I am pleased to announce an exciting development at Epik — the completed acquisition and integration of the IntrustDomains registrar management platform. The acquisition adds advanced domain management technology, integrated backorder capability, a significant customer base and a talented team with deep competency in the area of domain name asset management and registrar operations.


Why we did this deal

We have long wanted to integrate a registrar into the Epik platform. We ourselves now own more than 22,000 domains. Moreover, we are also one of the most active dropcatchers, adding between 25 and 100 new domains per day via dropcatching alone.  Over the last year, we have looked at a number of opportunities to add a mature registrar business.  The logic is that we believe that we are in the business of providing solutions for “Domain Name Asset Management” across the entire life cycle.

To do this well, and to provide a truly seamless user experience, we needed to add registrar capability. In other words, it was not enough to simply become a registrar. To eventually become a world class registrar, we also needed to secure world class technology for helping registar customers to manage their domain assets.  I believe this deal accomplishes that objective and further believe that the foundation has been laid to become a top registrar, particularly for domain investors who are focused on domain name development as a core business model for adding value to their domains.


What we got with this deal

We had already been working with the Intrust team for more than one year. As such, we had a good sense of the potential. Here are the main components of the deal:

  • An established registrar business: Intrust currently serves more than 27,000 clients. These clients will now be Epik clients. We will be serving them as a full-service registrar while introducing them to Epik’s range of development solutions.
  • A world class registrar platform: When you test-drive Epik’s registrar platform, I think you will see what I see — a clean and intuitive interface for managing domains.
  • A self-service backorder platform: Integrated into the new control panel is a self-service backorder platform. Customers who have been using Epik for backorders can now manage their backorders 24/7 and experience seamless domain delivery.
  • A mature Customer Relationship Management platform: Intrust had built a proprietary CRM platform that I think is just phenomenal.  It was designed from the ground up to be used with helping customers with their domain-related requests.
  • A talented engineering team: Talented engineers who understand registrar operations are not all that easy to find.  We are delighted to have added a team of talented and passionate technologists.

In summary, this was a big win for Epik and also a big win for anyone who is serious about developing a domain portfolio beyond domain parking.


What else you can expect in the near future

The integration of the registrar capability is part of a larger roadmap.   Here are some additional capabilities you can expect in the near future:

  • An integrated marketplace for domains and developed websites: In the near future, anyone who builds on Epik will be able to list their domains or websites on Epik.  Buyers will be able to see verified statistics about the domain or website. Upon completion of purchase, the domain and associated website will be instantly and seamlessly transferred.
  • Free backorders for Developers: The quality of dropping domains recently has been exceptionally good.  We will offer free backorders to developers. Backorder customers will  put up $199 which gets deposited into the client’s MasterBucks account for use with future Epik development services. For anyone serious about domain development, it is an unbeatable offer.
  • Expanded TLD coverage and DNS management: The Epik registrar platform is designed to be a domain name asset management platform which enables users to manage domains wherever they happen to reside. For those of us who are managing domains across multiple registrar accounts, we think this will be a compelling step forward.
  • Integration of web hosting: Epik offers a growing array of tools for site development. However, for users who want to build a truly custom web site, there is a need for an integrated solution which gives the developer full operating system control, yet still makes it possible to enable seamless transition of ownership in the event of a subsequent sale of the developed site.

Epik is blessed with some of the domain industry’s most demanding and visionary developers.  I say “blessed” because it is these individuals who continually challenge Epik with new ideas for how we can better equip them to maximize the value of their domain investments.  The addition of registrar competency, opens up a new vector for industry-leading innovation.


What this means for Domain Investors

I have long believed that domains will eventually become accepted by the mainstream as an asset class. I believed that strongly in 2009 when Epik was founded. I believe it even more today.  In fact, the recently announced $2+ billion private equity deal with GoDaddy involves some of the smartest money on the planet — KKR, Silver Lake and Technology Crossover ventures. Domain names are some of the most under-priced investment assets in the world. As such, a deal like this one was all but inevitable.

Where Epik will be different from GoDaddy is in our emphasis.  GoDaddy’s business model heavily depends on volume.  They are the largest registrar with some 48 million domains under management. However,  I believe that the majority of those domains under management are domain names that nobody will ever develop.  So, rather than focus on being the BIGGEST registrar of marginally useful names, our goal is to be a preferred and trusted partner in growing high quality domain portfolios.


Try us out

After more than 2 months of intensive development and integration work, we think we have a pretty solid registrar product.  Our domain registration prices are low for everyone — $7.66 for .COM.  No promo codes needed and no byzantine maze of upsells.

If you are an existing Intrust customer, your existing credentials will work. If you are an existing Epik client, your existing Identity.net single-sign-on will also work.



Join the discussion 10 Comments

  • Jamie Zoch says:

    Congrats on the purchase Rob!

  • Vishal says:

    Great News. Will make life easy for existing users.


  • Tony says:

    How much for .com renewals?

    What happens if more than one person backorders the same domain which Epik catches?

  • Rob Monster says:

    @Tony – $7.66 for .com renewals and transfers.

    As for backorders, the pricing model is $199, first come, first serve. There is no auction so this model should be fairly democratic. Also, the $199 fee is applied as developer credit towards domain development since our goal is to promote domain development rather than domain speculation and flipping. Obviously there will be many cases where we are leaving money on the table by not keeping the name for ourselves — and we are OK with that.

  • Jason says:

    WOW! Congratulations Rob, this is big news!

    You and your team continue to define the path forward for the entire industry. This is an amazing accomplishment.

    @ backorders, very nice model!

    looking forward to bringing you some business. Good pricing, will you be handling .ca registrations?

    ** RWM ** Thanks, it was a long-planned move to add self-service registrar and backorder operations. Fully registry support is coming for additional TLDs.

  • Greg says:

    So you are increasing Intrust Domains flat backorder fee from $60 to $199? Steep. Hope you have some new technology to justify the price increase.

    *** RWM *** Well, the model here is that backorder fee is applied as a credit for development of that domain. So, for developers, they are effectively getting a free domain. We are really not all that interested in catching domains for persons who are simply acquiring domains for an instant flip. On the positive side, the domains are not being sent to auction either.

  • Jeff Edelman says:

    Congratulations to you, guys. I already have a few domains at Intrust as a result from domains purchased at the Epik conference last September. Hope to do more work with you in the future.

  • This is my first time hearing about this. I feel out of the loop! Congrats to Epik!

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