Flipping Glitter! The Insane Story of shipyourenemiesglitter.com
Update 01/21/2015 21:00EST (02:00GMT): In what was an exciting end to the shipyourenemiesglitter.com Flippa auction, Mat Carpenter added a ‘buy it now’ price of $110,000. This was then reduced to $100,000 and then $90,000 with five-minutes to go. However, the final price looks to be $85,000 (USD). The Flippa auction even experienced a glitch towards the end – probably due to all the attention it received – and bids were briefly halted as a result.
The idea was simple: create a website which allows people to send their enemies an envelope full of glitter. The intended end result being that the recipient gets glitter absolutely everywhere and the sender can bask in the glory of their mischievous deed.
Well at least that’s what the website’s 22-year-old creator Mat Carpenter thought when he launched it just over a week ago. He calls it, “glitter as a service”. We call it, pure genius. But as you’ll find out in today’s post – which also includes an interview with Mat himself – he had created a monster. So much so, in fact, that he had to pull the order form from the website!
But what do you do with a viral website that has received an insane amount of interest and orders in a very short space of time? You flip it, of course! And that’s exactly what Mat is doing right now on Flippa. Leveraging the crazy media attention and publicity he and his website have received to cash-in with a quick sale.
At the time of writing, Mat’s Flippa auction still has 15 hours left and the current price is a cool $70,800! Not bad for a week’s work eh, Mat?
But while the shipyourenemiesglitter.com sale probably won’t make it into the Top 20 Flippa Sales Ever list, it does highlight the immense potential of a website to go viral and bring its creator a very nice, unsuspecting windfall.
In fact, the viral nature of the whole affair has even been embraced by Flippa themselves, who have changed the regular ‘place bid’ button with one that is all glittery.
Mat says that the website was launched with a single tweet from his personal Twitter account and a submission to Product Hunt – an online platform which allows interesting products and startups to be pitched to the Product Hunt community and be upvoted if they’re deemed worthy.
It works much in the same as Reddit or Hacker News and the most popular products/sites, like shipyourenemiesglitter.com, make their way to the top of the list. It just goes to show the colossal influence some online communities have.
So what makes a website that was only launched on January 12 this year so attractive to potential buyers?
Let’s take a look at the main selling points in the shipyourenemiesglitter.com Flippa listing:
- $20,000AUD+ sales in just a few hours
- 2.5 million visits in just 4 days
- Over 415,000 social media mentions
- A segment on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon
Now you may be wondering what the new owner is going to do with the site? Well, according to Mat, there’s lots of potential.
First, they could put the order form back up and as Mat says, “reopen the floodgates” again. There’s also the many press enquiries that the new owner will need to handle following the sale. Finally, there’s the potential to send “other annoying products”.
Whatever the new owner decides to do remains to be seen. One thing that is for certain, though, is that Mat Carpenter stands to make a very tidy sum from the Flippa sale.
It’s a perfect example of how given the right conditions, anyone can realise a substantial amount of money from a strategic website flip.
This post will be updated with the final sale price once the Flippa auction has finished. But in the meantime, you can hear what Mat had to say when we caught up with him earlier this week:
SellMySite: Hey Mathew! Thanks for taking a few minutes to answer my questions. You can’t have much spare time at the moment what with literally thousands of glitter orders to fulfil and a live Flippa auction to monitor?
Mat C: That sounds about right.
SellMySite: When you created the site did you expect it to be this popular or has the past week taken you totally by surprise?
Mat C: I launched the website the 2nd day into my holidays. I was expecting a tiny bit of traffic but I wasn’t anticipating anyone actually spending money on the service. I mean, it’s such a ridiculous idea that you can’t prepare for what has happened.
SellMySite: As a freelance writer, I read and write a lot of website copy, but yours is in a category of its own. All your own handiwork?
Mat C: Yep!
SellMySite: Roughly how much did the glitter site cost you to setup? I assume you created it yourself, so just a few dollars on a domain name and then some web hosting?
Mat C: The biggest expense was the illustration which cost $20.00. I already had web hosting so it was just that & the domain name.
SellMySite: The Flippa auction right now is at $70,800 with several bids pending. You set a reserve price (which has been met) so you obviously had a sale figure in mind when you created the listing. Has it exceeded your expectations so far and/or do you expect it to experience a late surge of interest?
Mat C: As it was a side project, I would have been happy just to make a few sales that would have covered the domain & illustration costs. For it to currently be at over $70,000 is insane.
SellMySite: Is it a tactical website flip, which is taking advantage of the crazy media attention you’ve received, or were you simply sick of the sight of glitter and wanted out?
Mat C: Bit of both.
SellMySite: So what’s next for Mathew Carpenter? Should we expect to see a new site which allows people to send their friends gold dust?
Mat C: I’m out of the “ship your” business. I’m working on a non-serious beer review website with a mate. The idea is to convince companies to send us free booze so there’s that. Apart from that we’ll just have to see what pops into my head.
What do you think? Was Mat’s decision to sell right when his website was attracting the most attention a shrewd move or could he have made more money building the business?
We’d love to know your thoughts below…