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Epik Escrow and Fee Comparison

Located in Escrow Service Reviews, started by Rob Monster, Jan 19, 2019

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  1. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    It is hard to believe that we are still talking about this case, but indeed $42K is life-changing money for many people. NetSol was once a mighty registrar. Those days are long-gone and I find it hard to believe that there are NamePros members who still use them, other than for promo domains where they probably hope to not get abused on the way out. However, there are some really old domains on NetSol. Some of us remember paying $70 per year for a .COM back when NetSol had the monopoly. Things changed.

    As for this specific case, this is case where any competent escrow agent would have fully insulated the buyer from getting defrauded. There is actually a very major design flaw in how most escrow transactions are conducted in the domain name industry. The typical counterparties are:

    Buyer
    Seller
    Escrow agent
    Broker
    Registrar


    That is a total of up to 5 counterparties, each of why can be declared liable to each other in the course of a transaction. In most cases, there is no purchase and sale agreement, nor a posted Terms of Service governing the relationship with one or more counterparties. It is of course a recipe for chaos in the event that there is a perceived default by one of the counterparties. I have seen cases, including Gab.com, where there was also a Domain Lender with a partially paid off leaae in the mix of a transaction.

    At Epik.com, we designed the "escrow" process around the registrar. There is essentially no counterparty risk assuming the buyer uses a bank transfer or major crypto to complete their purchase. For domains registered at Epik, we can even do these escrow transactions without fee. Why? Because there is no risk. The risk comes in when the domain is at another registrar, or where the buyer is using a credit card or PayPal where there is a chargeback risk. In this case there should also be a fee to underwrite that risk.

    For anyone not aware, Escrow has become a material business for Epik. The buyer and seller are both contracting with Epik. The seller provides the disbursement instructions, which can be multi-party, e.g. broker, lender and registrant. And for the moment, Epik.com is still the only escrow agent -- which is legally defined as a neutral, trusted 3rd party -- to serve as trusted intermediary. Proceeds from sales can also be held at Epik and spent tax-free on like-for-like domain assets.

    More here: https://www.epik.com/services/escrow/
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. MapleDots

    MapleDots Top Contributor VIP

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    I think Epik Escrow should be the new model. Unlike standard Escrow providers who provide escrow for a multitude of transactions, Epik is specialized in domain escrow. If you only do one thing you better do it right, so I have a lot of confidence in Epik Escrow.

    In all the years I have been doing business I have dealt with certified funds, bank transfers, and my own credit card machine. For the first time ever I am confident enough to trust someone for Escrow. The zero risk by having both parties at one registrar and locking the domain should be an industry standard. Ohh yes, Escrow is not a registrar O_o so in my opinion they are not even competition for Epik.

    Congratulations @Rob Monster for finally getting escrow right (y)
     
  3. tonecas

    tonecas Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    ok, Epik has a good system but don't get too exited about it.

    this solution exists for at least 10 years. Moniker for instance used to offer a similar service.

    the problem is most deals involve different registrars: either the seller or the buyer have their own registrar of choice and in many cases they will not accept a deal without moving the domain to their registrar.

    also, Epik's system is not bullet proof. someone steals a domain, sells the domain to someone at Epik and has the domain transfer to him. then he sells it to another buyer keeping all at "Epik's bubble". then the original owner comes to scene reclaiming the domain as stolen...
     
  4. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    First of all, we have never lost a customer domain name. We have some of the tightest account security around, e.g. 2FA SMS, MaxLock, IP-Allow, Google Authenticator, WHOIS privacy, are all free.

    If a domain name were to go missing, we are a member of the ICANN registrar stakeholder group and are in contact with many of the registrar CEOs and that domain would be locked down and returned pronto.

    All that being said, in our case, there is a 60 days transfer lock. The odds of a fraud (e.g. domain theft) being exposed within that time frame is very high.

    For customers that have accounts at Epik, and where we know the buyer and seller, Epik does routinely waive the transfer lock. Some transactions are done in less than an hour, including transfer in and out.

    In some cases, including this past week with a newly registered .IO domain at Dynadot, we did a mid/high 4-figure BTC escrow transaction and the domain stayed at Dynadot.

    So, yes, when it comes to protecting domain assets, it pays to be a domain name industry specialist. And in our case, we can afford to do escrow transactions for free. That is pretty unique.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  5. tonecas

    tonecas Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    never said you lost a costumer domain... nonetheless, not having lost a domain until now does not mean you will not lose it sometime in the future... you simply cannot guarantee that.
    the issue is that neither you or any registrar can protect from a stolen domain been reclaimed by the rightful owner.

    what industry specialist? the base of the system is 1) having a registrar and 2) keep the domain in that registrar... you have a good system but to not sell yourself above what your value is.
    your free transactions is with client money being stuck with you... the moment the client wants to see their money you will apply your commission. nothing against that but, again, don't sell yourself as the big deal.
     
  6. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    You probably missed the memo but we waived redemption fees for NamePros members.
     
  7. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Can you explain why paying more is good? This thread hasn't been addressed yet for some reason. People were going thru the numbers, I haven't seen anybody saying they were wrong, people were looking for clarification. Can you post some numbers up?

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/epik-marketplace-commissions-fees-knowledge-thread.1112364/page-2

    How about you or Rob putting a straight up comparison in fees. Maybe they are cheaper, again, thread still hasn't been addressed.

    0-$5,000
    $5,000 - whatever

    A comparison of fees, to get it all cleared up. Epik vs. Escrow.com at least. Add in other Escrow companies that people use.

    To help - https://www.escrow.com/fee-calculator?newEscrowHeader=b#USD

    This is what I see at Escrow.com:
    $0 - $5,000 - 3.25% ($10 min.)
    $5,000.01-$25,000 - $162.50 + 0.26% of amount over $5000
    $25,000.01 + - 0.89% less than 1%
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  8. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Sure, happy to recap our fees for NamePros members:

    For domains registered at Epik.com

    - No minimum escrow fee
    - If buyer pays via bank transfer or major crypto: No fee
    - If buyer pays via credit card or PayPal: 3 - 5%
    - If buyer pays via Domain Swap: No fee


    For domains registered elsewhere

    - $75 minimum escrow fee for any payment method including domain swap
    - If buyer pays via bank transfer: 1.5%
    - If buyer pays via major crypto: 2.5%
    - If buyer pays via credit card or PayPal: 5%


    There are no redemption fees for Namepros members.

    A NamePros member could sell a domain name for $1 million and use Epik.com as their escrow agent and pay no fee. They have the option to disburse funds or re-invest their proceeds tax-free.

    As should be very apparent, any NamePros member who is not using Epik.com as their primary escrow agent is wasting time and money.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  9. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks.

    So for most people, Escrow.com is going to be cheaper, since most don't have their names with Epik. Those that do can have lower prices.

    To be clear:
    - No minimum escrow fee

    Does that mean $0?

    --------
    @Bob Hawkes I know you're into stats and such. This would be a great article. A straight up comparison of the different Escrow services and fees.

    Different price points - fee

    Somebody has an offer for $500, $2,500, $15,000, $75,000, $200,000 etc. they can go to your article/chart and see who's the cheapest.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  10. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Yes, completely free domain escrow for NamePros members where the domain is at Epik and where the buyer uses bank transfer or major crypto. This is essentially a risk-free transaction for Epik.

    Well, people now have some very good reason to move to Epik, either (1) proactively, (2) at time of a transaction, or (3) using tax-free proceeds from an escrow exit.

    We make money by helping customers consolidate on Epik in the most fee-efficient and tax-efficient way, and when a domain investors sells to a retail customer, we gain a retail customer. It works out.
     
  11. tonecas

    tonecas Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    so, if I have the domain at Epik, sell it for $1M AND the buyer accepts to keep it there, then I can move my $1M out to my bank and you will take $0 commission right?

    and if the client wants to move the domain out of Epik, as it is the case with premium buyers and high ticket sales?
     
  12. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Correct, free. The domain is typically transfer-locked for 60 days but we can waive it and often do.
     
  13. Daehler Ralph

    Daehler Ralph Established Member

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    Sounds great. But what would be happen when somebody transfer a domain from Network Solutions to Epik and wants to sell this domain directly. He should then have to wait till the transfer lock is over I think. Else he could claim back the domain over Network Solutions. Is that right?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  14. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Two scenarios:

    1. Transfer the domain to Epik and escrow for free / cheap per above price schedule.

    In the case of NetSol with their silly 5 day transfer wait, it can usually be expedited upon request but in the interim, the DNS can be updated and the escrow closes once the domain lands at Epik.

    2. Sell it at NetSol per above price schedule.

    We do escrow already now with external registrars. We don't prefer it but can do it. The rates are competitive in this scenario.
     
  15. xynames

    xynames XYNames.com PRO VIP

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    Interesting how a thread about a seller getting ripped off for $42k where the OP disappeared has morphed in his absence into a comparison of escrow.com versus Epik fees

    That last statement <<A NamePros member could sell a domain name for $1 million and use Epik.com as their escrow agent and pay no fee.>> is nonsense. Rob loses a little credibility making that statement - the question is not just what fee the seller pays (in all my transactions, buyer pays all escrow fees), but what the over all fees are.

    When I sell a domain, I send the buyer to wherever the fees will be lowest. I recently closed a holding (paid over time) sale where the down payment was mid five figures. The buyer was obviously VERY concerned with how much the fees would be, because he was willing to pay for the security of having the domain held by a third party during the transfer period. (The lowest holding domain service was escrow.com (UnDeveloped wanted to do the deal for an absurd 5%).)

    Even at a sale for $2000., which is a sweet spot average sales price for many domainers, buyer fees are a factor in the final decision of where/how to pay.

    So, saying that "sellers pay no fees" at Epik, is irrelevant, if the over all fees are higher. Well, are they higher?

    I will consider for domains NOT registered at Epik, because I have none at Epik.

    For a $5000. escrow.com buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $315.
    via wire, buyer pays $162.50

    For a $5000. epik escrow, buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $250.
    via wire, buyer pays $75.

    For a $2000. escrow.com buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $126.
    via wire, buyer pays $65.

    For a $2000. epik escrow, buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $100.
    via wire, buyer pays $75. (their minimum).

    For a $1000. escrow.com buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $63.
    via wire, buyer pays $32.50

    For a $1000. epik escrow, buyer pays all fees, if paid via:
    credit card or PayPal, buyer pays $75. (their minimum)
    via wire, buyer pays $75. (their minimum)

    Others may want to come in here and calculate fees for other dollar amounts. As I suspected, there is no free ride, and no one is giving anything away. Which one has lower fees depends on the dollar amount, and you need to calculate it exactly for the amount of your sale to determine which escrow service will offer the lowest fee for that dollar amount.
     
  16. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    People who doubt that we would do a free escrow transaction don't understand that our core business is domain registrar and hosting.

    When you need a document notarized, you could pay a notary public, or you could go to the place where you bank and they will notarize it for free.

    Of course there are still many people that pay for WHOIS privacy when privacy is a right, not a privilege. The fact that people pay for it does not mean they should. If it can be free, it will be free.

    Folks you've all been had. Escrow is not a business. It's a feature. Plain and simple. If you use Escrow.com you are pissing away money, plain and simple. Deal with it and move on.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2019
  17. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    There was no setup here if that is the question. I saw someone post on this escrow thread today. I don't know this person but I shared my perspective as I sometimes do -- even on weekends and evenings.

    Since coming back full-time into the domain industry last Fall, I am pretty sure that I earned a reputation on NamePros for doing pro bono ombudsman work on the regular.

    In general, I would like to see the industry move to a more sustainable economic model where it does not just benefit a few fat cats with large portfolios and large cash reserves, but also new guys and small-timers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  18. xynames

    xynames XYNames.com PRO VIP

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    Let me get this straight though.

    For NamePros members (where seller is a NP member):
    For domains held (registered) at Epik, there are no fees charged to either buyer or seller for escrows? Not for the escrow not for the incoming via ACH or outgoing via ACH funds?

    Is that what Rob/Epik is saying?

    Please clarify also what is meant by “domains held at Epik.” Does it mean simply that the seller holds the domain at Epik? and then transfers it to buyer at whatever registrar of buyer’s choice? Or is there an additional requirement that the domain is transferred to buyer at Epik (remains at Epik)?
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  19. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Yes, ACH is free in and out for escrow where domain is at Epik, regardless of whether the domain stays at Epik post transaction. There is no long-term requirement to hold the domain at Epik.

    The domain would be held at Epik for up to 60 days. However, that requirement is typically waived immediately if customer pays via bank deposit or crypto (i.e. no chargeback risk).

    For more info, just go here: https://www.epik.com/services/escrow/ or send a PM in order to keep this thread from drifting off topic.
     
  20. xynames

    xynames XYNames.com PRO VIP

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    I think as long as started, we must finish at least this thought, here - so, the buyer must open or have an account at Epik? to receive the domain, in order to qualify for this fee free situation?
     
  21. JB Lions

    JB Lions Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    There was another thread you jumped in, prices were talked about, and you never came back to address it. Maybe if you spent time on the wording, people wouldn't be so confused.

    "The standard escrow fee is 1.5% of transaction amount, with a $75 minimum."

    https://www.namepros.com/threads/ep...s-fees-knowledge-thread.1112364/#post-7016980

    You never went back to that thread to address it, especially the $75 minimum part.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  22. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Correct - buyer and seller would need an Epik account.
     
  23. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP

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    Epik provides a variety of special pricing programs for NamePros members, including domains at cost, and more favorable escrow terms as explained above, including no $75 minimum. Look for a more detailed announcement soon as part of our new NamePros extended sponsorship which just kicked off on Friday.
     
  24. carob

    carob Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Yes that would be really useful if someone has time to do it - and update it as things change.

    Some registrars such as Namesilo and Dynadot seem to act as escrow if you buy a domain from their marketplace, probably you could say that of Godaddy Premium sales which just take the domain right from your account, similar to Fast Transfer.

    One key area I would like to understand is what paper trail and agreement record these services offer. Sedo generates an invoice showing buyer, seller, amount. GD Premium seems to just pay you, so presumably client has actually bought from GD who in turn has bought from you. When I asked Namesilo, they sounded similar - they did not expect to generate a receipt saying registrant sold to buyer.

    Sedo also offer a pure Escrow service, comparable to the one you pay extra for as Domain Concierge at Escrow.com

    And of course what insurance, backup or guarantees apply is key info in every case.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
  25. carob

    carob Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Hi Rob

    tax-free has been mentioned several times, and I'm not sure I know what it means. Could you clarfiy? For example, is this referring to Sales Tax, VAT or similar?

    Presumably it is up to the individual domain owner, as in any other domain transaction, to handle their income tax declarations and liabilities themselves.
     

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