In light of the announcement yesterday I'll contribute more instead of lurking without logging in
Epik has the chance to seriously overtake GD if they play their cards right. In light of the Great Reset agenda on the horizon I hope Epik lives by its words as the swiss bank of domains. Thats why I moved ALL my domains with Epik. I've ZERO domains elsewhere now and am willing to pay that extra $1 for renewals etc if need be knowing Rob will fight tooth and nail to not let my domains get taken away.
The level of consolidation in the industry is quite high and Godaddy has been on a buying spree over the last ten years or so. Newfold Digital was the major merger in the last year or so. The acquisitions seem to be focused on ccTLD registrars rather than ICANN registrars. A lot of the big hosting brands have multiple ICANN accreditations (not just for drop catching). One of the reports that I publish each month is the gTLD transactions report. There are approximately 1M hosters active in .COM/NET/ORG/BIZ/INFO/MOBI/ASIA/New gTLDs. Approximately 95% of the domain names in these gTLDs are hosted by approximately 4K hosting brands.
The biggest operator in the market is Godaddy but it is like an iceberg in that people only focus on the main Godaddy brand and miss all the other hosters that it owns. The same applies with Newfold Digital. The problem with all these acquisitions is the renewal rate. Some registrars and hosters have low renewal rates because they are always chasing registry discounts. These registrations don't renew well. In the new gTLDs, the 5% is a good renewal rate for these discounted registrations. It varies for other gTLDs. Some new gTLDs can have over 70% zone replacement in a year. That means that 70% of registrations in the zone file in one month will be gone by the same month next year. Even the .COM has issues. Approximately 44% of .COM domain names registered last year will not renew.
Epik has a market niche and a strong identity. It might not be a good fit for some of the large hosting brands.