Epik has announced that it has been acquired and has named at least one person responsible for running the troubled registrar, but the new information is unlikely to satisfy critics or quash the conspiracy theories around the company’s new management.
“Registered Agents Inc., the leading registered agent service provider in the United States, has acquired key assets of internet domain registrar Epik,” the company said in a press release this weekend.
Bryce Myrvang, in-house counsel for Registered Agents, is named in the press release, but his position at Epik is not stated. Neither is it stated when the acquisition occurred — whether it was before or after ICANN approved the transfer of disgraced Epik Inc’s accreditation to Epik LLC last week, or after.
Neither the names Registered Agents or Bryce Myrvang are new information. Myrvang had been listed in ICANN’s registrar contact database after the LLC bought the Inc last June, but that changed last month to a job title rather than a named individual.
Because Registered Agents’ entire raison d’être is anonymous company formation and management, Epik’s past and current customers naturally wondered aloud whether it was in fact just a front for company founder Rob Monster, on whose watch the registrar started to descend into financial controversy, or somebody else with an interest in keeping their name secret.
But last week Epik and ICANN simultaneously announced that ICANN had completed its due diligence on the new company and found it completely independent of its former owners and leadership.
“Epik, LLC is a recently formed entity that is completely independent of Epik, Inc., its leadership, and shareholders,” ICANN told us.
“No previous owners, including Epik Inc founder Rob Monster and late stage CEO Brian Royce, are involved in Epik LLC in any capacity, including ownership interest in the business,” Epik said.
The announcement today that Registered Agents has bought Epik LLC will do little to unmuddy these waters.
For starters, if Myrvang is indeed a lawyer at a company that prides itself on its professionalism and discretion, there’s not a chance in hell he’s in charge of Epik’s Twitter account, which went a bit crazy last month.
But Epik is now confirming that it’s done a full U-turn on its strategy to court and welcome some of the web’s most distasteful sites and is now positioning itself as a regular workaday registrar with a focus on small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Since the acquisition, and throughout the ICANN accreditation transfer review, Epik updated its terms of service and worked aggressively to rid its platform of violators. Having removed a handful of problematic clients, Epik can focus on rebuilding trust with its small business and entrepreneurial clients,” the company said in its latest press release.
Epik lost hundreds of thousands of domains under management last year, after a financial mismanagement scandal caused customers to lose confidence and flee in droves.