Francois Carrillo is best known for the creation of Domaining.com, the go-to news aggregator in the Domain Investing world. If you look at other industries like affiliate marketing, SEO, startups, etc. there is nothing like this. This one site has without a doubt changed the Domain Investing space forever and I’d venture a guess that it is the most-visited site in the industry.
Francois has continued to innovate with Domaining.com adding things like user accounts, seamless sponsored advertising, and great options for customizing the feeds that you see. Sure, Francois could have probably just launched v1 of the site and never iterated but like a true entrepreneur he is always doing things to make the experience better for the user.
Look at any successful startup and you’ll see iteration as one of the key factors to their success. Iteration isn’t easy, it involves studying user behavior, paying someone to write code, testing, fixing bugs, the list goes on. It’s a lot less work to iterate and many sites lose their luster by failing to iterate and provide more and more for their users. Iterate in the right direction and you build brands that stick.
However, like many entrepreneurs one project is not enough and Francois went on to build Cax.com. This domain sales and auction platform made a major innovation, they provided price valuations for each domain, along with an expected ROI. Of course many investors are weary of valuations and just want the data itself, and Cax has that too. Like Domaining.com Francois has continued to iterate with Cax adding seamless integration into eCop.com, an innovate escrow service that Francois also created.
Earlier this year Francois released Dofo.com, a tool to aggregate all the different services Domainers use all in one place. I use Dofo everyday and don’t quite know how I live so long going from site to site. Once again, Francois looked at what sites Domain Investors use and made a free tool that we’re certain to see continue to iterate over time.
Now Francois has taken another step forward with Dona.com, a Domain Registar with twist, UDRP insurance. Once again Francois is paying attention to what is going on in the space, and seeing UDRP’s spiraling out of control, he’s created a one of a kind solution.
Francois doesn’t just build brands, he builds brands that stick, and he does this by studying the market, his users, and building what they want. Then he continues to innovate so that users are consistently delighted by new features that make their experience better. When you’re building a brand, or two, or ten you have to be so careful not to stop innovating and even more importantly, to pay attention to the user.
The Domaining space has seen a lot of brands come and go, some stick some don’t. Francois is batting 1000% right now making brands that stick and solid customer development and continual iteration is a key reason for his success. Whether you’re building a brand in the Domaining space, the mobile space, or any other niche out there you can learn a lot from watching what Francois does. Hats off to Francois for making Dona.com, another great innovation in our space, as always I’ll be watching, learning, and using this and many of his new brands to come.