3 Ugly But Incredibly Successful Sites

When we create a website, most of us want to make it look good. We may buy the best templates or hire a web designer to make the site visually appealing to future readers. In fact, we may even not hold back our spending in the design department.

But can an ugly website actually be successful? Granted the aesthetic appeal of a website is subjective and many people will have differing opinions on whether a website design is beautiful or ugly. There are some designs that are minimalistic instead of ugly and Google is one that comes to mind. But there are some factors that give rise to what people may agree as ugly, such as bad color combinations, irregular fonts and misaligned columns, to name a few. Here, we look at a couple of wildly successful websites that are almost universally looked upon as loathsome:


craigslist, craigslist.org, craigslist.com, craigslist screenshot

Started way back in the 90s, you couldn’t tell the difference today. The design of Craigslist look like it hasn’t been changed for the last 15 years or so. With small fonts and its text only design with a white and grey background, it looks like what a 10-year old child with minimal HTML skills could design. But it is the largest classified site in the world. Its user base in July 2011 is estimated at 66 million and page views is estimated at 24 billion.

Alexa Global Rank for Craigslist.org: 43

Alexa US Rank for Craigslist.org: 8


plenty of fish, pof, pof.com, free dating site, plentyoffish.com, dating site

PlentyofFish.com is an online dating site started in 2004. With its odd color combination and lack of any real visual appeal, it is considered ugly by today’s standards. In fact, its design has not changed since its inception 8 years ago. But today, it garners an estimated 3 billion page views per month, which is large by any global standard.

Alexa Global Rank for PlentyofFish.com: 281

Alexa US Rank for PlentyofFish.com: 75


drudgereport, drudge report,drudgereport.com

Any article on websites with uncomely designs wouldn’t be complete without the quintessential Drudge Report. It is the epitome of a highly successful site with the absolute raw basics of HTML. It currently gets an estimated 250 million hits per month and is considered one of the highest trafficked news site online, all this run by single person with only links on its homepage leading to other news sites and less than 120 webpages indexed by Google at any one time (site: search in Google).

Alexa Global Rank for DrudgeReport.com: 457

Alexa US Rank for DrudgeReport.com: 95

Why Are These Sites So Successful?

So, why are these sites so successful? Many people will jump to the conclusion that design doesn’t matter and does not inhibit a website’s success. However, there are several similarities in these sites. Firstly, they are all older sites that entered the virtual realm at the start of the internet. Thus, they have gotten a large user base before the explosion of sites on the internet and have gotten a head start.

Another argument is that content and functionality trumps design. What this means is that the content or usefulness of the site draws people more than a visually appealing but less functional one would. What do you guys think? Would love to read your comments below.

Top 10 Places to Sell Your Websites Online


After putting hours of research and effort into your website, you may find that you want to cash in on your prized asset. There are many places on the internet in which you can put your website up for sale. Below is a selection:

1. Flippa Currently the largest and most popular website marketplace, Flippa has come a long way since moving from its original roots in Sitepoint. It is the highest trafficked marketplace for websites and your website has the highest chance of finding a buyer if put up for sale here. It has a listing fee of $29 and a successful sale fee of 5%.

2.  Warrior ForumThe Warrior Forum is the highest traffic internet marketing forum and definitely can give your listing many pairs of eyes. The crowd is savvy but the chances of finding a buyer is definitely good.

3. DigitalPoint ForumThe Digital Point Forum is one of the most active internet marketing community on the web. It also has a section dedicated to the purchase and sale of websites and has systems in place for the confirmation of various statistics as well.

4. WebsiteBroker – This is a website marketplace that allows the listing of websites for sale. It seems to be very active and looks to be the closest alternative to Flippa and offers a one-time listing fee of $9.95 for 90 days.

5. EBay – Ebay is a very well-known auction site. It also has a category dedicated to “Internet Businesses and Websites”. It is a good alternative to list your site.

6. BuySellWebsite – BuySellWebsite is an established marketplace (since 2002) and has quite an active pool of buyers and sellers. They have listing and appraisal services as well.

7. Flipping Enterprises – Flipping Enterprises is a website brokerage where they try to find a buyer for your site. They have a pool of ready and regular buyers.

8.  WeSellYourSite This is a website marketplace cum website brokerage and seems to cater to the high-end if your sites are worth in the 5-figures, this is definitely a place you want to go to list your site.

9. DealASite.comA totally free site that allows both buyers and seller to list their sites. Also good for listing domain names.

10. WebMasters MarketPlace – This a fantastic looking marketplace for websites and is completely free to list. There are options for a featured homepage listing with a small price. The price is in credits and each credit equals US$1. Definitely worth a look for webmasters.

11. Experienced-People.net – This is forum that has a free marketplace for buying and selling websites. It is relatively new and has 3 dedicated sub-sections for the listing of sites. The sections seem to be less than 2 months old (at the time of this posting) and relatively new. Since it has very low to no fees, it is worth at least try.


Other Sites You May Want to Consider

There are many other sites that you want to consider. For forums, those in the Webmaster, Internet Marketing and Domain Name niches are all great places where you can sell your sites. Most of them do have sub-forums that allow the listing of sites for sale.

Classified ads sites such as Craigslist, Gumtree, Locanto etc. are good places to list your sites as well. Another option is sites that specialize in having businesses for sale. These sites normally allow the listing of websites as internet businesses and may get you a couple of potential buyers.

Other options include domain name sites. Some of these, such as SEDO and Afternic, provide a good alternative as well even though they specialize more in the buying and selling of domain names.