“Obadobadope” Complete Blog Archive

The Personal Finance Blog Obadobadope went offline in 2010. It’s a treasure trove of unique thinking about investing, capitalism and consumption.

obadobadope title

I’ve archived it here so that people can read it again in an easy format, all on one page. I used php curl() to scrape these texts from the internet archive at archive.org.

Archive Notes

  • The following 330 kb of text is hosted by me, but all images are hosted by Archive.org. That means their servers do the real heavy lifting, so if you feel like donating to keep this archive alive, aim your generosity at archive.org.
  • I’ve removed links within the archived content since they don’t really work anyway. If this archive gets popular I’ll consider bringing links back and working to fix them all.
  • To make navigation easier, I’ve added a table of contents.
  • Unlike an active blog which starts with the most recent post and works backwards, I’ve structured this archive to begin at the very first post and proceed forward in time.
  • This archive contains 53,000 words, about the size of an average mystery novel.

Disclaimer

The following content is hosted here for informational purposes. I don’t own this content nor do I derive any monetary benefit from it. If the content’s author wishes this archive to be removed, he may get in touch with me via my contact page and I will remove it promptly.

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Buying Websites as an Investment Vehicle

I joined a Mr Money Mustache Meetup group. MMMMeetup I’ve cleverly called it. On the hike we completed last weekend, I spoke at length about building, buying and selling websites.

lynn-creek-canyon

The investors among the group perked up when I mentioned that websites trade at a P/E ratio of 2. That’s a deal an order of magnitude better than stocks or houses, which trade at ratios of between 20 and 30.

I realise there’s a good reason that websites trade at such a high discount rate; they’re inherently much riskier than owning land, labor or capital. These are some of the risk factors I’ve identified in a conversation with one of the MMMMeetup members. 

Things that go Wrong with a Website

  • A site with traffic based entirely on search might be using shady practices to get search ranking. A google algorithm change can wipe out search traffic. This can be a death sentence for a site, which is why vetting beforehand is so important.
  • Server can get hacked and will require repair. Repair can take hours to days to fix fully. This happens fairly frequently with WordPress installs.
  • A static site might start to slowly lose relevancy and will need fresh content to remain competitive in its space.
  • A competitor site might be launched, taking a portion of your traffic.
  • A site relying on time-sensitive information will become out of date (news sites, science&technology, health fads) and will need to be updated
  • New browsing technology may require a site rebuild. The best example of this is the smartphone trend toward sites that work on any size screen. A more recent example is the move to SHTML as a more important ranking factor.
Not every sudden change is negative.
  • A direct sale advertiser wants to place sponsored posts or custom ads, doubling your revenue for one or more months but requiring an account manager.
  • Your site explodes in popularity and requires a server move and/or content delivery system.
  • A new affiliate program needs to be integrated site-wide

Where to Buy Websites

I’ve identified these 3 marketplaces as the best at this time.
  • Flippa.com – This is the biggest website exchange as far as I know. Lots of cheap sites but there’s a lot of “pump and dump” type sites for sale – buyer beware and know how to do your due diligence on a site before buying.
  • EmpireFlippers.com I don’t know that much about it but a colleague of mine says its the only one she trusts. I think this was built around a book or something.
  • Quiet Light Brokerage – premium sites, usually costing $1 million and up. Well vetted by the brokerage beforehand, and you have to sign an NDA to get on their list. Not that many sites come through this pipeline.
Craigslist has sites for sale too, although it’s not a great fit because Craigs is local focused. I’ve only ever seen one decent site for sale on craigslist.

Considerations for Vetting a Website

  • Start with using SEMrush. Its stats are much more useful than compete.com or alexa, which are popular but I wouldn’t bother with at all. This gives an indication of a website’s potential for passive income through search engines. Although the subject matter of the site will have a huge effect on its income potential – finance related sites for example can push credit cards and startup business sites can push hosting services, which both pay a positively massive commission.
  • Check the website with mozrank, open site explorer and Google Pagerank. What you’re looking for are high quality links and a decent track record. 
  • Also look into their demographics. I have 2 popular sites, one which caters to males in their 20s and another primarily used by men and women over the age of 55. The site for 20 year olds hardly pays its server expenses, the 55+ site performs amazingly.

About the Schwinn Moab 3 Mountain Bike

According to BikePedia, the Moab 3 was manufactured between 1998 and 2002. I know this is a model 1998 because that was the only year they were colored green and black.It’s a relatively early mountain bike, built in 1998 by Schwinn and outfitted with pretty decent components. It was sold in bike shops just before the turn of the millennia for between 700$ and 800$. I purchased the one pictured recently off Craigslist.

schwinn-1998-moab3-email

A Feather Light Aluminum Frame

I actually ended up buying this bike because of its weight. The 7005 Aluminum frame is so light you can hoist it above your head with just one hand. I’ve never held such a light mountain bike – and if comments online are any indication (they often aren’t) the 7005 aluminum is extremely strong and durable despite its floaty lightness. In fact the frame is such a lightweight that I’ve had trouble climbing steep loose gravel slopes with it.

7005-aluminum frame

Handlebar Flexibility

This may indicate how inexperienced with bicycles I am, but I haven’t seen this style of handlebar before. My friend calls them “bullhorns” and the Schwinn catalog calls them “handlebar extensions.” I like them, I just hope they don’t take a core sample out of me if I crash and bail someday.

bike-cockpit

The extenders can be rotated to suit the rider, in this picture they’re pointing forwards but I’ve since turned them backwards so I can use them to “casually cruise” when I’m on pavement.

stem

Price of a Schwinn Moab 3

Bicycle Blue Book values a 16-year old Moab 3 at between $120 and $200, depending on condition. Prices will vary significantly based on your local used bike market, a bike like this might go for more at a shop. I got mine for 90$ US because the drivetrain and gearing needed some work. The problems weren’t as bad as I thought and I fixed them up without having to buy any new parts.

If you’re selling a Schwinn Moab 3 on craigslist make sure you take excellent  photos and provide a detailed description with links to Bicycle Blue Book and Bikepedia.

Additional Comments on this Bike From a Forum Thread

I asked about this bike on a bike forum and am archiving some of the more interesting discussion points here, as the original thread is not online anymore.

Looks okay, just replace those AWFUL tires.

 

Your tires they look to be in ok shape to me. They are old but if they aren’t dry rotted or anything I’d just keep using them for awhile. I’d go wider when you do get new tires but the rear frames on those older bikes are usually fairly tight. You can probably get a 2.1 or 2.2 on the front though. There are so many brand and styles it is really hard to recommend a specific tire.

 

That’s a 98 Schwinn Moab 3. And it has CURVED seatstays, indicating that it was not manufactured for bottom barrel department stores.

It’s one of the few late model “real Schwinns” manufactured with the name and distributed to specialty bike shops. New it would be more comparable to a mid-line Diamondback.

There IS a difference between the two tiers of Schwinn from the late 90s, and on into today.

One of the defining features of the high quality ones in the late 90s was that they had curved seatstays like back in the Chicago Schwinn era.

Now there WAS a Schwinn MTB that was basically a Moab made by Pacific Cycle that DIDN’T have the curved stays, and THAT ONE was shit. 

Nowadays it’s not as easy to tell. at least not just by the frame.

 

It’s a 90s platform and you are going to get 90s performance out of it . That means you are going to get department store quality. But some of these department stores bikes already have new tires and brake discs. You ever heard of a brake disc? A must have for MTBs since they can handle any surface without a problem.

 

Its a good frame with Shimano STX components on it. That’s barely a notch under the kind of performance you get from modern Deore. An upgraded Ritchey seatpost. An upgraded Kore stem. And it’s got a 90s RockShox which I ain’t mad at, at all. The rims are probably double-walled given the rest of the components.

Test Ride of a Stromer E-Bike

Yesterday I tried an E-bike for the first time. It was an absolute pleasure and I’ve been thinking about my ride ever since.

Stromer-ebike-vancouver2

How an E-bike Works

An E-bike works by sensing the amount of power you put on the pedals and supplying an extra boost to that power via an electric motor on the rear axle. The Stromer E-bike I tried will magnify your own pedal power up to 300%. It’s a complex computerized system that results in a seamlessly intuitive ride for the cyclist.

Riding an E-bike is exactly like riding an ordinary bike except that you feel like a superhero when just a bit of pressure is magnified several times to rocket you up the same hills that you would struggle up on an ordinary bike.

The Stromer E-bike

The E-bike will charge its high-capacity Lithium Ion battery in about 3 hours. On a full charge it will propel you forward 100 kilometers, or 60 miles. That’s well within most commutes, which is where I see bikes like this winning their largest user base.

At 52 pounds, it’s heavy but just light enough to be carried up a small flight of stairs. For a standard-bike comparison, my brother’s steel frame mountain bike weighs about the same.

raleigh-m40

The guys demoing the Stromer told me that its design looks “the most like an ordinary bike” of all the other E-bike designs out there. I have to agree that that it looks very much like an ordinary bike, other than the significantly thicker down tube housing the battery and the hefty rear axle where the engine lives.stromer_battery-277x300

 

The Stromer’s motor can be set to one of several drive modes. Eco is the mode that provides the minimum assistance, adding just 50% to your pedal power. Early on in my journey I set it to offer the maximum assistance, 300%. I would have gone higher if I could have – the extra power is addicting.  I know that if I used Stromer as my main bike, I would quickly lose strength in my legs because the 300% assistance is offers makes biking so wonderfully effortless, especially up hills.

My E-Bike Journey

After surrendering my government-issued ID as collateral and signing away my rights to sue Stromer if I had an accident, I started on up the hill with my head protected by the biggest helmet they had. The test track began at the Stromer tent at the Harmony Arts Festival in West Vancouver and went “up the hill.” My plan was to take the bike 1 or 2 blocks up but the ride was such an otherworldly experience that I went all the way up the hill and was disappointed when it came to an end.

e-bike-journey

I most noticed the motor’s power when accelerating from a stop sign. One easy pedal rocketed me forward through the intersection with such velocity that my body shifted backwards on my seat. I easily maintained a speed of 28 kph, completing a journey that google says should take a bike 11 minutes in 4 minutes or less. The kids I passed near the top could tell something was off, staring at me as I raced past them going up rather than down.

Stromer E-bike Conclusions

Riding the Stromer was an unforgettable experience even though that experience only lasted 15 minutes.

So will I be buying an E-bike? Short answer: no. This bike absolutely shines for commuters and I work from home therefor don’t commute. But I live up a mountain, and if I did work downtown, the Stromer E-bike would be an absolute no-brainer.

But there’s also the ever-present threat of bike theft which has yet to be taken seriously in Vancouver, one of the worst cities for bike thefts in the world. The bikes I ride now are 5th and 6th bikes I’ve owned in this city; all my previous bicycles had their locks cut and disappeared into the shady underground where hundreds of Vancouver bikes go every year. At 4000$, a stolen Stromer is a serious blow to most people’s finances, and I don’t think you can insure yourself against bike theft.

With that said, merely the option of an e-bike has changed my outlook on working downtown. Next time I see a job come up that I think I’d enjoy, I would hesitate less to extend my candidacy for it simply based on the option to commute by Stromer alone.

Links:

Stromer E-bike Website

Personal Finance Podcasts

Most personal finance podcasts stay within the rosy realms of established norms and mainstream opinions. The ones that veer off into less explored waters are more interesting, and what I’m listing here.

These are the 4 podcasts that really stand out for me. If there’s a podcast you think this list is missing, mention it in the comments.