Domain DevelopmentDomain Investing

Four ways to build big-time on Epik — without breaking the bank

By August 29, 2010 December 8th, 2010 7 Comments

Epik Developers are having success.  A growing number of them are expanding their portfolios to the point that the investment level in domains and portals becomes material.  This post discusses 4 case studies of individuals who are building big-time without breaking the bank.

Volume Pricing – Kenny Hartog
The story of Kenny’s success on the Epik platform is not new. He was one of the very first to develop on Epik, and has focused almost entirely on Product Portals where he had early success and where he has continued to scale.  Kenny’s volume price is $175 per portal.   In the interest of transparency, here is how we discount with volume orders:

  • < 10 portals – $249
  • 10+ portals – $229
  • 20+ portals – $219
  • 30+ portals – $209
  • 40+ portals – $199
  • 50+ portals – $189
  • 100+ portals – $175

The intent of the setup fees is not actually to earn a margin.  It is to recoup the hard costs of building a custom site and getting the site to start cash-flowing from organic traffic.  You could easily spend $175 to 249 on just designing a custom logo.  For this budget, Epik builds an entire turn-key custom site and will operate it for as long as the domain is pointing to Epik with no additional investment by the domain owner.  The domain owner can sell or leave any time and keep 100% of the proceeds from a sale of the enhanced domain.

Co-Development Agreements – Oliver Hoger
Oliver hit the ground running with Epik. He is one of the most effective domain acquirers that I know, and had plenty of development-grade domains in his portfolio.  However, Oliver was  looking for a development partner and was willing to leave some upside on the table in exchange for waiving development fees for his high quality portfolio.  Epik is developing nearly 100 sites for Oliver, including the likes of Police.net, which went live last week and immediately received an unsolicited multi-5-figure offer.  The pricing model for development is that there is zero setup fee.  Epik shares 50/50 in the operating revenue and receives 30% of the proceeds from an eventual sale of the developed domain.  The domain owner maintains registrar control and is under no obligation to ever sell the developed domain.

Developer Credit via Domain Exchange – Aaron Wilken
Aaron is both good at drop-catching and also good at finding high value hand-registration opportunities.   Over the years, he assembled a lot of product category domains which happens to be a very good fit with Epik.  He was not interested in investing the full amount to fund development so we began trading development services for domains.  Recently, Epik acquired a portfolio of domains from Aaron.  We paid $12,500 in Developer Credit — something that we call EpikBucks.  EpikBucks are transferable, never expire, and can be used to buy services or domains from Epik, as well as bid at Epik-sponsored auctions. EpikBucks will be formally introduced in time for the Epik Developer Conference.

Enterprise Licensing – Morgan Schwartz
Morgan Schwartz is one of the original Friends of Epik, dating back to even before the days of Product Portals.  Morgan is also technical, and a savvy drop-catcher. He embraced the Epik vision pretty much from the get-go and endured our early experiments at developing scalable approaches to domain development.  Morgan has since built many product portals on the Epik platform and has had success in building a portfolio of sites that are providing recurring passive income.   When Morgan learned that Epik was considering a self-serve development platform that did not charge setup fees and offered a higher revenue-share, he was pretty keen.  During August, Morgan completed a full-day of on-site training at the Sandpoint, Idaho Operations Center where Luke Webster and team are based.  Epik now offers 3 tiers of Enterprise service, including a 100% rev-share and white-label solution for large scale developers.  An overview of Enterprise licensing is described here. Please contact us for details.

These 4 examples are all illustrative of a larger point.   And that is that Epik is that is listening to market feedback and developing innovative approaches that align incentives with the growing Epik Developer Community.  The example provided here focuses on Product portals but the principles apply equally to other Epik-powered platforms.

Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Mark says:

    Hi Rob:

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Getting tempted!!!

  • Will says:

    Rob, does a potential partner have to have a large number of domains to engage in a Co-Development Agreement? What if I have ONE good domain?

  • Rob Monster says:

    @Will – one good domain is absolutely interesting. We have done such co-development deal in the past. The biggest challenge with co-development is that the deal value is big enough to just the administrative overhead. So, as a guide, perhaps an Estibot valuation of $50K+ as a floor for a single name or portfolio of names.

  • Will says:

    Thanks, Rob. I understand that Epik development has to be a worthwhile cost/benefit transaction.

  • Mircea says:

    I just started with Epik and I must say Rob is a very nice and helpful person. He answered to all my questions and offered me several options.
    Can’t wait to see how my domains will perform on Epik platform.
    Anyway, from what I read so far (being fresh in domaining industry) is that parking is not doing well…and, as a web developer, I think domain development is the way to go…and Epik is proving this as we speak.

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