In July 2011, Epik became an accredited registrar. The decision to become a registrar did not come lightly. As an active domain investor, I had a good sense of the market and believed that the registrar industry was both lacking innovation and playing too many games with the registrants. Since 2011, Epik has been building what I believe is a better platform for managing your domains.
The Seven (Deadly) Sins of the Registrar
Registrars employ lots of lovely people. However, some of their business practices leave a lot to be desired. This is typically not the fault of the people that you talk to on the phone, but more likely 2 or 3 levels higher in the organization. Tell me if any of this sounds familiar. I call them the “The Seven (Deadly) Sins of the Registrar”:
- The Bait and Switch
You sign up for a free service like WHOIS privacy because it is free, only to discover that it is not really free, and it is a pain in the ___ to remove it later. In the meantime, the meter keeps running on the amended terms of what used to be a better deal.
- The Lockup
You change a WHOIS record and find your domain is locked for 60 days, and cannot be transferred to another registrant. The buyer is adamant that they want to transfer to their preferred registrar and cannot. Many registrars enforce a full 5 day transfer wait period rather than giving the registrant the option to promptly “ACK” the domain once the transfer has been initiated.
- The Overpriced Redemption
You allow a domain to expire, and get a bid on the domain while it is in redemption. The registrar wants an inflated recovery fee, of as much as $250. The hard cost from Verisign to restore a .COM is $40. While some markup is appropriate, $250 is clearly punitive.
- Preying on the Unsuspecting
Hidden fees, Presumptive Upsells, Small Print, and Automatic Renewals are common in the industry. Other examples include placing ads on your parked domain, or selling a domain immediately upon expiration without a grace period. In both cases, the registrar keeps 100% of the margin with effectively no cost.
- Non-existent or Non-competent Customer Service
You call a registrar and wait 10 minutes on hold, and then get prompted to leave a message. No call back. You send in a support ticket. Nobody answers. That is until you file a complaint with ICANN.
- Not Managing Expiration Notices
ICANN audits notwithstanding, a lot of notices are not getting to the registrant’s inbox. Most registrars ignore auto-responders and bouncebacks, e.g. “Jane Smith no longer works here so please contact Bob Jones. “, or if the registrant has an issue with their mailbox or is using an aggressive spam filter that requires sender verification.
- Inflated Marketplace and Brokerage Commissions
You sold a domain. The marketplace that sold your domain charges 30% of the proceeds as a commission. Proceeds are distributed via PayPal a few days later. PayPal took another 4% of the net proceeds. Who ate your cheese?
These practices may make sense to the registrar. However, from the perspective of the registrant, not so much. After seeing a few too many incidences like the above, I decided to do something about it and entered into the registrar and hosting business by fully integrating these capabilities into our core product and service offering.
So, why choose Epik?
Since becoming a registrar in 2011, Epik has grown to more than 50,000 customer accounts. Along the way, we added a number of smart, hands-on customers who are as passionate about domain name management as we are. This has helped us shape Epik into what it is today. Like many of our clients, over the years, we have had the opportunity to work with many different registrars. At Epik, we are constantly on the lookout for ways to make the experience of working with your domains, more efficient, more enjoyable, and more profitable.
Here is what you can expect from Epik:
At Epik, we provide what we call “Legendary Support”, consistently trying to exceed expectations, going the extra mile. It is hard to explain but you know when you see it.
Cost Effective Registrations, Renewals and Transfers
We know that cost is critical for domain investors with large portfolios. We ourselves maintain a portfolio of more than 20,000 owned and operated domains. Professional domain investors with 100+ domains can expect to get registration services at cost, even if those domains are initially at other registrars. For .COM, our cost including ICANN fee is $8.03.
Sell or Lease your Domains Commission Free
Domain Leasing is hot right now. See my previous post on this topic for more background on what Epik is doing in the area of leasing. Domains that are registered on Epik can sold or leased commission-free. And because domains are delivered instantly, there are no escrow delays.
Free Basic WordPress Hosting, Email Forwarding and Domain Forwarding
Most domains start out as an idea. The implementation of that idea, may start a week later, a year later, or never. When a domain is ready to become more than a domain, Epik lets you walk before you run with a bundle of free services.
Integrated Hosting and Development Solutions
When you are ready to get serious about development, Epik is uniquely equipped to help. After all, our roots are in the area of cost effective domain development. As a result, we provide the aspiring domain developer with a one-stop-shop comprised of Hosting, Design, Development and Content-sourcing.
Free Privacy that is Easy to Use
Most registrars charge extra for protecting your privacy. At Epik we do not, and will not charge for WHOIS privacy. Privacy is your right. Enabling or removing privacy on your domains is easy on Epik.
No Arbitrary Locking or Transfer Restrictions
Some registrars impose a 60-day lock on your domains if you change the WHOIS on your domain, or activate privacy. While we are highly vigilant towards unauthorized account access, we agree that you have the right to move what is yours.
100% Rev-share for Parking Income
Should you choose to not develop your domain, you can use Epik parking. 100% of the revenue from the parking provider is your revenue, and paid out to your Epik Masterbucks account which you can cash out or spend. Traffic and revenue data is all visible in your control panel.
Special rates for Special Groups
Epik aims to provide competitive rates while also providing industry-leading service. For non-profits and Ministry organizations, we also offer registration services at cost, regardless of portfolio size. And when we encounter a hardship situation, we do our best to do the right thing.
So how is it that Epik can afford to give professional domain investors this good a deal. Very simple. When you sell or lease a domain, we gain a customer. By attracting large portfolios to the Epik platform, we attract more full-service retail customers. And that is good news for the professional domainer, because when you sell or lease a domain, we’ll take good care of your customer.
If you are looking for a better deal and a fair shake, contact us.