How to Turn a Comparison Site into a Takeover Target


Many entrepreneurs tend to take the long view when they start a business. They’re not just looking to make it a success, but they’re also focused on its eventual sale or takeover. For manufacturing businesses who actually produce a sellable product, this is quite straightforward but, for service industries, it can be more complex.

Prime examples are the comparison and review sites that have sprung up along with the evolution of the internet. One might wonder how a business that effectively acts as a go-between for consumer and supplier can develop into a sellable concern. But it certainly can, as the UK-based site Go Compare discovered when it was courted by a number of buyers in 2019.

There are three key factors that need to be considered when building up this kind of business for sale.

Give it strong branding

At the end of the day, what you will be selling is the brand that you’ve created. This will be the outward image of the business, which will continue to attract new customers. One only has to look at the big, successful comparison sites like Shopzilla and Pricegrabber to see that this is an element that they all have in common. It’s also a very competitive field which means having a brand that stands out from the rest is absolutely essential. So while the initial investment in the site itself might be high, it’s vital to put a significant part of your budget aside for brand-building and marketing generally.

Build a robust business model

The next aspect to consider is how the business model will work. Obviously, the bulk of the site’s revenue will be in the form of commission for introducing new customers. You’ll have the option of raising money on a cost per click basis, in which you’ll receive money for each person who clicks through from your site. Or, more lucratively, you could embrace the cost per acquisition route in which you receive a higher payment when the person actually buys or signs up to the promoted service. This is a method used by many sites, including some of those that provide introductions to new casinos. In this case, the sites also use the bonuses offered by the casinos as an incentive to sign up and provide reviews to help site visitors choose which one to go for. These kinds of comparison sites also enjoy another revenue stream by selling advertising or promotional space for specific casinos, as well as those they review.

Make sure that it gives users what they need

Above all, a successful comparison site will provide visitors with the information that they need. The generalist market is fairly overcrowded these days, for example for people looking for the best value insurance or the cheapest loans. But there are plenty of niche markets that, while they might not get the high numbers in, will certainly find an interested audience.

So get all these three elements lined up and you’ll be well on your way to building up the sort of business that will be high on many buyers’ shopping lists.

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