Domain Name Asset Management
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De-Platforming is Digital Censorship. Blacklisting is Digital Shunning.
“I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his own opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it.” – Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
For those not familiar with the case, Gab.com’s ability to operate was abruptly terminated by Godaddy, among other vendors, who deemed Gab to have violated their terms of service. This de-platforming of Gab generated much discussion in the mainstream technology press. It also prompted a lively discussion in the professional domain name community, including at the popular discussion board NamePros.
As the news broke, and as some elements in the mainstream media rendered their judgement, I embarked on my own search for truth. Along the way, I did have an opportunity to meet with the Founder of Gab, Andrew Torba, an entrepreneur who was willing to swim against the tide for what he believes is right, namely empowering netizens to discuss openly about matters of mutual interest with limited risk of censorship.
Although, I did not take the decision lightly to accept this domain registration, I look forward to partnering with a young, and once brash, CEO who is courageously doing something that looks useful. As I reflect on my own journey as a truth-seeking tech entrepreneur, I have no doubt that Andrew will continue to develop not only as tech entrepreneur but also as a responsible steward — one that can balance bravado with diplomacy and who tempers courage with humility.
A Word on Inalienable Rights
De-platforming a haven of free speech is not about left or right. Anyone who remembers studying civics is familiar with the concept of inalienable rights — rights that a worthy government can only protect but would have no moral authority to take away. The idea of Natural Law and Inalienable Rights dates back to Ancient Greece, if not before. Tolerance for competing views — including those protected by Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Press — is not an American concept even though the Founding Fathers of the United States built a prosperous nation around the concept.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. – Thomas Jefferson
These days there are many kinds of online content that some people find objectionable. When it comes to publishing content, online or offline, there is an interplay between free will and personal responsibility. Specific to Gab, the decision to not only tolerate but to welcome competing views, does come with a responsibility to take action when free will is exhibited without personal responsibility. This was famously illustrated in the opinion rendered by Supreme Court in Watt vs. United States (1969) where threats of violence was deemed unlawful.
In the case of Gab.com, there is a duty to monitor and lightly curate, keeping content within the bounds of the law. The duty is perhaps best explained by Uncle Ben of Spiderman fame:
“A Republic, if you can keep it.”
– Ben Franklin (1787)
A Word on Decentralization of Ownership
One of the unique features of Gab is their democratic approach to capitalization. For an online media portal with exponential growth, there are variety of potential acquirers and investors that would have a keen interest in providing growth capital, even for a business model that is presently loss-making as is the case with Gab. Rather than go down Sand Hill Road, they have opted to follow in the footsteps of Blockchain by designing a distributed ownership model. And while Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) lost some of their heady momentum, the premise of shared ownership for shared outcomes remains compelling.
In the domain name world, we often talk about domain ownership. The reality is that we are mostly leasing domains from registries, who in turn is often regulated by a regulator ICANN. Recently I have been a vocal advocate for Forever domain registrations whereby a domain is free of ongoing expense. At the moment, this is possible through Epik though there is still more work to do to make this a risk-free industry norm. The danger of not proactively embracing digital sovereignty, in all its forms, is that the digital world will inevitably find a way to achieve it, with or without domain names.
Let Freedom Ring
To the casual observer, the case of Gab.com seems like it is something new. It is not. It is history repeating itself. While there are consequences to actions, there is also the proverbial risk of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. My hope, for all of our sakes, is that Gab.com treads wisely, using its liberty for the betterment of most, and the enlightenment of all.
‘Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. – George Santayana (1863-1952)
An important milestone on the road to Digital Sovereignty
Seattle, WA and Barcelona — [October 24, 2018] — During the 63rd convocation of global domain industry regulator, ICANN in Barcelona, perpetual domain ownership achieved an important milestone as Seattle-based Epik.com became the first domain name registrar to offer perpetual domain registrations for hundreds of popular domain extensions. Since the advent of private ownership of internet domain names, owners of domains have become accustomed to annual domain name renewal along with regular price increases for ownership of domains. From time to time, over the years, important domain names have unintentionally fallen into the wrong hands or have become temporarily disabled due to expiration or policy enforcement.
Although perpetual registrations are not yet available for every domain extension, a growing number of popular domain extensions can now be secured perpetually for a one-time fee. For example, the iconic .COM can be secured at Epik.com for the one-time, all-inclusive fee of $420 regardless of where a domain is presently registered. Eligible forever registrations at Epik include free privacy protection, theft protection, forwarding services and unlimited subdomains all at no additional cost.Epik.com Founder and CEO, Rob Monster, a digital rights advocate, is a member of the ICANN global registrar stakeholder group that convened in Barcelona this week. In an interview on the opening day of the ICANN conference, Mr. Monster explained the move, “This is an important development for the domain industry. Customers have been asking for perpetual domain registrations for years. Epik is working with industry stakeholders to make forever registrations not only available but also affordable and eventually commonplace for registrants around the world.”
Peace of Mind in the Digital Age. Forever.
Forever domain registrations provide individuals and businesses with peace of mind. Once a Forever registration is secured, the future risk of domain loss due to administrative oversight or lack of funds is eliminated. While domain owners are still subject to legal use, domains can now become an enduring part of a will or estate, with continued managed registration compliance, even after the death of the original registrant. A Forever domain registration, which can be optionally combined with a Forever hosting plan, offers not only peace of mind, but also allows registrants to preserve their digital legacy, and on their terms.
Forever Registrations are for Everyone
Domain names are often described as a form of digital land. Freehold property ownership is not without precedent. Freehold ownership dates back thousands of years where the practice of perpetual land ownership was the standard. Epik is the first ICANN-accredited registrar to offer the perpetual registration. Additional registrars are expected to follow in the coming year. In the short time since Epik began offering Forever domain registrations, more than 1000 Forever registrations have been completed.
Epik customer, the Father Flanagan League has purchased 43 Forever registrations. League President, Steve Wolf explained the value of the Forever registrations, “Our mission and agenda is an enduring one. Epik has been a trusted and unwavering ally in securing our digital presence for the long term. With a portfolio of managed forever registrations from Epik, our digital presence is secured permanently and this is one major aspect of our organizational identity that we do not have to constantly deal with. This Epik service feature is a tremendous value and gives us peace of mind.”
Debra McCann, mother of international music sensation Kiesza, also secured Forever domain registrations for the Kiesza and SteamPop brands. “With Kiesza’s global chart topping hits, brand protection was a priority. We secured Forever registrations from Epik. Whether Kiesza is in the recoding studio or on world tour, we sleep well at night knowing that Kiesza’s most important domains can never fall into the wrong hands. Our domains are right where they belong. Forever.”
Paulo Leocadio, of Pompano Beach, Florida is Founder of SculpIT. Paulo owns 23 Forever registrations at Epik, broadly protecting the SculpIT brand across multiple planned categories of factory. He explains “The name ‘Sculpit’ means different things to different people. I am protecting my brand across multiple new domain extensions including .FITNESS, .LIFE, .DIET. Forever registrations are a key pillar in protecting my brand once and for all.”
Jim Reifsnyder-Smith, of A1B 2BC is the owner of the premium 3 letter domain with an appraised value of more than $1 million that he leases to another Epik customer on Epik.com. Jim bought a Forever registration at Epik and explains “We lease our domain, so perpetual ownership gives our lessee’s extra peace of mind knowing that the domain they have been leasing isn’t going anywhere.”
For further information, or to schedule an interview, contact Rob Monster, CEO of Epik, at email@example.com or at +1(425)-765-0077. Domain owners can complete a no-cost check for eligibility of Forever domain registrations by visiting Epik.com/forever
About Epik Holdings Inc:
Founded in 2009, Epik is s leading full-service, all-inclusive registrar, as well as the leading provider of domain name leasing services and provider of escrow services for intangible assets. Domain industry regulator, ICANN, has accredited the privately held provider of domain registrations since 2011.
About Rob Monster:
Entrepreneur of the Year, TEDx alumnus, author, venture investor, and philanthropist, Rob Monster is a global advocate for sovereignty in the Digital Age – sovereignty of individuals and of the communities where they live and work. Rob, a Dutch-American, is a trusted advisor on digital strategy to both the public and private sector around the world.
Safe Harbor Language: Any statements contained herein related to future events are forward-looking statements and are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act 1995. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Epik Holdings, Inc. undertakes no obligation to update any such statements to reflect actual events
For many people, the year 2018 has been a good financial year. As we are now in the fourth quarter, I wanted to take a few moments to share some pro tips for using your domain holdings to manage your year-end tax liability.
One of the most popular moves for reducing your 2018 tax liability is our Forever domain registration. This is a one-time purchase of a forever domain. This service is uniquely offered through Epik and can be done with most domains. The Forever domain allows you to recognize a 2018 expense to cover the registration costs for as long as you hold the domain at Epik. To check if your domains are eligible for Forever registration, visit here. In addition to Forever domains, Epik also offers Forever web and email hosting plans.
Year-end domain selling
One of the unique features of Epik is that we are not only a registrar but also a domain name marketplace for selling and leasing domains. When you sell domains on Epik, your proceeds are initially deposited tax-free in a Masterbucks account. These proceeds can be held or spent tax-free. If you are redeeming your proceeds, that is generally considered a taxable event and possibly best timed for after the new year. If you are new to selling and leasing domains, read our helpful how-to guide here. For transactions larger than $10,000 use our escrow service.
Fund your account for planned 2019 purchases
You may also fund your Epik account through your preferred payment method before December 31, 2018. Your deposited funds are held in the form of Epik In-store Account Credit which can be used for future domain and hosting related expenses regardless of whether you choose to process the renewals at this time or after the new year. You can fund your account online from your account by logging in and adding funds here.
Domain Gifting and Estate Planning
If you hold domain names that have appreciated in value, you may gift domain names to qualifying institutions such as 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations. To do this, you will want a 3rd party appraisal of the domain names being gifted, particularly if the size of the gift is more than $5,000. If you have a domain portfolio that would logically benefit a qualifying institution, that institution can in turn use or sell those domains. For a professional appraisal, visit our appraisal page here.
For anyone holding cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Epik does offer the option of funding your Epik account using these cryptocurrencies in addition to bank deposit, wire transfer, ACH, and PayPal. If you wish to fund your account via cryptocurrency, please contact us and we’ll assist you with this task. Your cryptocurrency payment can be held in the form of Epik in-store credit for use with future domain and hosting purchases.
Bulk Domain Transfers
I hope these pro tips are helpful for you. Consult your tax advisor or contact us for a free consultation on year-end tax strategies for domain holders. Feel free to share these tips with others. For now, I wish you a blessed year-end holiday season and look forward to another year ahead of industry-leading innovation and legendary support. Thank you for your continued feedback. If you loved Epik in 2018, feel free to let us know here or by liking us on Facebook.