It is always interesting to me to see how folks are building their development portfolios on Epik. There are different strategies that are working for different people in terms of how they are building value. This post spotlights a few individuals and their strategies.
The Empire Builder – Kenny Hartog
Kenny is the largest developer on Epik. As such, he needs no introduction. Kenny’s strategy has to been to build out mainly long-tail names that are hand-registered. In addition, Kenny owns some top-ranked sites like IceCreamMaker.com. Since starting with Epik in January, Kenny has assembled a portfolio of more than 1,000 sites, comprised mostly of hand-registered names, including many hyphenated exact match names. Because of the size of his monthly payout, Kenny is also fast-approaching our highest revenue share rate (80%) which makes it attractive for him to acquire portfolios of other people that are starting at 50% revenue share. One of Kenny’s preferred methods for funding development is buying EpikBucks from other people at 85-90 cents on the dollar and then using these EpikBucks to acquire domains (e.g. at SwapFest) or fund new developments.
The Merchant – Oliver Hoger
Those who know Oliver Hoger, know that he is a merchant. He loves the deal. Since partnering with Epik, he has been aggressively acquiring high quality .net names like Police.net and Toilet.net and entering into co-development agreements with Epik whereby we waive setup fees in exchange for 30% of the proceeds from eventual sale of the developed website. In a very short time, Oliver has partnered with Epik on more than 100 domains. He is one of the most active buyers that I know, notably of .net domains, which we have proven are just as easy to rank as the .com names. Most of Oliver’s sites have gone online during September. Earlier this month, he sold ComputerTips.com at the Epik-Moniker live auction for $17,500. I think odds are good that by November, Oliver will be giving Kenny a run for his money on daily revenue.
The Stager – Morgan Schwartz
Morgan is a teacher by day. At night and on the weekends, he backorders names and develops them on Epik. Over the summer, Morgan got trained in how to build sites on Epik. Morgan is also one of the first to sell his developed sites at the Moniker Live Auction. Here are a few of his exits so far:
- Bought BeachBags.net on 6/10 for $249 – sold on 9/17 for $2500 (900% return)
- Bought ExerciseMat.net on 6/24 for $249 – sold on 9/17 for $1200 (381% return)
- Bought CamcorderMicrophones.com on 4/25 for $249 – sold on 9/17 for $2000 (700% return)
- Bought ClothingRack.net on 4/29 for $249 – sold on 9/17 for $1000 (300% return)
In the meantime, these sites were already making money from operating revenue. Morgan is a great example of a Developer who adds value and exits while leaving plenty of upside on the table for the next guy. In the real estate terms, he would be what the industry calls a “Stager”, ie. improves the property but then promptly sells it.
The Gardener – Todd Johnson
Todd is one of the most humble guys I know in the domain world. However, don’t let the humility fool you. Todd is all business. He is the original member of what I have come to call the Albuquerque Epik Mafia. Todd has assembled a portfolio of high performing sites that make money. Examples:
- CamoBedding.com – #1 on Google – Makes $210/month
- HomeComputerDesk.com – #1 on Google – Makes $52/month
- ManPurse.net – #1 on Google – Makes $180/month
- BicycleKickstand.com – #1 on Google – Makes $34/month
Todd applies best practices for site development and adds value to them through content sourcing and link-development on top of what Epik provides. Unlike Morgan Schwartz, Todd rarely sells. He would sooner give a name for free than sell. Todd’s methodical approach is generating solid recurring income that has brought him into the top-10 for monthly income but with much less total capital employed relative to the approaches of Kenny or Oliver.
The Prospector – Aaron Wilkenson
Aaron is on track to finish 2010 with more than 100 live portals on Epik. He assembled this portfolio with relatively little cash employed. His method has been to acquire or hand-register the types of domains that Epik likes to develop. Epik in turn acquired these names from Aaron for EpikBucks which he then used at SwapFest, or used to development of his own high potential domains. If you look at the results from the Epik SwapFest you can see that Aaron did rather well. Aaron picked up 47 domains with websites. The amazing thing is that he has been able to build his portfolio with almost no cash invested. I just smile when I look back at how he managed to do this in a very short time with a relatively modest investment. Aaron is doing great and is going to be a Developer to Watch in 2011.
The Bandit – Braden Pollock
Braden is perhaps best known for building one of the most complete portfolios of legal domain names — something that he has been doing on Epik’s DevRich.com platform. I call Braden the $219 Bandit because if you look at the results from Epik SwapFest #1, you will see that all of his bids were at $219. He had prepared a bid sheet at near the lowest price in the Dutch auction, and while most of his picks were already gone, he managed to capture some great properties for $219 each. In addition to cleaning up at SwapFest #1, Braden is one of the most disciplined domainers that I know. He methodically maps out his targets and pays exactly the price he ways to pay. While he won’t get every name he wants, he is able to consolidate positions in target markets. This is similar to a strategy used by Graham Easton of Singapore-based SwiftRank which now has 30,000 live sites in the hotel vertical. Like a thief in the night, these guys are monopolizing the name space in entire verticals.
What’s your strategy?
As you can see, there are many strategies that work. The strategies that work best are the ones that fit individual personalities and interests. The Developers profiled in this post are having fun, adding value, and improving the internet by taking parked or unregistered domains and making them into online businesses. This is a small sampling of some of the success stories that are taking shape. Look for more case studies in the months ahead.