theWebb.blog

Stick around for a bit

posted in developmentproject on

BeachfrontDigital is a domain portfolio management tool I built and launched late last year. To quote the "About" page:

BeachfrontDigital is me scratching my own itch and taking cues from The 7 Day Startup. I buy domains on a regular basis and often from more than one registrar. As a result, I tend to forget I have some domains! True story, I ran a WHOIS search on a domain I own, a couple months ago. Terrible. 😩

The name is a result of a conversation I had with co-workers about how domain names are like the premium waterfront properties of the 80s. Of course, the domain beachfront.digital was available so I snagged it ASAP.

Since launching BD in October, I've made updates here and there and it seemed like I was going to get valuable feedback from early beta testers who assured me they would sign up at $6/year instead of the regular $11/year price...turns out, nobody wanted to beta test and my messages were ignored. Was it because of the upfront cost? Was it because I didn't have a bunch of features fleshed out? I'll never know. However, of the friends I reached out to for feedback Wojtek Witkowski was the only one who got back to me. Through him and a prospective customer/commenter on Hacker News, I learned a few things:

  • I wasn't offering anything that a spreadsheet couldn't handle.
  • $6/year was still too much to charge for someone who has <10 domains.
  • To make charging for my service palatable, I'd need to create a sync system for registrars.
    • Not all registrars have public APIs (see: Hover).
    • There are so many registrars. It's not cost-effective to maintain syncing for each.
    • Creating a sync system based on undocumented APIs like some people have done with Hover is a terrible idea. Undocumented APIs means they can break at any moment.

For these reasons and more, I have decided to make BeachfrontDigital free when V2 goes live. I'm currently working on a stock photography site for people of color so upgrades and changes to BD will occur in March (when I'm not playing my Nintendo Switch, hehe). I also plan to update the site with a visual style reminiscent of the 80s. Here's how the site used to look:

First version of BeachfrontDigital

Here's how it looks now:

Second version of BeachfrontDigital

As you can see, the styling went from pretty cool (the logo was levitating and the background grid moved as well) to extremely sterile. Nothing's wrong with a sterile look, that's what this blog looks like, haha! But for something with the URL beachfront.digital, it could stand to look a bit more impressive.

A key missing feature is the ability to import your domains. If you've already got a method to organize your domains and you want to use BeachfrontDigital, you sure wouldn't want to type everything again right? Hell no, who has time for that?! I intend to make the wishlist feature more robust, as well as the personal analytics. For example, I'm paying $2027 for 75 domains per year 😅. Anyhoo, watch this space and @BeachfrontD on Twitter for updates. 🕸

Signature of the most fantabulous Paul Anthony Webb