiks explained the process on his blog: “The rules are pretty simple: You talk to their valuation team, they ask questions, verify everything you’re sending and saying, and they list the site in a Dutch auction.”

That means the site gets listed at a higher price, then, every two days, the price decreases by a set amount. When it sells, or hits its reserve price, the price stops decreasing.

That’s how the co-founders connected with an American buyer who owns multiple websites. Embutneiks said he couldn’t disclose the buyer’s identity.

“I was excited about receiving the ‘your business is sold’ email,” Embutneiks said. “After that, it went downhill.”

He shared more details in his blog post about why he didn’t have a good experience with the marketplace: “I’m not the one who likes leaving bad reviews — but, I don’t want to sugarcoat it either.”

Eventually, the buyer reached out directly to the co-founders, asking if they could complete the transaction off the platform. From there, it took just a few hours — but, of course, they still owed Motion Invest fees.

Embutneiks said, between the transaction rate, taxes and other fees from the $115,000 deal, he wasn’t even left with half the sale price.

“If I would have waited it out, I could have gotten a lot higher number,” he told us.

After the sale, Embutneiks took a month off, then bought another domain: WolfofTablet. As with his previous WorldofTablet site, he helps iPad and Android tablet users solve problems. He had a one-year non-compete agreement on a specific keyword after the sale of WorldofTablet, which has expired.

WolfofTablet started with a simple “How to screenshot on iPad” article” and has grown. He now has a small team helping him research, write, translate articles to German and create videos.

And, yes, he is now a solo founder — and, no, he has no intention of selling the site.