Robert W. Monster (born 1966 or 1967) is an American technology executive and the founder and chief executive officer of Epik, a domain registrar and web host known for providing services to websites with controversial content. He has received media attention in relation to Epik, particularly surrounding the company's decision to register the free speech social media network Gab, about which he has been outspoken. He has also received attention for controversial statements, including some in which he has promoted various conspiracy theories.
Life and education
Monster was born in 1966 or 1967 to a Dutch American family, and he grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned his bachelor's degree and MBA at Cornell University. In 2007, Monster became a devout Christian. Monster is married to Jill Monster, a family physician. They have five children.
Monster began working for Procter & Gamble in 1991, and spent years working in Japan and Germany in this role. In his last year, he was the global product development manager for Pampers, a brand of baby diapers. After eight years at the company, he left in 1999 to move to Seattle, Washington and founded Global Market Insite (GMI), an online market research company. He served as the CEO for seven years, until he was ousted by the board in 2007.
Monster founded Epik, a domain registrar and web hosting company, in 2009 in Sammamish, Washington. He continues to serve as the CEO of the company. In 2015, Monster became the interim CEO for DigitalTown, a company that provides community-building platforms. He resigned from this position in 2018 in what was described as a planned departure to allow him to focus on Epik.
Monster has been an outspoken defender of Epik's choice to host all forms of 'lawful free speech' that other web hosts have refused to host due to political bias. He learned about Gab, a free speech social network, in 2018 when the company received media attention after it was discovered that the perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting had used the service to post extremist content. After it was dropped by its registrar, GoDaddy, Monster met with Gab CEO Andrew Torba and agreed to register the website. The BBC reported Monster as saying that Gab's founder Andrew Torba was "doing something that looks useful", and that Gab's removal from the internet was "digital censorship". Monster subsequently became an active user and defender of the network.