When people think of safe places to grow their money, websites may not be the first things that come to mind, but Income Store wants to change that.
Lead by CEO Ken Courtright, Income Store is a 23-year old growth consulting firm that has turned its attention away from traditional growth consulting over the past six years to the purchase of websites.
“Today, we manage a portfolio of just under 500 revenue-generating websites for individuals, companies and private equity firms,” Courtright explained during a recent interview from the Income Store headquarters in Minooka, Illinois, southwest of Chicago.
Typically, Courtright said, people call them up and say they need a second or third re venue stream and Income Store will either build them or buy them a website that is large enough to attract enough traffic that it is able to sustain a steady revenue stream from advertising.
Or, sometimes companies call Income Store and say they’ve hit a bad patch and need to generate more leads through their website. In that case, Courtright said, they’ll build clients what he calls an “authority website,” which is modeled after the website WebMD.
These authority websites provide people or companies with a large traffic pattern, a lot of leads and provide multiple revenue streams for them. This helps balance their revenue against their expenses.
As an example, Courtright said, a private equity firm in Washington state has approached Income Store over a dozen times and said they’ve just sold an oil well or some other piece of property and have money to invest. Instead of purchasing real estate or traditional investment assets, the Washington firm purchases revenue generating websites.
How it works
Income Store takes the money a person or company wants to invest and purchases a website at two times earnings. So, on a $100,000 investment, for example, Income Store will buy a website that makes $50,000 per year and then split the money 50/50 with the investor so both the investor and Income Store get $25,000 per year from the website.
Typically, investors will see 15 – 25 percent return on their investment. Meanwhile, Income Store reinvests the majority of their share of the website to keep it growing so it is able to earn even more revenue.
The company’s portfolio of close to 500 websites are seen about 130 million times per year and is growing by about 30,000 views per day, Courtright said.
The business model seems to be working, as Income Store has been one of fastest growing companies for the past two years and is set to get on the coveted Inc. 5,000 list for a third year in a row.
Income store has working relationships with over 40 large brokerages around the world that sell websites. Most of the sites they buy are out of London. Just like physical property, Courtright explained, people build these sites and put them up for sale to be bought. And, also like
property, they can be resold or left in a will.
The websites come in many forms. They can range from information based sites to gaming and e-commerce sites. The revenue comes from the ads that are placed on the sites. At any given moment, there are 300,000 to 400,000 websites up and running that bring in substantial traffic and can generate substantial revenue from the ads on them, Courtright said.
An example of one site that Income Store sold to an investor is PlayTruckGames. com, a site for people who want to play online games that involve trucks and motorcycles. When Income Store bought the site, it was earning about $4,000 per month, so the investor received $2,000 per month and the company received $2,000 per month. Now, the site is up to $6,000 per month so the investor and Income
Store each receive $3,000.
This sites model is to keep adding more games to the site and the more games they add the more ads they can run, and the spotlight on service “We’re more an industry changer than we are a competitor of anyone.” more ads they can run, the more revenue the site brings in.
Courtright said there is a need for the service that Income Store offers because there are few other types of investment that can garner a steady 15 – 20 percent return.
“There are very few places where you can put your money that’s decent, let alone a double digit return that’s guaranteed,” he stated.
A lot of people who come to them are people who were looking for a franchise. People like franchises because they are turnkey operations, he noted, and those types of people who are looking for something turnkey love what Income Store does because it’s similar to a franchise,
but there is no actual work involved. It is completely passive income.
So, the next time people think about solid investments, Courtright wants them to think of websites.