Certain domain names naturally lend themselves to a particular use. HardDrives.com, for example, is naturally suited to be an e-tailing site that sells hard drives, whereas a site like DenverRestaurants.com would tend towards a directory of restaurants in, yes, Denver. Such natural tendencies are true not just for domain names but for TLDs as well. Case in point: .TV sites, which readily lend themselves to video content, although there are, of course, many .com and .net domains that are equally well suited for video content.
In any case, as followers of Epik know, we often develop new platforms in response to customer requests. When a surprisingly large number of people asking what we could do for their .TV domains, we got to work so that they could unpark those sites. The fruits of those labors is our new domain development platform, Epik | Video.
Earth to Captain Video
The Epik | Video platform allows us to build topic-specific collections of videos, including subcategories. Consider baking.tv —it’s the holidays, so there is a lot of baking going on— which displays how-to videos on how to bake cookies, muffins, cheesecakes, etc. These videos are currently aggregated from both YouTube and Vimeo, although we plan to add additional video sources in the near future.
Visitors can browse through the videos, search against keywords, and let friends know about a particularly useful video through sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites.
Site monetization comes from Adsense-style ads, although the addition of Shopzilla-style affiliate elements are planned for January. Additional features such as playlist creation and sharing are also coming soon.
Curation is Key
The question, of course, is why would someone come to a site that aggregates videos that can be found elsewhere on the web? The keys are curation and selection. Developing a worthwhile video site requires separating the wheat from the chaff. Consider someone interested in videos about the paranormal in general, and of Bigfoot in particular. If they simply visit Youtube, they will certainly find a lot of videos about Bigfoot. Unfortunately, they will also discover numerous videos of Bigfoot video spoofs, user car commercials with salesmen in unconvincing Bigfoot costumes, clips from a bad 1987 movie called Harry and the Hendersons, and a lot of other extraneous or low quality material.
This is where Epik | Video comes in. We don’t simply grab every video available. Rather, we sort through videos from across the Web and remove those that are off-topic, of poor video quality, or otherwise don’t make the cut. The result is a set of high quality, relevant videos that give visitors what they want while saving them time and effort.
Our ability to do this in scale is based on tools we’ve developed that let us search the Web for videos based not only on keywords, but also criteria such as video source, duration, ratings, whether the video is HD or not, and many others. This help produce a short list from which our operations team selects the best videos for inclusion. This tool, by the way, will be made available in Q1 to domain owners so that they can continually refresh their site content with the newest videos on their own.
A Look Down the Road
While the current platform is a great way to build out a video-centric domain name and/or TLD, we have even bigger things planned for Epik | Video Pro, most especially the uploading and monetization of custom, premium video content. Video Pro will allow site owners to upload video content they create directly onto the site, and to create Premium channels only available through a paid subscription at a price set by the domain owner. If we think of Epik | Video as basic cable, Video Pro allow us to create HBO. And, of course, such a site might offer a mix of free and premium content—it’s all up to you.
We believe that this model makes particular sense for site owners who have not only a domain name but their own original content, for example, self-help videos, yoga lessons, etc. With Premium accounts, these videos can gain a wider audience without having to give them away for free.
Even more interestingly, we plan to give Video Pro site owners to ability to sell premium channels to third party owners of content. If, for example, you had a site about auto racing, you could approach Nascar about having them put up their content on a premium Nascar channel, and share any revenue from those videos with them. For those who have the right domain names, this capability can let you turn your site into a thriving business.
We believe that Epik | Video and Video Pro are excellent ways to implement your video-centric domain names. Epik | Video is available today, and Video Pro is scheduled for release in late Q1. As for cost, Video sites are $499/site, but if you order any before Dec. 31, you are eligible for our 25% year-end discount. If you have domain names that you think might be suited to displaying video content, this is an ideal time to unpark those sites and getting people watching!
John Lawler, SVP Products