Putting The Domain Development Platforms To The Test: Taking DevName and Epik For A Spin

Epik has been around for some time now and just yesterday Winged Media launched DevName, the latest entry to the domain development platform space. A few years ago, platform development service DevHub sent a shockwave through the Domaining community when many of their sites were de-indexed from Google. This scared a lot of Domainers away from platform development for fear of having their sites de-indexed.

Now, fast-forward to 2012 and there are people who are ranking well using Epik and making money every month. I’ve spoken to people like Ian Lopuch who have used Epik as a very effective tool for monetizing his domains. Last night I did a post about the launch of DevName and got a comment telling me to use extreme caution and referencing the DevHub debacle.

devname_screenshot

So I thought, heck let’s put the two of these platforms to the test, build real sites with unique content, custom logos, etc. It is clear that the entire de-indexing event that took place is hard for people to look past. However, I think it’s only fair to see what happens if you use these solutions to build real sites with unique content, custom graphics, and all the things a regular website would have.

I personally believe that Google is looking for websites that add value, contribute unique content, and help their users find what they are looking for. Both Epik and DevName can deliver in this respect, so why not give them a chance?

epik_screenshot

While both of these companies are sponsors of my blog, I am first and foremost here for you, my readers. If at the end of the day I expose that one of these services doesn’t deliver, I will publish it, I’m here to show people what works and what doesn’t through my own personal experience.

So here’s the plan:

  • Develop one site using Epik and DevName
  • Add one article of unique content every week for three months (yielding 12 articles/site)
  • Add custom logos created by LogoNerds for each
  • List each site in a few high authority directories
  • Build a few backlinks by reaching-out to bloggers in the niche
  • Promote both sites using Twitter and Facebook

Most of the sites I’ve developed over the last five years take about 6-months to really get going. This means that the process above should take place over a six-month time period. While there is always the chance that something will start ranking and making money within the first month I find six-months really is about my average.

So get ready, it’s time to see these two platforms in action and determine if building a real site with real content can rank well and generate revenue. Once launched I will be updating everyone once every two weeks so you can all follow-along every step of the way!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Smart Louise March 8, 2012, 12:09 pm

     Even Noomle sites rank well with unique content. We appreciate so much your experiment. Not to toss another at you, but if you FEEL like adding one Noomle site, it comes with the ability to add your own Adsense for 100% revenue, and Amazon widget/store. Plus, it automatically displays for mobile. You get all this free, or you can contribute $5.00 every other month for more template selection.

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 8, 2012, 12:35 pm

      Thanks Smart Louise – glad you like the idea! I’d be happy to throw Noomle into the mix, haven’t heard of it before but always willing to check-out other solutions!

      Reply
  • John Nigro March 8, 2012, 12:59 pm

    I personally am turned off by the concept of domain development platform because the term doesn’t make sense to me.

    What distinguishes something as a domain development platform vs. a web-based website builder.  You are just building a website, correct?

    How are these better/different than things like weebly, tumblr, and the 100s of others?

    To me the term domain development platform historically is a turn off because they were geared towards people who didn’t want to actually build a site or brand.  They were geared towards people who wanted a full blown site, but didn’t want to put the effort into it.   They were looking for the same level of effort as parking, but with better results.

    All the junky sites that got de-indexed were likely punished by google because they were junk websites with no unique content, not because they were built on a certain platform.  The reason people blame the platform is because the platform was geared toward people who didn’t want to do the work to build a site, they just wanted to park their names.

    Reply
    • Bill Eisenmann March 8, 2012, 1:12 pm

      Very well put. A site that takes zero effort to build cannot be expected to perform. These platforms can probably perform if you build them out with your own unique content. I still don’t like Epik’s terms though.

      Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 9, 2012, 9:53 am

      Very well said John!

      Reply
  • Shane Cultra March 8, 2012, 1:44 pm

    Morgan,  First “Pretty Louise” now we have “Smart Louise”  (not that pretty Louise isn’t smart as well) 

    Reply
  • Jeff Matthews March 8, 2012, 4:59 pm

    I thought you were developing with EPIK months ago.. What happened to the update? You keep mentioning it but don’t spoon us the outcome.. 😛

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 9, 2012, 9:52 am

      Hi Jeff – sorry I haven’t provided an update yet, with the Appraiso launch some of these projects were put on the back-burner. 

      Reply
  • Bartholemy March 8, 2012, 10:46 pm

    In the interests of full disclosure, I urged “extreme caution” because you billed the DevName debut as something akin to  the second coming of Christ, to wit: “DOMAIN DEVELOPERS REJOICE – DEVNAME IS HERE!”  while a very substantial segment of your readership appears to be comprised of relatively new and inexperienced domainers (precisely the demographic that is typically most attracted — and vulnerable — to these types of “mass-development” services).

    Respectfully, undertaking an “experiment” wherein you endeavor to successfully build-out a single, standalone website on each platform — replete with incrementally added custom content — really does nothing to resolve the debate.  No one doubts that you can build and rank a single, unique content-laden website on this, or any other platform — hell, you could successfully do that on DevHub, as well. 

    It’s when you create a hundred, or a thousand sites — “effortlessly”; within “only minutes”; “bringing together [scraping] the most relevant content” (for the avoidance of doubt, all these statements are taken directly from the DevName website) — all while sharing the same dubious footprint (e.g., nameservers; site architecture; you name it) as tens or even hundreds of thousands of other such dubious and frowned-upon websites (in the eyes of Google), that you expose your domain assets to great peril.

    Heck, if you’re gonna’ build-out ONE website per platform, and load them each up with a whopping 3 months of unique content, why not just hastily slap-up a free Wordpress site instead — you’ll have virtually no learning-curve, and kick the s.e.r.p. pants off of any of these “toxic-footprint” sites in the process!!  Most importantly, YOU ABSOLUTELY KNOW IT WON’T END BADLY FOR YOU (a la Google de-indexing; permanent banning, etc.) and that’s the most important result of all!!

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 9, 2012, 9:52 am

      Bartholemy I absolutely agree with what you are saying here. There is no magic system that will ever suddenly get hundreds or thousands of domains ranked in Google. It’s all about taking the time to build real brands on each site. This isn’t automated, it takes time and money.
      As for why I don’t just use Wordpress, I am specifically doing a test of these services. I have over 220 developed domains and most are static HTML along with about 15% now that are built using Wordpress.

      I don’t plan on using a platform like this to develop-out my entire portfolio, but do think they could be used just like any other platform to build real brands. Once again I really appreciate your comment and the point you are making, I also understand your concerns and have always had similar concerns. That being said, I know people doing wel with Epik and DevName just launched so I want to give them a chance.

      Reply
  • s mac March 9, 2012, 5:07 am

    Won’t work.  Sure, you might be able to rank one or two sites with original content, but the system as advertised by DevName will not work in the long run.  I can not understand why intelligent people waste their time looking for short cuts or try to game google.  It will only work for a little while than you are off looking for the next glorified parking program – Epik, devhub, whatever….

    If you try to game google or make them look stupid they will win in the end.  Why not give them what they want – good original content organized in a way that is east to find, original design/architecture, relative links, people sharing the site, minimize the ads above the fold – that’s it!

    Sure it takes a little time, but why not spend your time on something that is almost guaranteed to work, will last and grow over time, creates a real business and ads value to your domain?

    Reply
    • Morgan Linton March 9, 2012, 9:47 am

      S Mac – I think it all comes down to how you use the platform. Anyone that expects a platform to just automatically monetize all their domains is fooling themselves.

      If, however you use these platforms just like people use Wordpress and Joomla and focus on providing unique and useful content I think they absolutely can be valuable.

      People just need to be realistic, there is no fully automated solution and at the end of the day an investment in good content is critical.

      Reply

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