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Why and how Epik allows CoronaVirus domains to be listed

Located in Domain Marketplace Reviews, started by Rob Monster, Mar 26, 2020

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  1. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Epik has a history of standing for responsible free speech that is within the bounds of the law. As such, when it comes to the topic of Corona Virus domain names, I doubt there will be a large change on that position.

    This is not a light matter, and we certainly will remain vigilant to acceptable use. However, to pre-judge that every Corona-related domain is to be used for evil is akin to Dystopian Minority Report pre-crime.

    May rational heads prevail and may orderly free speech be used to accelerate progress and to encourage those who are suffering in one way or another.

    For additional context, I posted a short video on Twitter:

    https://twitter.com/robmonster/status/1243196903581499397
     
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
  2. ecomslice

    ecomslice Top Contributor VIP

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    Equality will always be fair.
    All sides will be spoken, with all having the choice to hear or not.

    Something we are blind of sadly. Being equal.
     
  3. NickB

    NickB Aka MrAcidic VIP Gold Account

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    There we go - everyone who is trying to profiteer from this pandemic can hide behind "free speech" & "free enterprise" your morally safe to continue as you see fit......

    Appealing to rational heads means you are appealing to the minority, most people do not know the meaning of that phrase
     
  4. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    There is a difference between owning a domain and using it responsibly.

    To own a domain and invite inquiries is an acceptable form of use.

    Yes, there will be some additional work related to processing abuse complaints.

    As usual, we'll apply due process in an orderly way.

    If someone has codified acceptable use for this class of domains, I would love to see it. However, to blanket ban all of them from getting into anyone's hands in the wake of GDPR WHOIS obfuscation is not right.
     
  5. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Allow me to illustrate something.

    This is my city's website about CoronaVirus:

    https://www.sammamish.us/government...-management/covid-19-coronavirus-information/

    There is no way anyone is going to remember that. So, instead they will go to a site that they can remember which is probably not run by anyone with local perspective.

    If my city management was on top of the matter, they would set up a mobile-friendly resource site for critical local info:

    - Local updates
    - Incident reports and current statistics
    - Quarantine practices
    - Emergency procedures
    - Local food delivery
    - Donations and Foodbanks
    - Testing locations
    - Advice and counseling
    - Benefit programs for business continuity
    - Unemployment programs
    - Crime mitigation and neighborhood watch
    - Postal delivery
    - Sanitation and Hygiene

    Etc.

    As a guy who spent 3 years working with city managers, I can tell you that cities are slow to deploy technology solutions. Nevertheless, I expect many cities will take action and it will be ONLINE.

    And for all the folks who choose to judge, I suggest you call your city first and see if they need help with their digital strategy, and then you can come on here and tell me why I am wrong.

    Good luck to all.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  6. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    That is a subjective line. Who decides where that line is?

    That is your opinion. Others might feel differently.

    Also, there is a difference between "acceptable use" and doing sleazy things.
    Just because something is allowed doesn't mean doing it is always a good idea.

    I see both sides of this. A private market place is also allowed to block anything they want.
    I had Corona De Tucson blocked on SEDO, but it has nothing to do with either the virus or the beer and was later fixed.

    Brad
     
  7. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I have always believed the internet should stay neutral, and everyone who is intelligent enough to use the internet, should be intelligent enough to form their own conclusions, and fund their own purchases. If marketplaces can judge before a domain is used, that what are we all doing here.. it is a tough one given the circumstance, but I feel Epik is very net neutral, and I have been online since the start, and am starting to see how people are starting to take interest, and try to influence, and govern it, which takes away from the internet in itself.

    There are many millions of offensive things online, and nobody here wants corona virus names to be used in bad context, or in the wrong hands, but we all have to use common sense. I get apple store receipts all the time from gtld extensions, trying to get me to click etc... Hopefully this will pass soon, but the keyword corona has orgins dating wayback.

    Borrowed from Latin corōna (“garland, crown”), from Ancient Greek κορώνη (korṓnē, “garland, wreath”), from ... corona (plural coronas or coronae or coronæ).
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  8. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    In the absence of a legal statement, we'll be governed by our terms of service.

    Your own example illustrates the problem with case of "Corona de Tucson".

    It takes more work to use a lighter hand, but so be it.

    To ban all Corona domains is a cop-out.
     
  9. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    Exactly.

    If the precedent is set that registrars and marketplaces start extrajudicially banning all domains that map to specific keywords, we slide down a slippery slope.

    Today, the US BLS published a print of 3.3 million new unemployment claims. Many state servers were overloaded so the actual number would have been higher.

    So, do we next ban domains about unemployment because well-intentioned people might be mixed in with people who are running unemployment claim scams?

    Yes, there will be scammers but that does not justify treating everyone a scammers. The scammers are almost always the tiny minority. So, we should isolate those folks that scam, but not condemn everyone.
     
  10. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I agree, but at the same time it sure does save a lot of resources vs. manually going through a list of maybe tens of thousands of domains.

    Outside any moral stance, 99%+ of these are just terrible investments anyway.
    There are only a handful of valuable terms now, which are likely to fade over time.

    Also, people peddling these need to realize many other people will have a problem with this behavior and it will reflect poorly on them.

    Brad
     
  11. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    My assumption is that the fallout of Corona will be with us for the next 12-24 months in some capacity or another, which is why I don't pre-suppose to know how various organizations might use domains to empower or inform stakeholders. All I know is that a lot of people are going to need a lot of help.
     
  12. bmugford

    bmugford www.DataCube.com PRO VIP ICA Member ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Yes, this is a serious issue and not going away any time soon.

    But let's not pretend the vast majority of people registering these are trying to do humanitarian work or something. They are basically just trying to profit off a tragedy.

    Brad
     
  13. Kingslayer

    Kingslayer Top Contributor VIP

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    Something doesn’t sit right with me with this whole thread, everything from the title “Epik allows Coronavirus domains to be listed” and even all the follow up comments.

    I think we need to call this thread what it is. Epik know other platforms are banning Coronavirus domain names so they are making very clear (publicly) ‘come sell your Coronavirus domains with us’ – Therefore encouraging these domains to be still in circulation when other platforms and many in the domaining industry (and other industries) are trying to stop people profiting from a global disaster.

    Same time though, Epik are also profiting from this pandemic, as you will be taking percentage of any Coronavirus domain sales sold on your platform so I don’t buy it all this ‘free speech’ stuff as a reason for doing this, let's have it right the only reason for Epik doing this is for money.

    If Epik said ‘we will allow Coronavirus domain sales on our platform, but we will donate our cut to charity (ie. ventilators/finding a cure for Coronavirus), that is a totally different story, but you are not!

    Epik are attempting to profit from a hole in the market and profit from a global pandemic in the same way people are who trying to sell these domains, which makes you just as bad (possibly worse) than people holding these domains as you are knowingly hosting a platform for people to sell these controversial domains, for (as said) profit yourself.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  14. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    That was not really the motive.

    This was more about holding the line on a slippery slope of systematic censorship under the banner of political correctness.

    If you think that is about profiteering, you likely would advise to never "Shoot the moon", a topic that I addressed yesterday specifically:

    https://twitter.com/robmonster/status/1242939103630561281

    ICYMI, pretty much all of our cash flow goes towards empowerment projects. I rarely pay myself.
     
  15. wwwweb

    wwwweb Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    I think you have taken in out of context. Epik is not encouraging people to register them, but if people have them listed, they are not taking it upon themselves to say they are all for bad purposes.

    Let's face it, these names are really hard to sell, I have seen so many domainers over the years chase these type of trends, they just end up dropping them year after year. After a while, you learn your lesson, and just stop, and shake your head when you see newbies running to register, and sell them. Most of the people selling them are not true domainers, they are just trying to do a one, and done type deal.
     
  16. Kingslayer

    Kingslayer Top Contributor VIP

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    Well I’m not the judge of all this, I can only give my opinion.

    And my opinion is during times like this you always see the good and bad of humanity, for every article you read on the likes of Mike Ashley and Timothy Martin trying to profit from this, I see news of like 400,000 volunteers signing up to help out the NHS.

    Stuff like that gives me hope for humanity and the world in these grim times.

    I’m sorry but I don’t see this thread as a positive for world. I’m not sure if there is a god, but if there is and you stand in front of him one day and he asks “what did you do during this pandemic and the worst crisis in your time on earth?” are people going to proudly stand there and say “I tried to profit from it” or are you going to say “I tried to help”?

    I’m not going to make I’ve done a lot myself, as I have not volunteered or contributed positively in any way myself, the only thing I’ve done is follow the governments guidelines in isolating myself trying to contain the spread, but one thing I can proudly say I'm not going to do and that is profit from this crisis.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  17. Internet.Domains

    Internet.Domains Top Contributor VIP

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    My local hospital profits on tragedy......but, are we really going to cry about someone trying to profit on a domain?

    If you condemn someone for trying to profit on a "corona" name you are doing no different when you sell any other name. Its hypocrisy to blame a domain investor for "profiting on tragedy" when an oncologist surgeon profits on unsuccessful surgeries.

    How many companies can you say profits on tragedy? The Dow Jones is full of them. Over the last few days the top performers were companies that are speculatively going to profit on the virus.

    When this is all over there will be plenty of companies, large and small, that you could accuse of "profiting on tragedy". Many of those companies are in your stocks, IRA portfolio, mutual funds, etc. Be careful when you throw stones.
     
  18. myfavorite

    myfavorite Top Contributor VIP

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    Personally, I don't see any issue with registering or buying a corona/covid related domain unless it's meant for ulterior motive like selling false information.

    I have some and will be willing to give it to a responsible nonprofit organization that needs it to better help people without making profit from it themselves.

    But if it's an organization that is working on a medication that it will patent etc and sale the drugs to people for a profit, then I can only sale it to them.

    People that sale casket etc are producing more of it and selling it. They cannot be attacked for "making gains" from the pandemic.

    That's my opinion your entitled to yours.
     
  19. Picorio

    Picorio Established Member

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    @myfavorite amen (y)
     
  20. jideofor

    jideofor Top Contributor VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Rob, I am totally against this. If everyone dies, who are going to register those names? I think this is were we should draw the line, especially, as was reported by DAN, where people are requesting for outrageous figure on such domain name.
     
  21. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    I don't think gouging is wise for these domains. I am not going to set programmatic price caps, but absolutely think many of these domains should be sold, lease or given away to organization that can use them. However, the idea that this inventory becomes undiscoverable is nonsense.
     
  22. TCK

    TCK NameOptions.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Unfortunately, few bad apples (assuming its few) can hurt others. In another thread, the topic was whether registering COVID-19 related domains for profit is immoral. Immoral is not on the same level as evil.

    If your motive is to help others with directing them to accurate information, you don't need an explicit Coronavirus domain name. You can even use social media pages.

    At this point, any domains of real value on the subject have already been registered. So any new domains registered would be confusing.

    If you register a COVID-19 domain to make profit, it is immoral. Not necessarily evil. But each one has their own conscience. This is only my opinion.
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2020
  23. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    And who are we to judge?

    I have no idea how folks might use domains to self-organize around deploying solutions. If they break the law, those consequences will be meted out, but to a priori judge intention crosses a line.

    That said, it is true, there are not new names to register. All that remains is to get them into the hands of the people who feel compelled to use them. That's what marketplaces and landers do.
     
  24. Rob Monster

    Rob Monster CEO, Epik Epik.com Staff PRO VIP Gold Account

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    This site seems useful -- @Samer told me about it.

    https://www.covidvisualizer.com/

    It would be helpful to know who has it locally -- partly to know how it is spreading but perhaps also for communities to self-organize around bringing supplies to quarantined households.

    Who knows? There are a lot of clever folks in the world who are now unemployed, underemployed, or simply under-utilized. Let the innovation happen.
     
  25. Bernard Wright

    Bernard Wright Established Member

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    I like interesting discussions! Thank you Rob, as always.

    I posted this in another thread, but I'll post here, and add a bit more.

    If someone were to want to create a website to provide a service that would help inform the public about the virus, or similar ...like help source PPEs for hospitals... how are the site developers supposed to acquire the name if the seller has no means to sell it?

    Are those who would not side with Rob's "free speech" not just assuming a zero sum game where the domainer is exploiting a crisis and all other parties (including those who would visit the site once it were developed) stand only to lose from the transaction?

    Are the doctors working for free? Nope. Are the n95 masks being manufactured for free? Nope.

    My hypothetical website is not free to run, and the developers' time is valuable. Are they not going to get paid? Is the site not going to run ads? Of course money will exchange hands. The site adds economic value, even if only as an externality.

    So, why should the domain investor not be afforded the freedom to operate?
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2020 at 3:11 AM

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