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Parler finds refuge in domain registrar Epik

The log of social media website Parler. (Image: Handout/Graphic by The Desk)

Social media service Parler has transferred its domain name from DreamHost to Epik, an indication that the embattled website may soon return to the Internet.

The change was first noticed by an independent journalist in the United Kingdom on Monday who reviewed publicly-available Internet registration data.

Parler, a Twitter clone that is heavily favored by conservative individuals and news outlets, has been offline since early Monday morning after Amazon ended its business agreement to provide cloud storage and computing services.

Amazon said the decision was made after Parler was too slow to address violent, incendiary content published by some of its users. Parler had been warned about some of the content weeks ago, an Amazon official wrote in a letter sent to the company late last week.

Additionally, Amazon said a plan by Parler to use volunteer content moderators didn’t go far enough in addressing its concerns.

Parler has drawn controversy since last week’s attack at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump, with some accusing the platform of giving space for individuals who participated in the siege to organize and assemble.

Parler has rejected these accusations, with its chief executive saying the social media website doesn’t offer its users a feature that would have allowed for the planning of last Wednesday’s attack.

On Monday, Parler sued Amazon in federal court, alleging the tech company had violated the Sherman Antitrust Act. In a complaint, Parler said Amazon’s decision to withhold its web hosting and cloud computing services could effectively kill its business at a time when it was supposed to be thriving.

The lawsuit came several days after Parler’s CEO, John Matze, attempted to reassure users of his site that it would be offline only for a short period of time.

“[We have] many competing for our business,” he wrote in a note to Parler’s 12 million users on Saturday.

But one day later, in an interview aired on Fox News, Matze admitted this claim was false.

“We’re gonna try our best to get online as fast as possible, but we’re having a lot of trouble because every vendor we talk to says they won’t work to us,” Matze told Fox News. “If Apple doesn’t approve and Google doesn’t approve, they won’t.”

Parler’s decision to switch domain registrars came after Twitter and Facebook users lodged complaints against DreamHost, a California-based provider of website-related services. Sometime between Sunday evening and Monday afternoon, Parler moved its domain name from DreamHost to Epik and changed its domain’s nameservers from Amazon Web Services to Epik.

In a three-page statement posted online, Epik’s communications executive Robert Davis said no one from Parler had contacted the company about utilizing its services.

“We have had no contact or discussions in any form regarding our organization becoming their registrar or hosting provider,” Davis wrote. “From our understanding, Parler was working on satisfying the requested terms placed upon them by various elements of their supply chain, and to date, no communication has been received by them for discussion of future service provisions.”

At the same time, Epik appeared to side with Parler, saying there was an “artificial standard that many now want to apply.”

“In terms of the eagerness by some to call for mass de-platforming and universal cancellations, it is becoming increasingly easy to demonize anyone who has different beliefs with no recognition of the actual effects and impact this can have on our society,” Davis said.

Epik has a history of welcoming controversial websites: In 2018, the company agreed to host the social network Gab after web host GoDaddy terminated its business agreement.

“I look forward to partnering with a young, and once brash, CEO who is courageously doing something that looks useful,” Robert Monster, Epik’s chief executive, wrote in a blog post.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 11 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.