Let’s Hear It. How Much Money Are You Making With Your Epik or SiteDepot Store?

Jul 01 2010

Over the last week I have received a ton of emails regarding my experience with Epik or telling me their experience with Epik, SiteDepot or other eCommerce sites.   In disclosure, I have one site that happens to be with Epik and have ordered $1000 more from Rob.  I’ve read and re-read of all the sales and promos that have been on the domaining circuit and have a simple question.   What is your experience so far?.  I am curious of what others are making and I would guess so are my readers.  This IS NOT an area to bash but merely to show what kind of results are you getting.  Is your site moving up pagerank?  Is it getting any clicks?   I don’t want to hear particulars but approximate numbers.  I don’t want to get anyone in trouble,  I just want info.   I’ll give you mine.  I have one site,  roboticpets.com.  It has moved nicely up Google to number 12 and number 1 on Yahoo for “robotic pets”.    That’s the good news.

The bad news is the site makes less than a quarter a month after a few months.  It also has nothing to sell.  Despite the fact that the hottest toy in the world are the robotic zsu zsu hamsters, it doesn’t even offer any robotic pets to sell.  Epik has chosen to not use Amazon and I am willing to let them prove to me they can do better than Amazon.   So far……not so good.   As I’ve said many times in the past, Rob Monster is a stand up guy and always is responsive in his communication.  He tells me what I want to hear.  As for my site, no doubt,  lost in the shuffle at this point.  It could be MUCH better but he has tens of thousands of sites to manage and I understand that.  Perhaps it will get better.  It will get better but I am hoping it’s with Epik and not on my own.

The other day I posted an article about Sitedepot and Epik and I received a lot of emails regarding both people and many people had sites with both.  After 10 different people expressed their opinions about their sites with both people I will list my overall synopsis of their opinions.  Again these are not mine but a general synopsis of a group of 10 guys.  Please post any comments regarding these thoughts and add your own.  Again I am not looking to bash anyone but if more people are to share their experience than we all can make better decisions.

1. Nobody is making much money.  It always seems to be the same domains that are used as examples of how much money you can make

2. People like Rob and are a bit hesitant to work with Mike

3. People like the “expandiblility” of Epik sites, people like the price of SiteDepot and the fact you don’t split revenue

4.  It seems like everyone is very patient with their sites and are willing to see it out (probably because they really don’t have many other choices)

5.  Epik is already too big and not putting enough time into their already developed sites.  More interested in taking in money to develop rather than improve existing

6.  SiteDepot took all the criticism seriously and seem to be interested in customer service and making sure people are happy, Epik always has been this way

Again, this is just what I’ve taken from the conversations I’ve had.  They have all been pretty consistent opinions.  I’ve even seen 6 peoples’ monthly reports and nobody is making jack squat.    I think it made all of us feel better that we weren’t alone.  One thing I did notice though.  The strong hyphen domains seems to be as good or better than weaker non hyphened.  It showed that google doesn’t mind hyphens.   So…… How are your domains doing?

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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34 comments

  1. Mike

    The ONLY way to make money is to sell to end-users. Not another domainer, not by creating a minisite and not by relying on PPC. End-user sales, period.

  2. Nameclerk

    Shane,

    I have 4 sites with Epik at a total investment of $1000 dollars. The sites are only two months old so I can’t realistically expect much at this point.

    Having said that, the sites are doing pretty well in June averaging about $30 a week if you combine the revenue for all 4 sites. If they can maintain those earnings then my original investment would be recouped in 9 months.

    All my sites rank very high on Yahoo but they need some work at Bing and Google. With the probability of Yahoo switching to Bing results, the current success could be short lived.

    -Bill
    AvailableDomainNames.com


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Thanks Bill. I really appreciate the input. This was the kind of info I was looking for. Do you mind saying what area they are in? You don’t need to give the names but just a general category would be nice

  3. GPS

    I think it’s important to define “nobody is making much money” and “nobody is making jack squat”.

    I have a few experiments running on the Epik network….some names in competitive, highly searched niches, and some new/recent hand registrations in less competitive niches, yet still with respectable search volume (1000+ exact).

    All are less than a couple months old, so it’s WAAAYYYY too early to pass judgement.

    However, it appears several of the new/recent hand registrations are on their way to $1+ a day in net earnings (my share).

    $1 per day qualifies as “jack squat” for some people, but a $365 annual return on a $250 investment is a no brainer in my world.


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      GPS.

      I agree it is way too early but I am smart enough to know that it takes unique and updated content for financial growth. As I’ve stated, I just threw another $750 at Epik to try more. I have patience but I like to see improvement and movement. I always improve and make what I have the best it can be before I scale. I have seen the results of over 500 sites so I have solid data. Again, this is early and I have confidence in Rob, I am merely opening up a forum to hear about other’s return and experiences to see if they are similar to mine. I do appreciate the comment and info

  4. James

    I only have 3 sites with Epik – but so far the results have been very poor. I made much more when they were parked.

  5. Nameclerk

    Shane,

    Sure thing. In order of revenues, so far.
    1. Stereos
    2. Microwaves
    3. Dresses
    4. Guitars

    All using exact match .com domains without hyphens. 3 of them are 3 word keyphrases, the other a two word phrase.

  6. Peter

    “1. Nobody is making much money. It always seems to be the same domains that are used as examples of how much money you can make”

    Agree. But there is more…

    Epik blog initially used to give an example of their website http://www.flatankleboots.com . When it sank, they started giving example of http://www.icecreammaker.com

    Check http://www.flatankleboots.com/stats , less than 5 unique visitors per day.

    In conclusion, always show 10% of your good websites to attract customers. Who cares if rest 90% are hardly making any money.

  7. Leonard Britt

    Four sites developed by EPIK, one ranks on page one of Yahoo, another was on page one but now page two. Bing & Google will likely take more time. However, they were for fairly competitive terms so likely need more SEO work or content updates. Note all four were .TV domains which from my experience are harder to rank at Google. To make money you need to rank at Google or high on Yahoo & Bing.

  8. Nameclerk

    This probably goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. Epik and SiteDepot.com sites are going to require some back links and a little bit of time to start performing. You can’t just expect these sites to start raking in cash unless you put the time and work into off-site SEO.

    Epik has a leg up in my opinion because they interlink stores that have similar products. These links might not mean much at first, but as the stores mature and build PR, they’ll help build authority for your sites over the long haul.

    Don’t leave it at that though. Write some articles and post them at article directories with links in the resource box back to your site. Build some mini-sites around the same topics and point them back to your money sites. Create squidoo lenses, hubpages, etc, etc. Once your sites get noticed and ranked, they’ll start receiving back links naturally from other sites.

  9. John Humphrey

    Mike Sullivan over at SullysBlog.com just posted about buying an Amazon affiliate site from Mike Cohen, http://sullysblog.com/Amazon-Affiliate-Store. Store looks good, has a hyphen. The domain is http://www.Mens-Razors.com
    I know that in a recent blog post where Rob Monster talked about buying product domains for the Epik platform, he used the metric of an Estibot minimum CPC of $1. and at least 500 exact match monthly searches as the basis for determining what they might buy.

    Might be interesting to include the CPC and number of searches in the comparisons…

    Average Monthly Search Stats – robotic pets
    Average Monthly Searches: 1,240
    Average Cost Per Click: $0.69 USD

    Average Monthly Search Stats – [ice cream maker]
    Average Monthly Searches: 167,400
    Average Cost Per Click: $0.99 USD

    Average Monthly Search Stats – [flat ankle boots]
    Average Monthly Searches: 4,464
    Average Cost Per Click: $0.78 USD

    Average Monthly Search Stats – [mens razors]
    Average Monthly Searches: 1,240
    Average Cost Per Click: $1.58 USD


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Good points. One thing, these are all CPC and the only reason I went with ecommerce is to try and sell things and get away from the pay per click model. And yes the term robotic pets is not searched for as much as mens razors but I have no doubt I can sell more Zsu Zsu hamsters and other robot toys than razors. The flipside is that Gillette will spend a hell of a lot more money advertising than the toy people

  10. Johan

    I have 3 sites developed by Epik. One of them just went live about 1 week ago. The other 2 are a few months old, both on page 1 of Yahoo (result #2 / #3) and do get some moderate traffic. As far as income goes, it´s not like I can quit my day job based on these 2 sites, but together they are producing a few dollars every week. I’m satisfied so far, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform the coming months.

  11. RH

    HoodedRobes.com first page Google , #2 spot Yahoo 1900 and 1600 searches exactly

    Fleece-Jackets.com not in top 26 pages Google #1 Yahoo 74,000 and 12,100 exact searches

    Designer Handbags.tv not in top 20 Google 2nd page Yahoo 450,000 and 301,000 exact searches

    I have made $50 or 1/2 of that from Fleece-Jackets

    The other two each made about $5 total only 6 weeks running.

    I think 50/50 is too high it should be 70/30 IMO you are getting paid for the setup.

    Avg click .18

  12. RH

    Shane I asked Rob about selling and he said model is ppc, if the site gets big he would move to drop shipping like he is doing on emergencfood.com and will be doing on clothing.com.

  13. Todd

    Hi Shane,

    I have 50+ product portal sites with Epik; 1-directory; 1-city/restaurant as part of the dining.com; a few sites with devrich (owned by epik).

    I can say I am seeing revenuesincrease. I have raised the bar on my duties: backlinks, articles,
    etc. It hasn’t been 90-120 days since most went live, so I haven’t given the sites enought time to draw any conclusions.

    My earnings, on Tuesday, was $78 (1/2 of $155) this past week for about 50-sites. Progress is clearly being made. Is $78 a lot? No. Most of my key sites aren’t on google yet, so I have seen quite a bit of progress since the June 8th/Amazon effect. Rob changed the customer/Epik terms to max-80% customer if revenes are above > $25k. Am I impatient? Yes. I am very, very, very much watching development; google page rankings, on each site.

    I can’t truly make any valuable contribution to your question unless I have given a site 3-months from date of “live” status. The amazon-feed issue is done and resolved.

    Does he highlight Kenny? Yes. Kenny was one of the earliest customers – and Kenny has good sites. Do I wish I owned icecreammaker.com? Yes. At least Rob is writing about someone who is doing very well.

    —–
    re: epik product portals

    My caveats/assumptions:

    1) since the amazon-product feed (amazon product-sites fell off the google roof with the google caffeine introduction on June 8th) debacle, the epik product portal results have shown improvement.

    2) I believe any site needs 90-120 days for any results. That’s only fair.

    3) I think thedomains.com’s luxurybedding.com example, is the ultimate attention-to-detail hands-on attention model for a high profile name. I plan to focus on this route on a couple sites. I just need someone to pay close attention to any problems with a key site.

    4) I am taking a more hands-on approach with my seo participation on my epik sites. This is not because I feel as if I have to, but I want to focus on my sites and be directly involved. Being proactive gives some sense of ownership.

    5) Of the 50-sites, I believe I have 7-sites in the top 10 of google, and another 8-sites in the top 20 of google. When the amazon-feed was in effect, I had 0-sites in the top 20 of google. Amazon AWS sites have dropped off earth with caffeine. I would like to see a high-ranking amazon-feed site.

    6) 34% of all user clicks are on the #1 google spot – so being in the top 5 is the only issue that matters – in my view.

    7) I don’t even look at yahoo search results as yahoo is immaterial and irrelevant for searching. Bing, using yahoo tech, is a factor likely to grow into a bigger influence. Google has 65% of the market share, so let’s make google happy. The yhoo/msft search/partnership should be done by fall.


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Thanks for the excellent post. I really appreciate you sharing and all great points. Comments like this are why I wrote the post.

  14. TY

    Thank you, Shane for reminding me that I put 10 dictionary word domains with Epik as an experiment about 6 months ago, on the basic / free scheme.

    Seemed to be worth a try after Bodis, WhyPark, ParkingRevolution, but after I failed to subscribe to their paid packages (if I wanted a real site I would have built it myself), my ‘free’ sites just sat there looking like geocities pages from 1974. I don’t know my stats. because I can’t log in to my account (my fault, I know, but it shows my lack of enthusiasm).

    I will check which domains are still pointing there tomorrow and decide what to do with them.

    Revenue $0.

  15. Ed | Htmlpress.net

    Nice article Shane. I am impressed by the response it generated. I guess patience and keeping on working on acquiring traffic from different sources would be the key.

  16. Pat

    Todd, why did the Amazon feed sites “fell off the roof”? Is it a duplicate content issue, or is it something specifically to do with Google removing sites that use Amazon feeds? Do you know, or have you read something to this effect from a reliable source?

    I just did a lot of work building a customized Amazon feed for my own use – I hope it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I plan on having a good amount of completely unique, relevant content on my sites, too. Hopefully that’s a more important factor than using an Amazon feed. I guess time will tell.

  17. Todd

    Pat, a site built soley on Amazon products (amazon aws, amazon aom, etc) are treated in the google search results as duplicate content.

    Matt Cutts penalizes sites who do not have unique content. I don’t know if this will change or if bing will accept duplicate content. Myy March 25th thru June 15th 2010 experiences with Epik product portal amazon-backed sites would tend to indicate any site with amazon products, as the key product, will not appear in google search results to make any revenue.

    If a name is a type-in name, candy.com, then that’s a different ballgame. But my 50+- Epik product portal sites sites appearing in google results, with only amazon products, did not show any results.

    Maybe it is a coincidence – but epik tool 100% of amazon products from all of their epk product portal sites.

    My amazon-site experiences were shared with my family, friends. My personal sample base of either owning sites or knowing someone with amazon sites via epik was about 100-in sites – and 0 did anything.

    Since the change from amazon to 3rd parties, revenue has appeared.

    It’s also to point out that any name bought as an epik drop (age = 1 day when you buy it) is likely to be sandboxed for the typical 60 – 90 days before it starts showing up on google in a meaningful way. Not hard and firm rule – but something to be aware of. 95% of my sites were not sandboxed names.

    Hope that helps some.

  18. Kenny

    I am talked about with regards to Epik a lot and am more than happy to
    share my experiences. I am very happy with them, as evidenced by my
    volume of new orders. Just today I ordered 13 more sites, which is the
    best endorsement I can give a business. Putting my money where my
    mouth is.
    1. 50 cents a day on a $250 investment is awesome. 75% cash on cash in year 1.
    2. 3 months or even 6 months is a silly time frame to judge the
    success of your websites. Google sandbox doesn’t even end until
    anywhere from 4-10 months. I’d give it a year or more for bigger
    sites. IceCreamMaker has been up since about November and is now just
    settling at the top. For a while it was much lower.
    3. The trajectory seems to be to start high, then after about 2-3
    months, get sandboxed for a while, then appear back and start to work
    your way back up. I have some of my earlier sites, flatankleboots.com
    for example, that are following this exact path. It started great,
    disappeared from google, and is now back at #10 or so since last week
    and on its way up. BlackRidingBoots.com, which was launched at about
    the same time, is following the same pattern. It is around #14 for its
    term and I expect it to move up.

    I’d say all these arguments are very premature, but so far, it appears
    to be a big success.


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Kenny,
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. I think you have been the poster child for success with Epic and out of the hundreds of thousands of domains, icecreammaker and flatankleboots have come up in 90% of the testimonials. I was looking for other people’s opinions as well. I do agree though, it is way too early to tell final results and patience needs to be shown. Thanks again and congrats on your success.

  19. Andrew Rosener

    I have 6 websites with Epik. So far the results are not fantastic, however, we are only 2 months in and these things take time.

    In order of revenues (averaging about $5 – $10 per week):

    Hair-Straighteners.com
    Latex-Gloves.com
    Espresso-Beans.com
    Garden-Furniture.com
    Duffel-Bags.com
    Hard-Hat.com

  20. John B

    This is a great business for Epik because domainers are scrambling for avenues outside of parking. Especially at $250 a pop. There is no real money in these sites. It would not surprise me if someone on the inside is giving ice cream makers as wedding gifts for the next decade. 🙂 Being down on retail affiliate sites is not just pessimism it’s feedback from direct experience. Domainers are always dreaming, looking for the easy money.. don’t quit your day job 🙂 Domaining is dead!


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      John B. All that and you can’t put your mail address or website. You my friend are a visionary and a coward, with an emphasis on the latter

  21. Blake Moser

    I’ve communicated with Rob Monster, and think he is a great guy. Epik has a lot to offer other than just developing e-stores, and I think Rob is going to be one of those guys we talk about ten years from now as, “changing the internet.”

    I also want to say I’ve ordered 2 sites from Mike Cohen at Sitedepot.com He is also a stand up guy. Quick development and communication. One site he developed for me a week ago is already on the second page for Google with the term “Cowboys Jersey”. It is too early to tell if there will be any significant revenue. The service was awesome.

  22. other Mike

    i, like some others have mentioned, tend to be very impatient as well, and perhaps my expectations are unrealistic because of it. I have two product portals w/ Epik. The first was launched two months ago, the second launched about two weeks ago. Both were ordered the same time about 3 months ago (second one got overlooked somehow and was delayed) So it just feels like a much longer time (perception-wise) to me. We’re talking 3 months in internet time, which can feel like three years. And I think this is the general nature of the internet. People come to expect quick results. No different than the load time of a web-page or the instantaneousness of instant messaging and social media, etc.

    The second part is that you are getting constantly barraged with the success stories, which puts your finger on the hot button, gets you amped up for the same success, and maybe tends to augment your expectations. I bought in for two sites initially thinking of it as a test-bed, realizing, hey, before I dump a lot of money, lets just test the model. If it works I’ll buy more, if not i wont. Its kind of that simple when it comes down to it. But again there’s the whole patience factor.

    If I step back and put my realistic cap on, I think, well I really have to wait out the full year before reinvesting and see if the sites meet the guarantee, or by how much they exceed it and how quickly (which lets not forget that the money-back guarantee is really awesome.) However, that said, as far as I understand the guarantee is for $249 *gross* after the first year, not *net*. So theoretically after one year your site could gross $250, and you’d profit only $125. Then would those sites be worthwhile? but then it goes back to something you said in another post recently Shane, which was, “what’s the quickest way to make $20k in domaining? … Start with $50k!” In my opinion, unless your sites are at least doubling your investment or more every year, in *net* (not in gross), meaning pulling in at least $1k gross/$500net, then you’re looking at a pretty long road to financial independence through Epik sites. Again, unless you already have a chunk of change to put up. But otherwise I would so far question whether one could start with a few sites and bootstrap your way up, unless of course those sites start kicking ass pretty quickly, which is certainly possible, and maybe we just havnt given the platform enough time yet. so that was total stream of consciousness.

    Lastly, there is no doubt Rob is one of the most stand-up guys you will ever meet. I have nothing but respect for him and his crew.

    as to results, its way too early on the second site as it was only just launched. For the first site, launched two months ago, it is number #1 at Yahoo after about a month, but still no where to be found in Google. Its made about three bucks net revenue so far. I have not done any of my own link-building, and I fully accept the blame for not shouldering that burden.

  23. Dietmar

    Moin Moin (as we say in Hamburg/Germany),

    first: I am in the german minisite business for nearly a year now, so I am a bit prejudiced.
    We do not produce any double content pages, so no amazon/ebay feed is integrated, just 5/10/15 or more unique articles (see example) written by me and my team.

    I can’t see any increase in value by these feeds. And for me it seems as user in Europe, especially in Germany are other users than elsewhere. Here people like to gather all (and I mean ALL) informations of their desired products. And after that they decide to buy it there, there or there or may be offline. Or they click the ads, but only if tehy are suitable.

    And no, we didn’t do any seo things yet on this website, no linking, no twitter/facebook, nothing. Just let the page grow. At this time monetization is only made through adsense.

    One example (and believe me, it’s not the best one) for one of our american customers:
    esstische.com (eating tables)
    Average monthly local search 49,500
    Average Cost Per Click: 0.82€ ($1.00)

    March 1,711 site impressions / earnings 26.26€ ($32.46)
    April 638 site impressions / earnings 6.71€ ($8,29)
    May 1,368 site impressions / earnings 29.23€ ($36.13)
    June 834 site impressions / earnings 27.21€ ($33.63)

    The website was parked for the last four years and obviously sandboxed by search engines. Nowadays it’s on page 1 of german Google (result #6) and german Yahoo (result #6)

    It seems as our customer will get back his money he invested within nine months. Is this okay?

    Sorry for my bad english.

    Ahoi!

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