My Personal Epik Product Portal Websites

Dec. 08

Hey Everyone! I really enjoy reading affiliate marketing blogs that discuss first hand tips about making money online. I enjoy those blogs even more that are open about current initiatives the blogger is working on. In that spirit, I’m going to share one of my major affiliate marketing initiatives today and also some of my personal domains that I’ve been developing! Drum roll please… I have been hard at work developing my domain portfolio on the Epik.com platform! Today, I’m going to discuss my personal experience developing 45 domains so far on Epik.

First Things First, What’s Epik?

Epik

Have you heard of Epik? If not, don’t worry. It’s super new. I actually had no idea what the heck Epik was until I went to T.R.A.F.F.I.C. back in January. It’s at this awesome domaining conference that I heard Rob Monster Epik’s CEO speak. In my opinion, Rob delivered one of the most fascinating Internet Marketing presentations I have ever heard. It’s at this time that my interest in Rob’s company, Epik.com, took off.

What is Epik? It’s a revolutionary platform that allows domain owners to develop their domains with more scale, efficiency, and quality than ever before. They offer a variety of platforms to develop different types of domains: product, directory, reference, Q&A, and poll. Epik is probably best known for their product platform that allows anyone with a product-focused domain to quickly build an online store that delivers a substantial user experience.

My Personal Epik Development Plan

After the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. conference, I went home and added Epik to my to do list. However, it totally slipped from my mind and priorities for quite a few months. You know how it is, right? There’s 100 things to do and stuff slips. However, back in August, I got hyped up again. Time was passing fast and my domain portfolio was growing faster than I could keep up. Domains just sitting around don’t make money, after all. They’re liabilities and not assets! Parking doesn’t really work anymore. This all turned into my goal: Develop all (or at least most) of my growing product-focused domain portfolio on the Epik platform.

I Now Own 45 Developed Epik Product Portals

Petite Jacket

So I went for it! I developed 45 Epik product portals! Just a few examples include: Kids Computer Desk, the premier place to buy kids computer desks online, Petite Jacket, a store specializing in fashionable women’s petite jackets, and Narrow Dishwasher, your resource for finding space saving narrow dishwashers for your kitchen. Each of my sites has custom header text on each tab and sports custom articles. For example, check out my articles about Petite Jacket Sizing and Petite Jackets and Coats.

I couldn’t be more proud of these sites. They addsubstantial value to the user, they look great, and they’re making me money already! Better yet, I was able to develop them faster than ever before due to the power of the platform.

How Does Epik Work?

So, how does this all work? It’s quite simple. Each product portal costs $249 and carries with it a 50/50 revenue share arrangement (although the split shifts more in your favor as you hit higher revenue tiers). For $249 (discounts are available if you commit to volume development like myself), you get a custom logo, custom header, and your initial site fully built. Moreover, you get expert support from the amazing Epik team. I have been in very close contact with Rob Monster himself and have gotten a huge amount of help. In my opinion, this price is a steal! You can easily pay $249 for just a custom logo on other sites.

Once your initial product portal is live, it’s time to add articles, custom headers for the different tabs, and custom meta descriptions. Don’t worry! All of this is really easy with Epik’s cutting edge platform. Everything is fully hosted on Epik’s servers so you don’t have to do any work around server configuration or uploading of files. Moreover, this gives Epik the flexibility to make upgrades to your sites such as their current holiday deals. In my particular case, I have been outsourcing all articles and header text so all I have to do is play middleman. Please note that Epik is a total solution. They also offer a variety of packages to help you get content on your site if you’d like the help!

Epik.com Rocks and I Couldn’t Be More Excited

My conclusion: Epik rocks! I plan on developing another 55 sites within the coming year to round out my portfolio at 100 Epik sites. I have been able to get sites live that make money right away, sites that look better than others which took twice as long to build, sites that offer scale I have never before seen.

As the Internet evolves, it’s all about verticalization. As someone who’s worked extensively in the product shopping vertical at shopping giant NexTag, it’s my opinion that Epik is the future of online product shopping. Stay tuned, I’m going to write more posts about Epik.com in the future, including specific guides on how to use their system. I couldn’t be more excited, I already received my first check from Epik and can’t wait to see them increase in size as each month passes! Of course, I do have a lot of hard work ahead in terms of adding content and building quality inbound links.

Screenshot of Epik Website © Epik.com
Screenshot of PetiteJacket.net © PetiteJacket.net

19 Comments

  1. Dino Vedo says:

    Wow this is really interesting Ian. How long does it take for you to make one of these sites on Epik? Also this is mainly for product related CPS products? I really like the templates you have on the site, no add to cart nonesense but straight to the affiliate link..

  2. Ian says:

    Hey Dino,
    Thanks so much for the comment! As a busy professional, it’s leverage that really gets me excited about Epik. It honestly took be no time to get these live other than domain registration and paying Epik the setup fee. Epik does the whole thing: They build the logo, header graphics, and populate default header text, tabs, and all the products. In short, when Epik is done, you’re left with a fully functional, beautiful website! All this stuff gets you really far.

    In terms of adding custom header text, meta descriptions, and articles, it takes me probably about one hour per site to get all that stuff uploaded (after getting it produced for me via ELance writers). However, that’s because I’m a perfectionist and like to do this stuff myself. Epik also offers a free optimization service – just send them your articles and they will upload them for you! It’s really up to the individual site owner and whether they’re more hands on (like myself) or more hands off.

    In terms of Epik’s platform, they’re able to work with all different types of domains. They are probably most well known for their product portal and that’s the framework I’m working with right now. However, if you have other types of domains such as lead generation, directory, poll, and more, Epik’s got you covered – just reach out and ask them!

    Thanks again, Dino!
    All the best,
    Ian

  3. Dino Vedo says:

    Oh I see now, they pretty much offer a service for those that have hundred, maybe thousands of domains and just dont have time to create a site for them all, so you go to them and they do it for you..

    Thats really clever, I own around 200 domains, most still developing slowly, so I might actually need their services as I don’t ever seem to catch up and the domain count I own keeps rising!

  4. Ian says:

    Dino,
    200 domains – That’s a sweet portfolio! :-) I’m in the same shoes as you, rapidly growing domain portfolio and registering more domains than I can develop. It’s refreshing to get some serious leverage via Epik so I can get my domains developed and profitable! Thanks again for the comments!
    All the best,
    Ian
    PS – I sent you my answers to your interview questions yesterday. Did you get them? I’ll send you my interview questions soon!

  5. Dino Vedo says:

    Yep got them! Will be posting them up soon!

  6. Paul J. Kapschock says:

    I am selling “Epik Bucks”….they are used for buying sites and other services from Epik.

    I am selling at 20% discount…so you already are ahead 20% !! If anyone was planning on using their service. this will be a great start!

    If interested, please email: has2hands @ cs.com

    Mod: I was reading your blog and thought I would offer…sorry if I crossed any lines.

    Paul

  7. Bobby says:

    Ian, do you actually receive a share of any sales as an affiliate of the Gap or other name brand retailers from shoppers comparing prices and “clicking” the Buy Now button to the Gap and bought something, or was your check for just PPC on your Epik sites?

  8. You Know Me says:

    And yet, you don’t actually own the sites…..hmmmmm. And….you can never take them with you if there is a dispute with Epik…….hmmmm. You do all the hard work of adding articles, and other content, but you split with Epik 50/50 and at $249 a site……hmmmm..

    I just don’t know what to think about Epik. The most valuable thing I have learned about business on the Net, and I have been buying domains since 1995, is to sit back and watch it play out. If you and others do good for a few years than maybe, just maybe, I’ll give Epik a try.

    Best of luck. I hope you do great with them. :)

    .

  9. Ian says:

    Paul,
    Thanks so much for the comment! Epik Bucks are awesome and they have provided so much liquidity for the domain industry. I actually may be personally interested in your Epik Bucks, but am waiting until January to develop my next round of sites since I have a backlog of sites right now that need content before I move onto my next phase. I’ll definitely keep you in mind if you still have the Epik Bucks then. Thanks so much!
    All the best,
    Ian

  10. Ian says:

    Hi Bobby,
    That’s a super question. Epik actually has many methods of monetizing and they often change over time as they perform A/B tests. As an Epik publisher, I receive regular reports that show the exact breakdown of my revenue by source. Currently, Epik has adopted on their product portals a “comparison shopping” model in that the sites gets paid for clicks on products (that redirect to the merchant site). You can look at this as a similar model to BizRate, Shopzilla, NexTag, PriceGrabber, etc. It’s my firm belief that Epik provides huge value above and beyond these shopping engines because you’re now dealing with a custom website per product with custom information, articles, and content! It’s all about verticalization! Epik is a very flexible platform and they are also now supporting full eCommerce sites that have real products/inventory that ship from their drop shipping facility (although the setup fee for this type of site is more involved). This is something I will be blogging about in the future and personally testing in 2011! It’s a great option for people who like PPC because when you’re actually shipping your own products, margins are higher and can support paid traffic. Bobby, thanks so much for the question and for visiting my blog!
    All the best,
    Ian

  11. Ian says:

    You Know Me,
    Thanks for the comment, I very much appreciate it! You bring up some excellent points, ones that have probably crossed anyone’s mind seriously considering Epik (including my own). I personally concluded a few things. First, it’s all about diversification. I would not recommend doing 100 percent of your web development on Epik, or any platform for that matter. I’m also developing a multitude of custom sites (on my own and through partners such as Linton Investments which I will be blogging about soon), and have been doing so for many years. These sites are hosted on my own servers and are monetized via AdSense, CJ, eBay Partner Network, etc. so I retain 100 percent of the earnings. Time will tell which group of sites works better – Epik or the other group – but I must say Epik is off to an impressive start. In short, it’s this diversification and the unique technology that Epik brings to the table that allows me to get more (and better) development done faster. The Epik sites are my best looking product sites!

    The second thing I realized is it’s all about people. Epik has an amazing team of proven businesspeople. I have built personal relationships with Rob Monster, Luke, and many folks over at Epik. This is a team I trust and I feel confident investing in. These guys have invested their personal money and are consistently working 24/7 – they always seem to be working. I’ve learned that a good partnership where both parties have money at stake can really accomplish good things. For that reason, I actually like the 50/50 rev share.

    Last, let’s look at the worst case, which will not ever happen in my opinion. Let’s say Epik goes under. In that case, I have all the articles backed up on my own computer and also all the logos. I take the logos and articles and create a new site on my own server (Epik developers always retain 100 percent ownership of their domain names). In this case, I have all the money I made and a free logo (articles I’m paying for via my own writers). I do want to make it clear however that Epik is a big, stable company and this is a worst case hypothetical. They are doing extremely well and I see them continuing to thrive. This is precisely why I am becoming such an aggressive Epik developer. Network earnings on Epik continue to hit new highs so they have more than enough cash flow to continue to expand. Also worth pointing out, I think that Epik’s business model of hosting the sites is great. This gives them the ability to make updates to the sites, such as the current holiday deals. They are true partners and are adding ongoing value to my sites.

    As a closing point, I do want to call out that Epik is so confident about their product that they will allow you to do a one year trial. If you’re not happy with the results after one year, they will refund your $249. If you’re on the fence, why not develop just one site on Epik and see how it goes?

    Thanks again for the comment, these are all real questions that may be going through people’s heads so I appreciate you bringing them up! I will definitely be giving updates on my progress with Epik, so stay tuned!
    All the best,
    Ian

  12. Ian, this is awesome! I had no idea that such a solution existed. While I think the initial price is a bit steep (considering I like to develop my own logos anyway – usually takes me 5-10 minutes in Photoshop), it seems like this is an excellent way to diversify your online portfolio and scale your website creation process quite a bit.

    Quick question for you – how long do you think it takes to reach the break-even point for your average site? Granted, I realize this depends 100% on the product you’re selling, the competition, keyword traffic, etc. In your mind though, what are your expectations when you create a site with Epik? Do you expect to make back the initial setup fee in 6 months? 1 year? How do these expectations compare to what you’ve actually experienced so far?

    I realize these are loaded questions, so there’s no rush to reply. Looking forward to similar posts in the future!

    – Eric

  13. Ian says:

    Eric,
    Thanks so much for the positive feedback and the questions! You bring up some really great stuff! I really analyze my Epik sites (and any website for that matter) in comparison to the stock market. In high yielding stocks, I can yield about 6 percent in the short run, and more in the long run (since I tend to invest in companies that consistently raise their dividend year after year). Given that the Internet is much more dynamic, and that setting up sites takes more of my time than picking stocks (although Epik is amazingly efficient), I look for a higher yield with my websites (both in the short run and long run).

    Typically, I shoot for anywhere between 20 percent and 50 percent cash on cash return in year one. In some cases, I do even better and in others much worse, it really depends on the particular domain/website and that’s why I diversify! I have only been on Epik for about 3 months or so and will definitely post more updates as time goes on. I have high hopes! I will say that my top earning websites are the ones I launched in 2007. So, there’s definitely that time element at play as well here, the sites will only make more and more money as time goes on. Thanks again!

    All the best,
    Ian

  14. d3so says:

    Very interesting concept. It’s good to see that you’re already making money. Is there any monthly cost?
    What’s the advantage of using Epik rather than creating your own product portal?

  15. Ian says:

    D3so,
    Thanks so much for the comment! I appreciate it. No, absolutely no monthly cost at all other than the cost of continuing to renew my domains. :-) The three key benefits to me are scale (Epik allows me to develop fast), quality (Epik sites look amazing), and the partnership aspect (by developing on Epik’s platform I take advantage of cool stuff they are doing such as their holiday deal finder). I will be writing another article about Epik very soon.
    All the best,
    Ian

  16. Ammo says:

    Ian,

    Great article.
    I’m new to the domaining game, built up to about 25 domains now. I to am looking at ways of maximising my portfolio and have started to look at Epik. Firstly, I have to agree with you at the level of service you get there, I deal with Ryan and on the odd occasions Rob and they have been second to none. I have had my first site developed with them, bestnovels.net, and am in the process of my second one, inositol.net, about to go live any day now. But, I’m a businessman, albeit a technical one, and I would greatly appreciate if you could help me with how to improve the SEO on the sites, what type of articles I need to have written and ensure I have the correct metatags in place. Please feel free to contact me privately.

    Many thanks,

    Ammo.

  17. Ian says:

    Ammo,
    Thanks so much for the great comment and questions. Your site, bestnovels.net, looks great. In terms of SEO tips, I highly recommend reading my new post about Epik Development Tips. Moreover, I plan on doing more Epik posts in the future. :-)
    All the best,
    ian

  18. Clay Burt says:

    Nice summary. I only have one site on Epik, but it was doing well until the smackdown – my fault for not adding content, but I will soon and have it resubmitted. Rob and Luke are incredible – don’t see where they have time to respond to people with just one site, but they really do. Good luck with your domains!

  19. Ian says:

    Clay,
    Thanks so much for the comment, I truly appreciate it! I checked out your blog and am looking forward to reading more. Here’s to an Epik 2011!
    All the best,
    Ian

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