Shadowy New Ownership of Far-Right’s Preferred Web Host, Epik Unveiled

William Turton

A technology company that has been essential in keeping far-right and extremist websites online was acquired last year by a firm that operates an empire of shell companies across the United States, according to people familiar with the deal. has been for years the go-to domain registrar for websites that other companies refuse to do business with. Sites dedicated to white nationalism, QAnon conspiracy theories, and harassing transgender people were all welcomed by Epik. Now, it appears that Epik’s new owner may abandon the extremist fringe and shift its customer base toward companies seeking to operate in the shadows.

Rob Monster, a born-again Christian who founded Epik in 2009, had been key in keeping many of the most extreme websites online. He often went to great lengths to personally defend the sites and extolled the virtues of free speech. Epik was sold to new ownership last year after the company unraveled amid allegations of gross financial mismanagement.

An accounting firm engaged by Epik for a forensic investigation has purported that Monster misused more than $3.5 million. This information is according to an internal preliminary report that WIRED obtained. Monster himself is said to have withdrawn more than $1.5 million directly from the company. The investigation found almost $2 million in Epik funds had been utilized in Kingdom Ventures, Monsters’ venture capital firm.

Monster did not provide a response to several requests for comment.

The buyer of the domain registrar operation of Epik was a newly incorporated Epik LLC. The firm had been registered in Wyoming just a few weeks prior to the deal being closed last summer. The owner of Epik LLC is Registered Agents Inc. This information is according to two individuals who have knowledge of the deal. Registered Agents Inc. confirmed its ownership in a press release late on Friday night.

Registered Agents Inc., along with its subsidiary firms, claims to operate offices in every state and Washington, DC. The services they provide allow companies to operate secretly in their chosen jurisdiction. Registered Agents Inc. provides services to more than 1 million companies, according to their claims.

The founder and owner of Registered Agents, according to two individuals knowledgeable about the company, is a man named Dan Keen. In an email, a representative of Registered Agents Inc. clarified that Mr. Keen is neither the owner nor an employee of Registered Agents Inc. or Epik, but served as a consultant during the acquisition process.

Those who worked with Mr. Keen describe him as intensely private; such sources requested anonymity in order to openly discuss the specifics of the deal. One individual stated, “He has made it his mission in life to be invisible…he prefers to operate in the shadows,” while another noted his past successes as a serial entrepreneur in industries such as lawn care and tree-trimming, as per available public records.

Dan Keen does not maintain a web presence or social media pages, and the emails he sends out do not include a signature. Any attempts to contact Mr. Keen directly for a comment has led to responses from Bryce Myrvang, a lawyer who represents Registered Agents Inc.

The use of a registered agent for the incorporation of a business provides a level of privacy to the actual owner. These registered agents are responsible for receiving legal notices and mail on behalf of the company, as well as submitting the required incorporation documents to the state. In Wyoming alone, Registered Agents Inc. represents approximately 50,000 businesses. This figure comes directly from the Wyoming Secretary of State.


Matt Burgess

Makena Kelly

Lauren Goode

Lauren Goode

For example, a company that uses Registered Agents Inc. to establish their business in Wyoming could be located at 30 N. Gould Street, a small one-story building in Sheridan.

A local Wyoming newspaper, The Sheridan Press, reported in August 2021 regarding fraudulent businesses associated with the address 30 N. Gould Street. This is the address where more than twenty registered agent firms claim their offices are located. A note from an editor added post-publication stated, “It remains completely legal for registered agents to conduct their business as per the Wyoming Statute.”

An investigation conducted in 2022 by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists discovered that “oligarchs, fraudsters, and internet scammers” have used registered agents to operate in the United States and conceal their actual identities.

The acquisition of Epik by Registered Agents Inc. enables the company to expand its services to the web, providing an additional degree of anonymity to their clients’ websites.

“This most recent acquisition provided an opportunity to expand our business offerings to include a business email address, a domain name, and open source website hosting at a reasonable cost,” Myrvang tells WIRED. “Registered Agents Inc. now has the capability to establish an entire business identity for its customers in less than 10 minutes.”

Clues about changes within Epik first emerged in January, when the company terminated its relationship with Kiwi Farms, a notorious trolling site whose users are dedicated to perpetuating never-ending drama and misery. In a series of bizarre and now deleted tweets, Epik claimed it suspended Kiwi Farms in response to a US court order and that the site hosted child sexual abuse material. In response, the Kiwi Farms administrator began crowdfunding money for a defamation lawsuit against Epik.

“You specialize in defamation, revenge porn, harassment, and hate speech and you want to sue us? We will expose all your and your users dirty secrets and they will be permanent public records,” the EpikLLC X account replied. “The judgment we will win against you will follow you the rest of your life.”

It was as if a new set of trolls with an entirely different worldview had taken over Epik.

“Alright all Whiny, Beta Snowflakes. Our DEI hires of the month canceled #Kiwifarms,” another post from EpikLLC read. “We don’t like hate speech, porn, or doxxing. #JoeBiden will fix it! 2024!”

Some of the tweets trolling Epik were later deleted. “If such comments and or interactions on X were found to be offensive, Epik LLC formally apologizes to those individuals and or company,” Myrvang, the company’s lawyer, says. “Further, the appropriate action has been taken internally in relation to the comments made on X.”

It’s unclear if Epik’s new owners singled out Kiwi Farms or if it has booted other sites from its service. “’s Terms of Service has been updated to maintain compliance with all regulatory requirements,” Myrvang says.

When asked if the company has stopped working with other customers, Myrvang says, “Epik LLC will suspend and or terminate relationships with any company and or individual who violates its Terms of Services.”

Matt Burgess

Makena Kelly

Lauren Goode

Lauren Goode

In late 2022, Epik customers began reporting that they were suddenly unable to withdraw money from Masterbucks, Epik’s payment platform, which facilitated buying and selling pricey domain names. One customer, Luigi Marruso, posted on the domain name forum NamePros claiming that Epik was holding onto $1.5 million of its money. In an email to WIRED, Marruso says he still hasn’t been paid back.

Another customer, Matthew Adkisson, sued Epik and Monster, claiming they had mismanaged or embezzled $327,000 from him as he sought to purchase Epik later settled with Adkisson.

Claims like Adkisson’s began to pile up on forums for professionals in the domain name business (known as “domainers”), and Epik was in serious financial jeopardy.

Epik’s customers, worried about the potential consequences, hastened to withdraw their funds from the company. It was even revealed in legal documents that Epik had unresolved debts with ICANN, the non-profit organization that functions as a worldwide administrator for the internet.

Andrew Allemann, a reporter who documented the debacle for Domain Name Wire, explains, “They were utilizing customer proceeds to finance their operations. When individuals began demanding their money back, they didn’t have the funds to repay them. There was a mass withdrawal, and the required funds were lacking.”

In an effort to stop the financial hemorrhaging and resolve the company’s obligations, a new CEO was appointed at Epik in September 2022. Once appraised by an investor to be worth about $150 million, Epik was sold for roughly $5 million in June 2023, as per an agreement made public as an exhibit in the Adkisson lawsuit. A majority of the $5 million purchase price was dedicated to settling some of Epik’s debts. Whether the conditions of the final agreement reflect the one exposed as part of the lawsuit is unclear, though a source familiar with the purchase states it was generally similar.

The remaining debt was left for Monster to deal with. The exact amount that Monster owes to former customers and vendors is uncertain. Two ex-Epik customers informed WIRED that they are still waiting for reimbursements of $38,000 and $20,000 respectively.

Updated: 2/8/2024, 2:35 pm ET: Added additional comment from a Registered Agents Inc. spokesperson regarding Dan Keen’s relationship with the company.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Article

How AI Tools Like GitHub Copilot are Transforming the Way Coders Think

Next Article

Unveiling Blizzard's 33-Year Journey in Jason Schreier's New Book

Related Posts