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The Challenge of Development

20190321_development One of the dashboards of my new development.

About ten years ago I wrote an article that the holy grail of domain monetisation is the ability to manage mass developments and for management to be able to have a meaningful impact on them. In this article I hope to share some of my own thoughts and experiences on developing a platform to achieve this goal.

Escrow.com

I should say from the outset that one of the great things about traffic monetisation is that it’s very scalable and requires comparatively little work to manage. I also don't believe in development for developments sake but rather I view development as less about a technological build and more about building sustainable businesses.

Domain investors often have thousands, if not tens of thousands of domain names so any viable solution needs to be able to tick a two high level boxes:
1.    Scalability
2.    Management Impact


Scalability

Obviously, any solution needs to be able to handle the traffic demand on the servers but what I’m talking about here is less about Internet traffic (ie. depth) and more about numbers of domains (breadth).

Platforms such as Joomla and Wordpress are ideal for building a single website but domain investors are looking at potentially building all of their assets into valuable properties. This change in mindset forced me to evaluate and ultimately build a new type of platform that could overcome the challenges of less scalable systems.

To be quite honest with you, this was a BIG task that required a large amount of experimentation and resources to tackle. I first started down the path of building a platform about three years ago after countless hours of work, I have now built a a system that can cope with “n” number of domains.

Management Impact

Management impact is when a human intervenes based upon a set of data and hopes to improve the performance of a particular project. Managers will then require two criteria:

1.    The Data
This will need to be in a form that is digestible by a human. There is no point swamping a manager with so much data that they can’t encompass what it’s telling them. This means there will need to be a series of high-level dashboards as well as detailed drill down reports.

Applications such as Google Analytics fail in this regard because it's impossible to manage mass number of developmental projects effectively with them. The new platform should also encompass a set of business rules to bring forward only those developments that fall outside of the scope.

2.    Levers to alter the outcome
Any developments that are highlighted as requiring intervention must then provide a mechanism for the manager to have a meaningful impact. Afterall, what’s the point in highlighting a problem or opportunity if the manager can’t do anything about it?

These management impact factors are really, really hard to develop because there are so many possible variations for the multitude of business goals. Dashboards and reports sound really easy to develop until you start digging into them and viewing the huge number of possible permutations of the data.

In the end, I reduced the solution set down in size to a specific number of use cases to make it more manageable. This then formed the initial basis of the new platform I was building.

It’s been quite a journey coding, re-coding and thinking about the myriad of issues associated with development. I now have literally millions of domains on the platform with the ability to instantly change the look and feel of individual domains or a mass number of them. Although the backend user interface is reasonable it still lacks some of the automated levers that I would like to see.

Like all good development the platform is a work in progress but it’s well on the way to getting there.....so watch this space. I know that I've only alluded to a number of features but feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about what I'm working on.

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Thursday, 18 April 2019
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