Seriously folks, who is drop-catching these?

There’s a new trend in the domain community: to dip crud in gold and promote it as if it were Aztec treasure.

While that epidermis of gold might look attractive, it’s actually *described* as attractive – all while it isn’t.

Epik aspires to be the next one-stop-shop for the hordes of frustrated domainers that are being swayed by the “evil” PPC companies. Rob Monster is extremely talented and systematic in his acquisitions and managing the company’s expansion.

I’m not judging Epik’s work, I’m judging their methods.

Brand new buzzword: development-worthy domains.

I will tell you, straight up, that the sister of “sour grapes” is the “sweet potato“: raising one’s expected worth by giving it a positive name or value.

In case you don’t get it: Every domain is “development-worthy” but those that receive this title are supposedly selected via a thorough and consistent process – during which they are given a “certificate” and thus about 10% of a valuation increase.

Take your best generic; it will actually be downgraded if it receives the title “development-worthy”. It is not an automatic gate to riches, not yours anyway.

Epik lists several such “development-worthy” domains daily and I have yet to be impressed in any way.

Epik’s latest blog post is titled “Seriously folks, who is dropping these?” which caught my attention obviously.

Then, I saw the pricing Epik has tagged to these domains that were dropped and which are now stuffed inside the Epik “content” window, with the RSS feed at the bottom and I wasn’t sure what more to say, other than shake my head in disbelief at those “development-worthy” long-tail beasts.

peoplephotography.net $140 -> Directory or How-to site.
mbadegreeprograms.net $2800 -> Directory
skiffs.net $1200 -> Store
customplasticbags.net $3800 -> Store
overseaspropertyagents.com $1300 -> Directory
airsoftsites.com $2000 -> Directory
boyinfantclothing.com $820 -> Store
hdmireceivers.com $1400 -> Store
ayrcw.com $50 -> Backorder
edhardyshirts.net $4000 -> Offer to Ed Hardy
aquahat.com $870 -> Store
carmelvalleycalifornia.net $1100 -> Directory
centralairsystem.com $880 -> Directory

Someone – or many, rather – saved themselves a lot of renewal fees by dropping them. You can review the rest of these “development-worthy” domains at Epik’s facebook page.

Comments

  1. Ooh! Ooh! Let me buy the trademark name to offer to the trademark holder! Ha!

  2. Chris – In theory you can develop anything but there is no guarantee it will make its reg fee back as revenue. Registering exotic two-worders and expecting them to make money as “stores” is a bit outlandish in my opinion.

  3. Yes, I know. I was pointing out how outlandish his suggestion is to buy trademarked names and offer them to the trademark owner.

  4. The EdHardyShirts.net? I missed that one :D At least it’s priced according to how much one could squeeze out of a tm holder LOL

    But seriously, these aren’t domains that hold much juice; a paradigm of the opposite would be Frank Schilling’s RumCakes.com

  5. I wrote this post about Frager’s domains years ago and have been shunned by him ever since. Hopefully Rob is more forgiving. I’m going to have to agree though, I could find better .com domains to develop.

  6. I am surprised and a bit disgusted at the trademark domains that Rob Monster in going after. Sure, he can sugarcoat and say the domains were acquired for the rightful owner.. No matter how you look at it, these are trademarked domains. I lost all respect for his practice. This is what give domainers and the entire industry a bad name!!

  7. TM names are actually delivered gratis:

    http://www.epik.com/blog/cleaning-up-the-web.html

    We have made some friends along the way, and would encourage other domainers to do the same to the extent that you have them.

    The appraisals are from Estibot. Those are actually not prices. If you read the actual blog post, you will see that we are offering the domains for free to folks who develop on Epik.

    Cheers.

  8. Mr Monster

    With all due respect this is not a practice I would engage in. You can qualify as you wish, however to actively go after this type of domain and say you are “cleaning up the web” I find humorous.

    To me this link does not look like you are cleaning up the web?

    http://www.edhardyshirts.net/

    Actually your price just increased 6k from your facebook gloating price..
    You have a payment link on the landing page any attorney would have a field day with. Shady practice, reminds me of the early 90’s.

  9. That lander is generated automatically the moment the name is caught. Ed Hardy is now a Wiki. No ads and in the public domain pending notification. It was caught on a weekend.

    While you are certainly entitled to your (anonymous) opinion, I suggest you take your biases and prejudgement elsewhere since they are clearly vintage 1990’s.

    Cheers.

  10. Actually Rob, the word “Gratis” was added next to EdHardyShirts.net after this article was posted. Before, it had a price tag of $4,000

    But here’s one for HeartGard.net – a trademark – which your list states “Offer to heartgard” – the price changes every time someone reloads the page but when I did load it, it said $81,000 http://img80.imageshack.us/img80/9889/heartgard.jpg

    Also, what exactly is that “clean the web” initiative; all I am seeing with EdHardyShirts.net is a domain that is registered despite an existing trademark. You might want to call it “saving it for Mr. Hardy’s Store” if you wish but I still see an attempt – Netsol style – to lock down a domain that has no real reason – other than that of its tm holder – to exist.

    I believe that your automated “register and tag a price on with a scrolling RSS feed” system can get you in hot waters with tm holders; if you’re willing to take that risk it’s obviously your loss or gain.

    What I’d still like to know is what “development-worthy” domains are, because the two we focused on are simply trademark violations.

  11. Mr Monster

    Really? How about these which were captured months ago.. I clearly see a pattern here of trying to profit off of a registered mark. No
    weekend excuse here.

    disneyworldtickets.net
    dodgedealerships.net
    chevroletdealers.net
    forexoptiontrading.net
    forextradingdemo.net

  12. James, FOREX is not a trademark it’s public domain. Forex.com is trademarked which often leads to the confusion.

    (There is a live mark for FOREX but apparently it’s for “Alcoholic beverages containing fruit”) – http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4007:kr44q.2.30

  13. Thanks for pointing that out Jeremy. The others are blatant trademark infringing (squatting) concerns. Point being these domains are listed for sale on the epik.com network. Acro, you are spot on with your comments. Bottom line Epik is actively pursuing trademark domains and trying to flip them for quick profit. I have nothing against Mr Monster or epik, I just feel this practice gives a bad name to the industry.

  14. Comments:

    – Again, those are not prices. They are Estibot appraisals. We actually give away more than we sell — by combining the domain with a development agreement. Win-win.

    – As for the disposition of TM names, the respective folks are immediately notified about their names. Cliff Beer, our in-house counsel, manages these.

    – The term “gratis” was added to address the apparent misinformation. If was say “so and so was notified”, it means there is no expectation of compensation.

    – Related to above, we own many people names. These are pointed to no-ad Wiki sites. They are almost never claimed. Occasionally we get to meet some really cool people.

    – Jeremy is right. Forex is a generic term. It is the concatenation of ForeignExchange. Check USPTO.gov. One could argue that Forex.com is an invalid mark.

  15. Say what you will, but my transactions with Rob and Epik have been positive, both personally and financially. The scale of what they are trying to do requires a lot more refinement in software and systems, but it already works well enough to turn a profit.

    The bottom line is not the bells and whistles, but whether you trust a person to try to do the right thing.

  16. Still waiting to hear on the definition of “development-worthy” domains; unfortunately the conversation was focused on the automatic registration of copyright violations.

  17. Wow Acro…
    I’m a total newbie, and I got it the first time!
    Those are NOT prices…rather, estibot appraisals!!!

  18. Jessie – Are you saying they are too high or too low? And what about tagging a price on trademark domains?

    Being a newbie or not has nothing to do with understanding copyright violations.

  19. -Acro

    No, I’m just saying they are not his prices but mere Estibot Appraisals!
    As far as copyright violations…I don’t know much other than to stay away from trademark domains!
    As far as development worthy…let’s just say I have a lot to learn! Don’t we all?
    Did not mean to be rude by the way!

  20. Jessie – The problem seems to be that these are not expired domains available to register, simply tagged with an estimate price. They are already registered, grabbed and parked at Epik “containers”. They are being offered for sale at prices that match or exceed their estibot appraisal.

  21. AMEN!!

    And what is even funnier than this, is that Epik is actually developing and monetizing trademark domains using Adsense, which is a direct violation of their terms, and they are welcoming and charging clients to develop their trademark domains.

    Rob knows better, he just chooses to ignore it.

  22. Acro

    Isn’t it that the domains are for sale as a development package (domain + development). If so, the appraisal, by far (in most cases), exceeds the cost of the domain + development, right? I would think that if you see these domains as “development worthy” you are getting a great deal in most cases! Like I said, I’m a newbie, so maybe I’m missing something, but I think I get it!
    Thanks!

  23. Jessie – I don’t see these domains as being special at all, if anything, I see them as problematic for the reasons I explained earlier.

    Michael – the problem with automated registration/parking/monetization schemes is running into such copyright violations.

  24. Acro – if you do some iWhois searches, you’ll see that Rob owns many of them too..

  25. Very good article with strong points made here. Bottom line, you can’t just jump into the domain industry with a lot of money thinking you’ll get the “hang of it” in 2 years.

  26. Rob Monster of Epik.com owns hundreds of trademark domains. He is profiting from them. He puts his spin on it using the phrase “cleaning up the web” which is utter nonsense. I can list all of him TM domains here, one would be shocked and surprised.

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