Epik, a domain registrar company that has been popular with conservatives and far-right groups, is facing a lawsuit over allegations of embezzlement and fraudulent activities as part of “a widespread and illegal fraudulent scheme” that has been ongoing for years. The allegations first surfaced in a report by the Daily Dot, which revealed the financial struggles of Epik, the domain registrar in question.
Michael Adkisson claims that he contacted Epik in May 2022 to purchase the domain name nourish.com. He alleges that he paid Epik $300,000 for the domain and $27,000 in commission on the same day, with the funds to be placed in escrow pending transfer of the domain. However, Adkisson says that Epik never transferred ownership of nourish.com, and the domain remains for sale. Epik returned only $20,000 of the $327,000 Adkisson paid, according to his complaint.
Adkisson Files Suit Against Epik, CEO and Board Chairman Rob Monster, and CEO Brian Royce
Last week, Adkisson filed a lawsuit against Epik, its longtime CEO and current chairman of the board, Rob Monster, and current CEO Brian Royce. The lawsuit claims that Epik has been struggling financially for some time and that to pay off debts and funds owed to other customers, the company improperly used Adkisson’s and other customers’ money and commingled funds from other companies that Monster owns.
According to Adkisson’s complaint, “Defendants apparently used the Escrow Funds as their personal piggy bank and misappropriated the entirety of Adkisson’s $327,000 escrow payment.” The lawsuit also claims that Epik’s attorney admitted to the company misappropriating the funds.
Epik Accused of Doing This for Years
Adkisson’s lawsuit further alleges that Epik has been mishandling funds for years, with screenshots of multiple purported reviews from customers complaining about Epik not paying them what they were owed. The suit claims that “dozens” of customers say Epik hasn’t paid what it owes them. One customer allegedly claims that Epik owes them $1.5 million, “which has apparently also gone missing.”
Royce Responds to the Lawsuit
While Adkisson’s lawsuit also names Royce, he insists that Monster is primarily to blame. Royce has cast the blame on Monster and tweeted on Tuesday, “This lawsuit is about something that happened in June before I was involved with Epik.” Epik did not respond to an emailed inquiry sent Thursday afternoon.
Why is it so popular with extremists?
Epik is a domain registrar and web hosting company founded in 2009 by Rob Monster. According to its website, the company “provides domain name registration, web hosting, and other web services to clients in over 200 countries.”
Epik has gained attention and criticism for its association with far-right extremist groups and figures. The company has been accused of providing a platform for these groups to register and host their websites, as well as for providing services that allow them to keep their websites up and running despite attempts to take them down. Some critics have also accused Epik of promoting far-right ideologies through its own content and marketing materials.
One example of Epik’s association with far-right groups is its relationship with Gab, a social media platform that bills itself as a free speech alternative to mainstream social media sites. Gab has been accused of allowing hate speech and extremism to thrive on its platform, and several hosting providers have refused to work with it as a result. Epik stepped in to provide hosting services for Gab in 2018 after its previous hosting provider, GoDaddy, terminated its account.
Epik has also been linked to the website The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website that was booted from several other hosting providers before finding a home with Epik in 2017. Epik was criticised for allowing The Daily Stormer to continue operating on its platform despite the site’s long history of promoting hate and violence.
Overall, Epik’s association with far-right extremist groups has led to controversy and criticism, with some calling for a boycott of the company.