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Alexander from Intrust Domains Sure Does Get Around

July 20, 2011Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, Expired Domains, intrustdomainsComments Off on Alexander from Intrust Domains Sure Does Get Around

Expired domain emails sure are fishy.

I hadn’t paid much attention to Intrust Domains until Epik announced last week that it had acquired the company. [See update below]

But it just so happens that I’ve been bombarded by email from Intrust over the past week, so I took a deeper look into its marketing.

The emails come from “Alexander”, who’s informing me that a domain name similar to one I own (actually, the domain is one I just let expire myself) will be auctioned off soon.

Alexander invites me to “express interest” in the domain name so they can try to acquire it.

I wasn’t sure why he sent me four separate emails about this opportunity, but I think I’ve figured it out. Alexander appears to be moving a lot, so he may not have received any responses to his earlier emails.

In his first email he lists a P.O. Box in Colorado Springs. In the second email he’s moved to Franklin, Tennessee. The very next day he’s moved again. He’s still in Franklin but has a new street address (read: mailbox). By the fourth email he had moved across the country to Montecito, CA.

Making matters worse, his email address changes every time! Poor Alexander wouldn’t receive a response to his emails even if I tried.

(Hopefully these practices change now that Epik owns the company.)

[Update: Epik Founder Rob Monster says the email marketing activities that have been marketed under the label of Intrust Domains were not included in the acquisition; it was only the registrar itself. See his comments below.]


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Related posts:

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Epik Acquires Domain Name Registrar IntrustDomains

July 14, 2011Domain Registrars, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, intrust domainsComments Off on Epik Acquires Domain Name Registrar IntrustDomains

Company acquires domain name registrar with a checkered reputation.

Epik has acquired domain name registrar IntrustDomains for an undisclosed account.

In a blog post, Epik founder Rob Monster explains that the acquisition will provide a number of services for managing your domain name assets. In addition to registering domain names, Epik customers will get access to a self-service backorder system. They will also be able to manage their domains at other registrars from within their account.

IntrustDomains has more than 27,000 clients.

If the name IntrustDomains rings a bell, its because you’ve likely received unsolicited email from them about an expiring domain name similar to one you own. When I googled “Intrust Domains this evening”, the first page doesn’t include a link to the site. It’s mostly filled with complaints about the company.

It certainly seems like an interesting acquisition, although Monster has clearly spelled out why he thinks it will be beneficial to his company.


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Epik Releases Upgrade to Its Product Portals

June 13, 2011Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epikComments Off on Epik Releases Upgrade to Its Product Portals

Site creation tool releases improvements geared to more content.

Epik 3.0Epik has released an upgrade to its product sites dubbed Product Portals 3.0.

The latest version is designed to offer more content on product sites, which is of course critical to search engine placement.

Users can now create full articles using an article editor as well as import content from other sites. (So far content can only be imported from ArticlesBase.com.) The content module includes a scheduler to time the release and import of articles.

The new version also enables site owners to feature this content above-the-fold in a rotating fashion.

Epik addresses Google’s Panda update in its announcement, but does not say whether it has had an impact on Epik sites. However, the company says that early tests of its 3.0 platform show it increases page views on average 23%.


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Pay for TRAFFIC Conference with Your Domains

September 27, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, epik bucks, traffic conferenceComments Off on Pay for TRAFFIC Conference with Your Domains

Trade-in your domains for a ticket to TRAFFIC South Beach.

This month’s Epik conference had a unique twist — you could pay for conference admission by trading in domain names.

I was a bit surprised, yet excited, to learn this morning that you’ll be able to do the same thing for October’s TRAFFIC conference. Rob Monster has worked out a deal with TRAFFIC organizers to let you pay for admission with Epik bucks.

To take advantage of the offer you need to send a list of domains to Epik quickly because the deal ends September 30. Epik will respond with an offer to buy your domains with Epik bucks. I suspect this offer will bring in a number of additional attendees to the conference.

Epik is also bringing SwapFest to TRAFFIC. The event premiered at Epik’s conference earlier this month. It was the first domain swapping event with a common currency and it worked — $100,000 in domains changed hands.


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Energy and People Drove Epik’s First Developers Conference

September 22, 2010domain conferences, Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epikComments Off on Energy and People Drove Epik’s First Developers Conference

My thoughts on last week’s conference in Seattle.

I’ve re-written this blog post a couple times as I try to get my head around the Epik Developers Conference last week in Seattle. I’m reflecting on what it means for Epik as well as for the domain community. This is no easy task.

So I’m going to punt and go with a stream-of-conscious. Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way first.

Professionalism – this is something often lacking in the domain name community. But it defined the Epik conference. First class hotel, food, and meeting space. More shocking was that everything started on time. It was like clockwork, never off by more than 10 minutes. That’s rare at a domain conference.

Content -Epik DevCon was a user conference. This means it focuses on giving clients information they need to have a mutually beneficial relationship with the company. About 60% of the content at DevCon was specific to Epik, including how its products are working, how people are getting the most out of Epik, and what’s coming in the future. The other 40% was more general, including SEO and social media.

People – as the first ever user conference for a startup, I guessed about 50-60 people would show up. I was wrong. 88 people registered, and a handful more came to the open events. That’s very strong. But more importantly was the quality of people. They were all open-minded. So energetic about the future. No egos in the room. OK, so I was there. And there was Chris Pirillo (I’m joking, Chris).

I made more new contacts and had more sit down conversations at this event than in most domain conferences. Attendees are still buzzing on the social networking site for the event. It was also great to see GoDaddy sponsoring the event, and I got to meet my GoDaddy account rep. I attend conferences for the people, and I was happy with the results.

Now let’s think about what this event means for the industry.

Epik has some of the right elements of a successful company — a respected leader, funding, strong customer base. Where that leads is hard to tell. I saw some really innovative ideas for web sites at the conference that can be leveraged into full-fledged web properties. And the energy of attendees was much higher than I’m used to seeing at a domain conference.

Some people will call what Epik does “mass development”. In the history of the web there has never been a mass development effort that hasn’t flailed out after a few years. Google killed them all. But I don’t look at Epik as a mass web site developer. Instead, I look at it as a platform. A platform that gives users the ability to create meaningful, user-friendly web sites that add value. Epik can deliver part of the puzzle, but clients need to run with it. Hopefully both pieces of the puzzle will click.

I can say that the attendees at last week’s conference are some of the most open-minded and energetic in the industry. They aren’t looking at the past; they’re looking at the future.

It gives me a lot of hope.


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Epik Conference Kicks off in Seattle

September 16, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epikComments Off on Epik Conference Kicks off in Seattle

First ever Epik DevCon gets underway.

The Epik Developers Conference kicked off last night with a welcome reception at the Edgewater hotel in Seattle.

Right off the bat I’d say this is the coolest hotel for any domain name conference I’ve attended. The hotel is on the water — literally. It’s on a pier. You could literally drop a fishing line out the window and go fishing. (In fact, there’s a famous photo of The Beattles doing just that at the hotel).

Here’s the view from my room:

Edgewater

Epik isn’t sparing any expense for the event. Last night’s reception included what could be the world’s largest paella.

Formal sessions began this morning at the Bal Harbor Conference Center with a talk from Epik founder Rob Monster about the platform his company is building. Coming up next Luke Webster will talk about domain name acquisition. During lunch I will be on a panel with Chris Pirillo of LockerGnome.com about social media.

Follow me on twitter @domainnamewire for more updates.


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Are you Going to Epik Developers Conference?

September 14, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, epik devconComments Off on Are you Going to Epik Developers Conference?

Conference starts Wednesday evening in Seattle.

Tomorrow I’m headed to Seattle for Epik’s first ever user conference called “Epik Developers Conference“. As a user conference and a first go-round, I expect attendance to be modest but the attendees to be enthusiastic and involved. The conference also includes a number of firsts:

-First conference you can buy a pass to by trading in your domain names instead of paying cash

-First conference with a domain swap event with a common swapping currency (which fixes the problem of most bartering systems — finding two people who have an exact match for each other)

-First conference with a social networking system that people are actually using

Coming from Texas, one of the best aspects of the conference is that it’s in Seattle. I’ll be leaving 95 degrees and humid and arriving in the world of 75 and crisp.

There’s already a social networking system for attendees, but if you’re attending go ahead and leave a comment here to help with advanced networking.


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Epik Takes Innovative Approach to Domain Trading

September 7, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epikComments Off on Epik Takes Innovative Approach to Domain Trading

Epik pushes the envelop at next week’s Domain Swap.

Epik BucksDomain lifecycle platform Epik likes to try new and innovative things. Next week’s Domain Swap event at Epik DevCon in Seattle is another example.

The Domain Swap brings in much needed liquidity and a common currency to domain trading, something that has been absent from similar ideas in the past. Here’s how it works:

1. Send a list of domains you wish to sell to Epik

2. Epik will buy some of the domains with its own currency, EpikBucks (the company has spent $50,000 in EpikBucks over the past 24 hours)

3. Use your EpikBucks during the swap event to buy other domains

It’s actually quite a clever concept. And you don’t have to limit your EpikBucks to just buying other domain names. You can pay for your admission to the conference with domain names, something I’ve never seen for a conference before. So if you were thinking about going to next week’s conference but are short on cash, you can now trade in some of your domain names instead.


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Epik Domain Developer Conference Taking Shape for September

August 16, 2010Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epikComments Off on Epik Domain Developer Conference Taking Shape for September

Epik to hold first user conference in September.

Next month Epik will host its first user conference/domain development conference. The event, dubbed “Successful Monetization Through Domain Name Development” will take place at The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle September 15-17. I’ll be there.

The agenda includes a lot of topics on the minds of domain owners these days:

-Acquiring and Screening domains for Development
-Operate – Content, SEO, and SEM
-Sell – Maximum asset value at exit

The event will also include a a “Domainer Swap meet” to buy, sell and trade domains and sites. Moniker will host an auction where all of the domains are developed on one of Epik’s products. Entertainment includes a cruise on Elliot Bay.

GoDaddy and Moniker have signed on as sponsors for the event.

If you’re thinking about going, I recommend reserving a hotel room ASAP. I called last week and the block was sold out, but a few more rooms have been added.


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Epik Acquires Domain Development Company DevRich

May 26, 2010devrich, Domain Services, Domaining, Domainnamewire, epik, rob monsterComments Off on Epik Acquires Domain Development Company DevRich

Epik adds to development capabilities.

Rob Monster’s Epik has acquired domain name development company DevRich. The transaction was an all-equity transaction and the valuation was not disclosed.

This is both a talent acquisition and a technology acquisition. Luke Webster, President of DevRich, will become SVP Operations of Epik. He will continue to run DevRich, which will be a division of Epik.

I met Webster and his business partner at DOMAINfest this past January, where they presented in PITCHfest.

DevRich will mass develop your domain names for about $5 each. As Monster points out in a blog post about the acquisition, mass development only gets you so far. The thinking is that by developing your domains on DevRich, you can figure out which ones have the most potential. You can then use some of Epik’s (and DevRich’s) more advanced solutions for product portals and directories to expand your sites.


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