August was a month of what I have come to call “hypergrowth”. The business nearly tripled in August compared to July. During the same period, quality actually improved. And while operating gaps remain, we know what they are and are closing them. Here is a brief recap of August and a rundown of what you can expect from Epik.
August was a break-out month
The number of Developers going big-time on Epik exploded in August. Revenues in August were up 184% versus July. This excludes the impact of developer credit, or EpikBucks, as these revenues are either not captured as revenue, or are characterized as deferred revenue per GAAP. Revenue from sites was also at record levels.
The growth in August was largely about the explosive growth of Product Portals which is now at 6,000+ stores as we execute the strategy of hyper-segmenting the online retail market through a federated network of online stores. They work. In parallel to building them at scale, we are improving the user experience on a weekly basis.
Of course, when you triple the size of the business in a single month, some details will get overlooked — no matter how many smart guys are logging 100 hour weeks. The good news is that we head into this week’s DevCon, Epik’s team and products have never been stronger. And while the job is never done, the action steps are clear.
At next week’s Epik DevCon, John Lawler, SVP Technology at Epik, will highlight some of the Development initiatives that are under way. If you are coming to DevCon, don’t miss John’s session on “The Domain Development Toolbox”. Here are the main developments that are currently under way at Epik for delivery in the coming weeks:
- Administrative Control Panel: This one has been a long-time coming. It allows Epik Developers to be able to login and manage all of their Epik-powered sites through one master control panel with daily stats and centralized accounting.
- Dropshipping: The first of the product portals to support drop-shipping are going live. Our goal is to be able to more broadly support drop-shipping starting in Q4 2010 for product portals that have achieved critical mass in terms of volume of paid clicks or sustained top-ranking in their categories.
- Directory Portals: Directory Portals are moving into what we internally refer to as “The Factory”. To date, the emphasis has been on launching the Directory content network, e.g. Dining.com. In the coming weeks, we will complete the integration of the Sandpoint, Idaho call center for high volume outbound sales of enhanced directory listings to service providers listed in the directory portals.
- Video Portals: Video Portals have been in development for duration of the summer. The first live video portal will be live in time for DevCon. We specifically designed the video portals to power .TV domains. And so for anyone wondering why .TV domains have been slow to rank in the search engines, our belief is that it has a lot to do with the lack of useful content, or compelling user experiences. Video Portals combine content, community and commerce around themes.
- Recipe Portals: What does one do with a domain name like TomatoSoup.com? Up until now, our only solution would be to sell Tomato Soup products via a Product Portal. Not a bad option for canned or dried tomato soup, but not a great solution for BananaBread.com or Manicotti.com. We needed a platform for Recipes that ties back to a semantic architecture and monetized via sale of related ingredients, advertising, and lead-generation for dining and culinary-related services.
- Person name Portals: Let’s suppose you own JohnSmith.com, Bobby.com, or Smith.com. What do you do with those? After more than a year of negotiations, Epik has entered into an exclusive partnership with people search leader, PeopleFinders.com to produce SEO-friendly portals that can rank on person names, as well as person names with geo, e.g. JohnSmith.com/Chicago-Illinois catalogs all persons named John Smith in Chicago Illinois. Monetization is through upsell to background searches.
- Job Portals: The last portal category that we are actively developing is a Job Portal platform. In our view the job board market is ripe for hyper-segmentation, e.g. names like ChicagoNursingJobs.com that are basically parked and yet have 500+ exact match monthly searches with $3+ CPC. Vast numbers of these names are either unregistered or undeveloped. We think this represents a market that search has yet to disrupt. Domains can help with the hyper-segmentation of the job board market.
Attendees of next week’s DevCon will see previews of each of these development initiatives. So, Pardon our Dust. The Future of Domaining looks brighter than ever!