I wanted to take the time to post a response to all the recent news about Epik. Joseph Peterson and I have had our differences but over the last few years I’ve grown to respect Joseph and his work at Epik. As I stated before, Epik has never been the focus of my ire. It was always Rob Monster. I felt he was destroying the image of Epik with his actions and words. Investors and employees were suffering because of it. I was also upset with the domain community for not addressing it. Not one person responded to my post on Monster several months ago and barely any to Monday’s. But today people came out from behind their veils and started the conversation. Better late than never. Before you get to the list I wanted to republish Joseph’s comment because he deserves to be heard. You are welcome to comment but please be civil. The comment is for discussion only not name calling.
1/3 or 1/4 of Epik employees are muslims. That includes Epik’s oldest / earliest employee and 2 of the 3 newest hires. (Depends on how I count part-time staff. I’m leaving out overseas programmers.) These are not token hires. They have very important roles at the company.
In saying this, I realize that some obnoxious person might find these individuals and begin harassing them. Please don’t. Above all, if you’re horrified at this massacre of innocent muslims (as I am), or annoyed by Rob’s treatment of the incident (as I am), then persecuting other innocent muslims would be a strange way to show it. Not the moral high ground.
One of the commenters here refers to “the Vermin” – which I assume means Epik. “Vermin” can only apply to people, after all – certainly not to Epik’s products / services. And it is plural. I assume that means Epik employees are “vermin”? Or perhaps our customers?
Indeed, I see that several people here expect “any respectable domain investor [to] remove their domains from Epik”. I myself am a domain investor. So are many of the customers I help daily. If we don’t do as some of you demand, then we are not “respectable”. Meaning you will not treat us with respect. Because we are “Vermin”?
Maybe it is unhelpful to regard one’s peers as “Vermin”. Maybe we shouldn’t rush to judgment – like lemmings jumping off the proverbial cliff.
Sometimes morality is black-and-white. Murdering 30+ innocent people is a vile act. Publishing a video after other websites act in concert to censor it? That is not so clearcut. People will have strong opinions about it, understandably. I might disagree with it.
But it’s not the same as murder.
When horrific content is published, the motivation for publishing it is very important. Censoring footage of murder – though an easy choice to make – is not necessarily a good thing.
For example, what if racist cops shoot a black teenager in the back as he is running away? Should that murder footage be suppressed? Another example: There is reportedly an audio recording of journalist Jamal Khashoggi being tortured and killed inside the Saudi embassy in Turkey. Trump officials have stated that they feel no need to listen. They deny it happened. What if the tape could be published and expose the murderers’ guilt?
This does not mean that I approve of Rob’s decision to publish the video of the New Zealand massacre. I haven’t seen his tweets. But to infer that he did this because he hates muslims and condones murder is not just simplistic; it is LUDICROUS. One person murders 30+ muslims. The other person hires them and works with them closely on a daily basis. To equate these 2 is simply wrong. Whatever the reasons Rob felt it necessary to re-publish a link to content others had decided to censor, hatred of muslims was NOT the reason.
For clarity, I’m Epik’s Director of Operations. And I also have a close connection to the muslim world. I was born in Egypt, studied Arabic, and have lived 3 times in the Middle East during my life.
Part of my childhood was spent in Jerusalem, مدينة القدس . My grandfather, as it happens, was an army photographer whose task was to photograph the survivors (and non-survivors) of the concentration camp at Mauthausen. Through my Grandpa, I’ve lived with the knowledge of that genocide all my life. Any massacre is terrible. But when it’s a synagogue or a mosque, it’s more personal for me.
Why the personal details? Because I object to Epik – the team I work with and the customers we look after – being portrayed falsely as some epicenter of “hate speech” or the alt right. We are not. We are a domain registrar and marketplace with a wide range of services. We are a company whose boss has taken controversial (and in some ways courageous) steps to protect free speech. Unfortunately, that same boss has stepped on that message with some very bad PR moves. When Rob does that, it irritates me to the point of exasperation. And I tell him so.
Nevertheless, the core argument in defense of free speech is a legitimate position for someone to hold. You may disagree with that position, but you should not confuse an anti-censorship stance with the worst things that can be censored. Yes, an anti-censorship stance permits something to be shown or said, but that doesn’t imply an endorsement. And when others are censoring content, then someone who is an anti-censorship activist will go out of their way to publish or exhibit something they may not agree with. That is not a new idea. “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” dates back to a biography of Voltaire.
Rob’s political and social views have little in common with mine. He is a believing christian who inclines right on politics. I’m a progressive socialist atheist with a “feminist as F*ck” sticker on my laptop. I was so disgusted seeing Trump elected in the USA that I vowed to leave the country permanently. And did. Currently I live on the other side of Trump’s nonexistent wall. And the only English I speak is online. My fiancee is Peruana. You can infer from that that I also object to racism against latinos. (I mention this because someone mentioned the non-mention of “hispanics” as a reason to leave Epik.)
Rob and I may disagree, as people in any diverse group will do.
But we do agree on 2 crucial things: Tolerance and Free Speech. There is no such thing as “free speech tempered with morality”. Either speech is unconstrained or else it isn’t free. Not everyone believes in free speech. Indeed, absolute free speech is not the standard in the UK or the EU. But those of us who do espouse this principle inevitably find ourselves in a role that is misconstrued: Defending someone else’s right to say something stupid, wrong, perverse, or even evil. Or to see video footage of evil. That doesn’t mean that we agree with it.
I have never witnessed any bigotry from Rob, though his opinions have made my eyes roll on occasion. Rob himself has lived in other countries and cultures during many years. At Epik, he has assembled a truly international team. Rob and I clash often – about strategic decisions related to Epik products, about mixing politics with business, and about specific political views. And because Rob actually is tolerant and believes in free speech, he does what few bosses would do … listens and lets me criticize him.
Is Epik a hotbed of the alt right? No, of course not. We are a domain registrar. Our staff and customers hold viewpoints in every color of the rainbow. Arguably Gab is a hotbed of the alt right. But it’s just 1 domain at a registrar.
Some of Rob’s political views do bother me. But America’s political views overall bother me. They elected a president whom I abhor beyond words; and this reflects badly on the country. Am I going to condemn half the people in America? No. Yet they did something far more harmful than publish a video, which has put children in cages at the border, which has cost lives in Yemen, which has emboldened white supremacist terrorists all around the world – including this villain in New Zealand.
If I air my political views, as I have just done, then roughly 35% of the voting public of the USA will declare me their enemy. To the extent that they identify me with Epik, then perhaps they will demand that their acquaintances boycott Epik. This cuts both ways, folks.
Society is divided along tribal lines. And the rush to judgment in social media causes the tribe members to align instantly and unthinkingly like iron filings in a magnetic field. There is a tendency toward censorship and de-platforming that even some of us progressives are opposed to. Bill Maher, for example, criticizes this constantly.
I believe emphatically that de-platforming efforts – trendy and crowd-pleasing though the are – are a danger. Rob and I share this view. I wasn’t involved in the decision for Gab.com to come to Epik, which was made while I was on vacation. But I support any domain’s right to be registered and anyone’s right to publish legal content, even if I might hate the views expressed.
At other times, censorship has focused on progressives. Books have been burned and banned. In the 20th century, Bertrand Russell was forced out of a professorship in the USA – teaching mathematical logic – because of his views on sex and marriage. The principle that would have defended his right to teach also defends people on the other end of the spectrum.
It is alarming to see angry mobs mobilized like this: “Thou shalt boycott company X because the personal views of someone there don’t match those of your tribe.” Very well, consumers can choose to business with whomever they please. But should we pronounce them unworthy of respect if they don’t boycott company X because we happen to disagree with some tweet by someone who works at company X? Come on, guys! Stop painting with a broad brush.
Slow down. Rob is not a monster. The worst thing that I could ever say about him is that he has a weird conspiratorial streak. In particular, he interprets every massacre as a “false flag” – from 9/11 to the synagogue shooting to this New Zealand attack. Yes, even the moon landing. Rob told me he believes that flag is false too.
Does this “conspiracy theory” reflex make him a bigot who condones violence? No, not at all. It might make him somebody’s “crazy uncle” who thinks far too much about the JFK assassination and the Apollo mission. And that can lead to severe misunderstandings when Rob is simultaneously standing up to censorship on social media networks by publishing the controversial banned content himself. In the heat of the moment, people are going to misinterpret that.
Don’t. Take a step back. Think.
Try to tolerate and understand people who are different from yourselves. That includes people on the right and even the alt right. It includes people who voted for the opposite party. It includes people who believe the media or the government is perpetrating hoaxes. It includes Rob Monster. You can shake your heads at someone’s personal views without calling them “Vermin” or demanding that everyone shun them.
Epik is a good company. It consists of a diverse team. And we help customers of all kinds. The free-speech stance is ABOUT diversity. Everybody has their own views. That includes Rob. But nobody’s views define what a whole domain registrar is about. Epik is neutral, and we defend any domain’s right to exist and engage in legal activity. That’s an important principle. If no registrars support that principle, than free speech in the internet age would cease. Online communication is essential. It’s what we’re engaged in here or on Twitter or on FaceBook or via email. And all of that depends on domains – hence on registrars. Domainers, above all, need to understand the importance of domains in this respect.
Here are today’s names. Make sure to click on the names to see the current price and to help DSAD keep on keeping on.
Quote of the Day: “Speak the names of those who were lost, rather than name of the man who took them” –Jacinda Arden, PM of New Zealand
Domain of the Day: 399999.com Crazy price for a crazy number
Namejet, Sedo, and other Names Up for Auction
Problems.org I have 99 of these but the dot org ain’t one
VideoDownload.net 19 years old . 500,000 monthly type ins. Billions of videos downloaded a year
Deductibles.com Great tax name that’s met reserve. Everyone wants to know what to write off
MB.org Will sell since its met reserve. LL.orgs don’t come up for auction very often
PlumHill.com A lot of places and entities share the name
DoNotBend.com Love this one. Everyone knows the term………except the mailman
StreetMaps.com Has a good chance to meet reserve. Going to be hard to beat out Apple and Google
WPHC.com Expiry name so its going to move
Snulo.com Not bids on this pronounceable 5L.com
Busbi.com 18 year old name
Godaddy Domains With Multiple Bids
BrainBuilders.com Great online education, brain game name
188811.com Good pattern. Going to do well
Optim.com So many companies with this in their name. Exudes Optimization
JuiceWay.com Jamba Juice may have a competitor soon
CityCredit.com I think the bids are coming for the Credit union angle
SkyAndSand.com Would make a good travel blog name
FreedomDaily.com Buying history and backlinks on this one
Xeddy.com Not huge value but cool looking name
Watchaholic.com Watch like wristwatch or watch like Watch TV
CBDLicense.com Not sure if you need a license for CBD but if you did
CBDTHC.com Doesn’t usually have THC in CBD Oil but this one would
SoundTalk.com pretty good buy under $50
ProCalendar.com App name all the way
Godaddy Domains With One Or No Bids
SmartCork.com Because the world will run out of natural cork
PrivateCloud.org Because some people need some privacy
WeStandUnited.com Good name for a group that is standing for a cause
FindYourTutor.com Going to need a buildout but there is probably some money in tutor leads
SnappyJob.com Not sure it has any value but I like it as a recruiting company
Xaxxu.com Gets an A for cool looking. One bidder. 12 years old
Didn’t find many names I like with low bids. Been rough the last few days at Godaddy
The Rest of the Godaddy Names With Bids