GoDaddy drops Epik from an Afternic partner

GoDaddy sent a notice of termination letter notifying Epik that Afternic is dropping Epik from a registrar partner. GoDaddy provided a 60 day notice after which Epik will not be part of the Afternic premium promotion. The termination of Epik on the Afternic Domain Listing Service (DLS) platform will be effective as of January 5, 2021.

This means that after that date Epik will not be able to sell Afternic domains on its website but more importantly that domains registered on Epik can not be listed on Afternic using Fast Transfer (FT). Afternic Fast Transfer is when a domain name owner lists a domain with Buy It Now (BIN) price on Afternic, opts in FT AND the domain is registered on one of Afternic’s FT premium registrar partners. When a domain is sold and paid then the domain is removed automatically from the seller’s account. Domain owners will still be able to list their Epik registered domains using manual transfer.

The letter from GoDaddy/Afternic to Epik stated no reasons for this termination.

The letter came from a generic GoDaddy email address and did not have a contact name or a signature. I found this to be of poor business etiquette.

It seems to me that GoDaddy is becoming more of a faceless corporation after Aman Bhutani took over as GoDaddy CEO last year. BTW I don’t expect a comment on this post from GoDaddy especially after they told Epik that it

must refrain from issuing any press release or similar publicity statement regarding this Agreement or its termination, without prior approval of both parties to the Agreement.

Epik created a page about this termination (https://www.epik.com/afternic) but there is no link from the Epik blog and there is no mention on the Epik social media. I think I noticed the link on Friday on a Twitter reply from Epik but now I can’t find it. I have no idea why this has not been mentioned anywhere else.

It seems the Epik and GoDaddy issue started when Epik brought GoDaddy into its Paypal troubles. Epik sent a letter to Paypal after Epik was banned from the platform last month. Epik mentioned GoDaddy in that letter mainly for explaining its business model and its competitors.

The strange things were the links provided at the bottom of that Paypal page that included there 3 links:

  1. GoDaddy Executive Contacts List for Interviews
  2. GoDaddy Buys Industry Trade Show and Bans Epik Under False Pretenses
  3. GoDaddy Employee Statements on Racism and Political Motivations (or https://www.epik.com/godaddy)

These 3 links and their content are baffling to say the least…

  1. I don’t understand who was supposed to use that list of GoDaddy employees for interviews and for what interviews regarding the Epik/Paypal issue.
  2. I don’t understand what GoDaddy banning (?) Epik from NamesCon had to do with the Epik/Paypal issue. DomainIncite.com wrote that “While the von Varchmin comment is genuine, I’m told that he was speaking in a personal capacity and it’s not current GoDaddy policy to ban Epik.”
  3. I have no idea what this has to do with the Epik/Paypal issue but I can understand that this could have made GoDaddy mad and then the retaliation. “Don’t let the ping pong tables fool you.”? That document was really bad especially since Epik is/was an Afternic partner.

So why did Epik start attacking GoDaddy especially since Paypal said that the issue with Epik was regarding some financial irregularities? Well, I am not exactly sure but this is what I found.

Robert Davis, SVP of strategy and communications at Epik, mentioned in a comment on TheDomains.com that:

PayPal did originally suspend services in May, prompting an exchange and phone call with PayPal’s CEO executive team three days later. This was centered over the possible controversy of one of their executives being moved from PayPal to a board member position at GoDaddy, which resulted in a number of negative actions that were seen as directly correlated and designed to harm Epik.

Three days later he made another comment on Namepros.com saying:

In terms of motivation, it is very simple. They are positioning GoDaddy as a single source monopoly, and Epik is a threat due to our innovation and our commitment to our amazing customers.

So now Epik is accusing GoDaddy to be a monopoly:

Can you say anticompetitive behavior from a group in massive need of antitrust oversight as a monopoly? Epik can, and it is added to a rapidly growing list of unthinkable market behaviors that will be accounted for.

Imagine the audacity and confidence it would take, as a $12 billion bully, to write a letter stating that hundreds of thousands of domains are no longer welcome on an industry-inclusive platform. Furthermore – if you tell anyone – this behemoth will come and use the legal system to sue and create financial harm as an intentional tool to inflict pain and suffering.

That is where our industry is at. The point where massive public companies literally write unsigned letters, stating that a campaign of hate and isolation is underway. GoDaddy will literally destroy you, if you don’t just roll over and take the service reductions and decreased access to market in obedient silence.

[…]

If anyone believes that GoDaddy’s capitalistic prerogative is to discontinue services and threaten small businesses at will to contain competition, then that is your right as well. You might not like how it turns out in the end though!

As I said I don’t expect to hear from GoDaddy but I am sure I will hear from Epik. GoDaddy has recently stopped commenting on my blog or replying to my tweets despite me being right about several things and their actions confirming that. GoDaddy just doesn’t acknowledge any of its mistakes but fix some of them. I don’t know whose decision was to go silent but I have a guess.

Sold.Domains

About Konstantinos Zournas

Studied Computer Engineering and Computer Science in London, UK and now living in Athens, Greece. Love domains and building websites. Went online in 1995, learned about HTML in 1996 and about domains in 2002. Started publishing the OnlineDomain.com blog in 2012.

46 comments

  1. You reap what you sow.

    Brad

    • Indeed Brad, and one of the things you tend to reap is having your logical fallacies pointed out when you sow them. I particularly like the one below, you might want to read it.

      “Master List of Logical Fallacies”

      “3. Actions have Consequences: The contemporary fallacy of a person in power falsely describing an imposed punishment or penalty as a “consequence” of another’s negative act. E.g.,” The consequences of your misbehavior could include suspension or expulsion.” A corrupt argument from ethos, arrogating to oneself or to one’s rules or laws an ethos of cosmic inevitability, i.e., the ethos of God, Fate, Karma, Destiny or Reality Itself. Illness or food poisoning are likely “consequences” of eating spoiled food, while being “grounded” is a punishment for, not a “consequence,” of childhood misbehavior. Freezing to death is a natural “consequence” of going out naked in subzero weather but going to prison is a punishment for bank robbery, not a natural, inevitable or unavoidable “consequence,” of robbing a bank. Not to be confused with the Argument from Consequences, which is quite different. See also Blaming the Victim. An opposite fallacy is that of Moral Licensing.”

      http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/ENGL1311/fallacies.htm

  2. Thank you Konstantinos.

    The actions from GoDaddy have impacted our industry and its members for many years. The line moves slowly, their market share expands, their leadership fails continually to make wise decisions, and they are getting bolder in their isolation of others for monopoly creation. Within thirty minutes of Biden being announced as President, PayPal sent a letter stating they would never have to explain their actions. Ninety minutes later, the letter from GoDaddy arrives unsigned, announcing their intent to try and further isolate Epik and its customers. With the added caveat that if we told anyone what they were doing, they would try to legally hurt us. Only at GoDaddy is this type of language, attitude, and careless market approach able to be dictated through their legal channels and external partnership alliances.

    The level of abuse, degree of content and site seizures, and the flow of underhanded actions we witness from the registrar lens coming from GoDaddy are reaching unthinkable levels. We are not alone, as many CEO’s and enterprise leaders are suffering at the hands of their decision making and sounding off privately. This is not just mismanagement with the wrong leadership team though. It is an issue now under analysis by the FTC, DOJ, and SEC, and heinous in its true intention and active form to reduce the rights and future opportunities for others. GoDaddy is not the friend of the domaining industry, nor does their actions help positive value flow through it. Even a great portion of GoDaddy’s own staff members are far beyond displeased with the way their company is proceeding. They are unequivocally too big to be so manipulative and self-serving in the harm they would deal out to others. They also are prepared to destroy the lives of good people – including their own employees to silence criticism – in an attempt to tighten their grip on an industry that I love.

    There are many attacks going on around this world, and many who are not what they profess to be. Please don’t lose the ability to discern right from wrong. We have tremendous faith and optimism for the future, but there are some actions that should not ever stand. Epik has been used as a strategic relief valve and a tactical redirection tool for many massive abuses of trust by big tech companies in the past. We love our customers, and are proud of the work we have been able to do through it.

    Recommended reading:

    https://www.epik.com/blog/mashable
    https://www.epik.com/blog/splc
    https://www.epik.com/blog/godaddy
    https://www.epik.com/blog/fakenews
    https://www.epik.com/blog/racism

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Please explain the GoDaddy/Biden/Epik connection…

      • Konstantinos, he has not said there is a connection. The way that works is that he simply tells you what happened (the letters) and when (roughly coinciding with an announcement about Biden), and then the reader and listener are to make their own inference.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        I highly doubt it. The way it is written it clearly shows a connection.

      • Common man! (in my best Biden impersonation). Everyone is connected by, at most, 6 degrees of separation. The connection is in the number of millions. The GoDaddy oligarchs are ‘pulling the strings’ at Illuminati dinner parties.

        Epik is the lone bastion of freedom, basically, the center of the universe. No one else has problems except Epik. The world is against them and they are simply defending your rights to a website. Really, all they care about is freedom and your websites (oh and selling you add-ons).

        Their passion should be evident in their expansive marketing techniques. You have seen their marketing, right? Better BELIEVE they’re the best! OR ELSE! Or else they’ll work to “have you banned from schools” (yes that’s ACTUALLY one of their threats).

      • When something is written or said that way, it is only at most impliedly suggesting there is a reasonable possibility or likelihood of a connection which you are supposed to ponder and form your own inference about, while maintaining the “epistemological uncertainty” of refraining from dogmatically asserting any such connection in the absence of some “smoking gun” admission by those engaging in the behavior. Just like when some executive in a company fires someone right after they express a political or religious view the executive doesn’t like, but claims the firing is for unrelated reasons or doesn’t give a reason. And like many other examples involving “coincidence” or near coincidence one can provide.

  3. I think you’re right about the reasons. Browsing the links you point out, it seems GoDaddy was unreasonably pushed under a bus. Blame shifting, maybe…where there’s no blame to shift? IDK. I am not a GoDaddy fan…But I see Epik as a special case.

    A lot could be said about the way Epik does business…

    The medium.com article on Epik’s PayPal ban summed it up perfectly (at least for me): bizarre.

    Epik acts bizarrely. I do believe that’s enough of a reason to distance yourself from someone in business…disassociate.

    To quote (most recently) Rob Monster: “Your reap what you sow”.

    On the bright side, they can focus on their own ‘superior’ products, the marketplace, and 10 other projects tied to epik.com, including selling ‘crypto domains’, ‘review’ websites, and SSO! Everything good news, all the time. That’s the spin. Positive outlook, even as you’re slipping on banana peels with both feet.

    I wonder when Rob Davis is going to come here and publically accuse me of threatening violence with 0 evidence. That’s wonderful when he does that. I’m still waiting for evidence. Oh, there is no evidence. I just write comments on blogs – it infuriates them. Honestly, I have a history with Rob Davis (he contacted me out of the blue under the guise of buying /and/ helping me sell domains in the name of god). Yes, he really did that, when I called out his TRUE motives, he kept insisting Epik was ‘reaching out’ to ‘help me’. Aww, random acts of kindness…all while they’re lying to me about their motives. How considerate. I really appreciate registers ‘reaching out’ under the pretence of being a buyer so they may solicit my personal information in order to DOX me then report me to my local community for being some kind of basket case. So professional!!! Thanks EPIK, for ‘reaching out’!

    I don’t like seeing the folks suffer. I also don’t like the way they treat everyone else. Didn’t they hire a dozen forum members? I wonder what they do all day???…I wonder because I see A LOT of smears/false/stupid accusations against other registrars in the industry compared to prior – a personal observation.

  4. The Q is will Epik survive?

    what NO LAWSUITS? HINT…Take it from the sore loser at the WH

  5. Epik is the best, plain and simple.

    The best for domain registration and management, and the best escrow service by a hundred miles. I have not experienced their other services, but suffice it to say Epik is simply the best.

    There was a time when I had over 1,000 domains at GoDaddy. Now I have almost none, and that’s how it’s been for a long time, and that’s the plan for the rest of my lifetime. There are numerous reasons.

    • Konstantinos Zournas

      Their platform is probably the best. But they have their issues as we can see. I have no domains GoDaddy. (Only a few auctions wins.)

      • Konstantinos, their issues consist of political agendas, anti-social, psychopathic, sociopathic, anti-American, un-American agendas against free speech and against the American population, and ultimately against the world in general, by the rich and powerful, including elements of US government influenced, controlled, “bought and paid for” by the rich and powerful, and various forms of bias, bigotry and hate directed against Epik and Rob by some.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        They are a registrar, not a world economic, political and religious forum.

      • PS – Not to mention also possible or likely competitive strife from some as well, such as perhaps including Escrow.com among others.

      • “They are a registrar, not a world economic, political and religious forum.”

        One cannot possibly be aware of the various controversies of the past few years about Epik and Rob and not realize the implications and even explicit reasons extend far beyond their role as a registrar and digital service provider. It just not possible.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        Domain name owners don’t care at all about all that.

      • I most definitely do, and I have hundreds of domains and have been “domaining” since 2001. I am also an end user of domains, abundantly so.

        Even if I didn’t care, Epik is still the best, like I said, and any type of improper attempts to undermine them by any other commercial entity or competitor is 100% unacceptable to me. I want Epik to stick around healthy and strong in the essential manner in which it operates and exists now till the say I die, because I intend, God willing, to be wanting and using their services in this form and with whatever techological advances may occur till the day I die.

  6. Epik the register has solid tools in place to make domainers successful, they need to stop getting into the public eye with these outlandish comments. Stay in your lane Epik you would have been fine, keep politics, and your own opinions out of it. You are sinking your own business. Many of your users rely on the godaddy traffic feed, and mls system, well you still have sedo, but stop fighting civil wars with horses, and swords, when your opponents have nuclear capabilities.

  7. why can GoDaddy successfully ask that:

    “must refrain from issuing any press release or similar publicity statement regarding this Agreement or its termination, without prior approval of both parties to the Agreement.”

    • I know right? How unfathomly appalling. Let’s get Joe Styler in here to comment since he’s the only person I ever see comment from GoDaddy. Who the @!#& do they think they are writing something like that? But we already know the answer, that’s the problem.

    • They have a duty of care to explain to their customers and should tell GoDaddy fuck right off.

  8. Since Epik won by domainer vote on Namepros, everything is going backwards now.

    Godaddy is acquiring a lot and who does this is to have the power and control it all.

    This domain market is like the Cotton Club title of the movie and planning the Hit title of the other movie.

  9. Lucky for Epik no bulk auth code tool, all those $6.49 transfers are stuck, or someone’s going to spend a lot of cramped hand hours clicking Auth codes.

    • Epik has great support at least I am sure some are asking support for their auth codes. Or in my case wiring a simple script to connect to their API, unlock, get auth code. Then submit transfer request to a new registrar’s API to automate the process. Almost was going to switch to Dynadot but no transfer in API. Actually not that difficult if you know some basic programming.

      • Konstantinos Zournas

        Where are you transferring to?

      • I prefer a smaller registrar, much like I prefer a small local credit union to a big national bank. Customer service is important to me.

        So with that in mind it came down to Dynadot or Namesilo.

        As far as the UI, I prefer Dynadot. Though Namesilo’s isn’t bad per-say.

        But Dynadot has some limitations with their API, and as a power user I rely heavily on an registrar’s API and Dynadot’s cannot do everything I expect to be able to do.

        Namesilo’s API does everything I need, and most of what I want. So I went with them.

  10. i worked freelance for Epik for a few mionths ,I also have all my domains there and still am an affiliate for them. [Total Sales:$75,197.60].
    They are the best and nicest people you could deal with ,always available to help you in any way .[Including Rob M]and the best products/prices.
    Most people inside and outside feel that Epik has lost it’s focus,stick to domaining.
    Domainers don’t need to be told that Epik cares and loves you.etc
    Most people inside and outside of Epik also know that Epik have one major problem.
    And it all started about 8 months ago .
    I let you to work out what it is .

    • As far as I can tell, everything started when Epik and Rob did a great thing by doing the right thing about Gab.com. And I don’t even spend any time on Gab.com and haven’t seen it in ages, so it’s not like I say that as any kind of Gab supporter. Then Epik and Rob did another bunch of good and right things. As for any personal views some don’t like – that’s called bias, bigotry and hate. By the very ones perversely purporting to care about that. Then of course there is the competitive strife of the likes of Escrow.com, et al.

      • What’s wrong with Gab.com, any social network would be the same with this title:
        Welcome to Gab.com
        A social network that defends freedom of expression, individual freedom and the free flow of information online. Everyone is welcome.
        What’s wrong that Epik and Rob have preferred Gab to Facebook which the latter has scanned the sale of personal data from the profiles of millions of users.
        Here you have a video that was a success in 1969 https://youtu.be/tf1B9ktRCkg I hope that none of you is offended by freedom.

      • “As for any personal views some don’t like – that’s called bias, bigotry and hate.”

        No. It called difference of opinion. We all have it.

        “That is moronic BullShit coming out of your mouth/ass ya dick.”

        There, have some hate 🙂 or bias 🙂

      • Well Paul after a strong statement like that you have so utterly exposed me for being so much like an ox. A moron. An oxy moron.

  11. @frank meester, I don’t care, I’m very good at Epik.

    I am a customer account in Afternic since 2007 I can sell domains in Fast Transfer from any Uniregistry registrar as an example of Godaddy, I am selling domains in Afternic.

    By the way, do the same thing that I invest in stocks, they are very interesting with a domain registrar that if things go wrong, you can get 10% more or less of the amount that was sold Voice.com

    • @Jose Im very good with Epik also ,,over 850 domains with them ,close friendship with some staff there also.
      There is nothing wrong with Epik as a company but I feel there is somebody who is pushing its own agenda without having regard for Epik’s staff , some are from develioping countries and need Epik’s salary to feed their families.Anyway this somebody tiold me that this somebody would turn Epik into a 1 billion dollar company by end of this year .

  12. In my experience of over 25 years buying and selling domains I have always found GoDaddy to be a cunch of bunts who rip off customers with fake offers, did not act honorably on switches (using ICANN 60 day limit to lock you in for another year).

    To me, the problem at GoDaddy is the culture and that came from the founder who I gather is still the largest shareholder. From using semi clad women to killing elephant for so called fun, he is a disgusting excuse for a human being.

    So I was not surprised to read the article above.

    Surely answer is to create alternate groups and alliances that involve all but GoDaddy, sorry shitheads your not welcome here.

    I moved all my domain activities away from GoDaddy years ago, I left SEDO because they would not allow me to opt out of their MLS which included GoDaddy.

    When I get a call from a GoDaddy rep asking about one of my domains I said “I am very interested at selling at that price but you will need to go back and tell them you could not help, because I will not put money into GoDaddy.

    When I was with Sedo I put a note on every domain saying I reserve the right the not transact via GoDaddy and no offer will be entertained if it comes via them.

    I have friends who ask me about registering their domain with GoDaddy or using their hosting and I warn them off, telling them “never do business with GoDaddy”.

    If GoDaddy buys a company I will not deal with that company.

    If a company partners with GoDaddy, I will not deal with that company, because it shows poor judgement.

    I am not a huge player, the most I owned was 1000 concurrent domains, but I bought and sold a lot, I always told people stay away from GoDaddy.

    So what I want to read about on this blog is how people fucked GoDaddy and most of all how they have formed alliances and partnerships that exclude GoDaddy because of the commercial threat it poses.

    BTW monopolies are illegal, so for goodness sake report GoDaddy.

  13. @frank meester I have 190 domains with Epik, change for the better and I will continue in this domain registrar, because I find good services, resources and support.
    Everything I had written for you to your comment and question could not describe it, after reading this that is written in the history of this link that you read today and before not knowing its extension. At the end write with a brief letter that defines me in relation to what I have read today and what I have shared with you about this post. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epik_(company)#:~:text=The%20company%20is%20based%20in,domains%20registered%20through%20the%20company
    I defend freedom of expression, but never based on those who deny freedom ………..

  14. Better late than never. I opted out long ago.

  15. A timely fitting sign of how evil GoDaddy has become, and how far that they have fallen down in that regard?

    https://domainnamewire.com/2020/11/17/godaddy-is-down/

  16. I have 11 or so domains at GoDaddy and they will not stay there.

    I have 40 domains left at Epik from over 400
    and I will not stay there

    I can’t do business with people who publically claim that
    satan is waiting around the corner
    and that
    the NewZealand shooter video was fake

    • Are you not lying and engaging in ignorance and stupidity? Did anyone claim the video was fake, or is it not merely that someone defended people’s right to be able to review and examine it for themselves while censorship abounds, form their own conclusions, and also engage in free and uncensored discussion and debate about it like free people with a right to free speech? Did anyone ever claim that such an entity is “waiting around the corner,” or is it not merely the case that someone expressed a particular view shared by what must be countless millions of other people in the world, even hundreds of millions or billions? Are you not also engaging in the kind of “bias, bigotry and hate” I mentioned above, as well as ignorance, falsehood and stupidity with a remark like this?

  17. I remember overseeing projects during 2017-2019 to (1) integrate Afternic Fast Transfer at Epik and (2) set up Paypal recurring payments for monthly domain leases. Now both of those features have been uprooted during a period of less than 1 month. Sad to see.

  18. I know nothing of this particular legal dispute but what I do know a LOT about what just happened to me personally on my first foray into purchasing a domain name.

    I purchased a domain name at GoDaddy subsidiary Uniregistry and the EXACT same day it was stolen from me under a different Godaddy subsidiary, afternic, where it had been on auction for months.
    I didn’t even know these auctions sites even existed.
    And the person, who I have strong suspicions was someone lurking about my Linke In page, was the perpetrator.
    I have a documented email receipt that I bought and legally own the site but, apparently not.
    And now GoDaddy is offering me another “service” where I can try to buy my own domain name back from the kidnapper to pay ransom money to the extortionist who stole it from me for less than what I paid for it.
    ALL of this happened under the GoDaddy umbrella.
    Is this at all common or standard practice???
    I am speechless at what has happened. It wouldn’t have been such a big deal but, it was a big part of the business I am trying to launch.
    Any feedback or insights of what the hell is going on or advice about what to do would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Fred

    So now, GoDaddy is oferring another “service” that allows me to pay the ransom money to the kidnapper of my own web doman!.

  19. Something similar to what he writes, @Freddy Johnson it happened to me years ago in Network Solutions my domain (Com) of a keyword disappeared already renewed the same day with 60 days of expiration.
    I investigate and in the end find a private auction in another subdomain where my reserved domain was $ 25000 this is not from now.

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