CATEGORY: Development

The Latest: Updates to Account Management, DNS Management and Account Settings

Our dev team makes it rain positive change, although they cringe at being called “Rainmen” (yet you should see them play cards.) They’ve been cranking out web goodness and have made the following improvements:

  • Added more templates to the DNS management page,
  • Updated the account contacts & Domain contacts page,
  • Added more options to the Email Domains tool,
  • Added a way to stop a transfer from going out and
  • Updated account settings page.
More Details:
As Product Manager Shannon says, “We pushed another exciting update to account management. There is now an Account Settings page where users can edit their contacts, enable or disable renewal notices, and edit default nameservers. Users could always do this stuff but it had previously been part of the Account Contacts page. This is what it looks like:
Meanwhile, Smitty, who’s in dev, heralded the nameserver changes:

This morning we are pushing an update to the nameserver management page.  Customers will now be able to select nameserver templates from a dop down.  The templates are dynamically generated nameserver groups based upon the nameservers that the customer is currently using for all other domains in the account.  Please let us know if you notice anything out of the ordinary.
And this with some interesting new terminology:
Dear All,
Today we are deploying the new contact management pages.  All of the previous domain/account contact management functionality is still intact, only with a slicker, cooler, more manageable, form validator-able, tabable upgrade!  Most notably, we have integrated Google’s phone number validation library, which should help international customers get those pesky phone numbers updated correctly.  As always, please let us know if you run into any issues.
See “tabable” in action…
And here’s a note from P-Fro in dev about the transfer cancel feature:
Hey Friends,

We’ve just pushed a feature where customers can cancel a transfer out of from the domain management page…
To come: Revamp of domains list page that will include new features like a ways to search and categorize/group domain names.

Sync Domain Expiration Dates: Harmonize Your Domain Name Renewal

So Nick in dev made the exciting announcement about how you can now sync your domain name expiration dates. But before I pushed it live to the blog, I wanted to make sure he’d included everything…

Renew your domains all on the same date

That about sums up the experience: Ultimate User Enjoyment. Nick explains:

Friends, Romans, Countrymen, and Legend (you know who you are),

We’re rolling out a new tool that will allow users to sync the expiration dates for their various domains. As of right now, this option is only available for .com and .net domains (sorry Henrik, you can’t sync your .se domains just yet).

On the page, the user will be able to select the new expire date, then select the domains that they want to have that new expiration date. Then, they must hit “Apply” for those sync products to be added to the cart. It will not allow the sync date to be before the current expiration date, or further out than 10 years (70 dog years) from the date of the sync, not the date of the current expiration date. The pricing is $1.15 per sync month, and if the sync is longer than a year, the users domain will be sync’d to the correct date of the year current, and then renewed until the desired expiration date is achieve. I really hope this makes sense and doesn’t come across a Jared-esque rant.

Please, let me know if you have any questions.

Please do let us know if you have any questions. You can hit us on Twitter or Facebook, or engage with our legendary customer support.

And there IS one more thing:

sync domain names expiration dates

Developer Tip: Look at your work from a different angle. Literally.

Patrick “P-Mo” Moroney made an important, game-changing observation: Code is longer than it is wide.

Stuff’s about to get real. dev team going vertical with monitor

P-Mo goes vertical.






















Necessary toolage:

Xrandr to set the size and orientation of the screen

Swivel desk mount

Optional for Awesomeness:

Gentoo Linux on Macbook

X Windowing System

X Monad Window Manager

Developer tips and tricks



















Don’t let the dainty plate and tea cup fool you. This is extreme.

Easy Vs. Right – MVP will give you both!

This post is about Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. This little acronym gets tossed around a lot here at, because we like innovation. Innovation is a wonderful thing, but it can be somewhat of an organizational nightmare for product management.

Our process goes like this: We decide that we want to add a new feature to a product or the website, but we’re not entirely sure how it’s going to work. We get a bunch of idea-driven stakeholders in a room, and we brainstorm about the feature. Suddenly we have 26 features that are all totally awesome, and we’re going to fit them all into one scoping document and one sprint to be finished in the next 2 weeks with only one developer working on it.

Board of directors discuss minimum viable product

And that’s how Homer came up with PageZen.

Oh, and it won’t need any testing either. This is GREAT! All the stakeholders leave the meeting feeling warm and fuzzy about the events that just transpired. We have so many neat ideas, and we can’t wait to see how they turn out.

It’s only once it’s in writing that we realize what is quite obvious to an outsider. All of these ideas are awesome! We can accomplish each and every one of them. It’s just going to take our entire development team 4 months. This is where MVP comes in. What can we push out in the shortest period of time with the minimum amount of development that will still be of value to the user?

We go back and forth until we strike that balance, and when it’s all said and done we have a solid spec that can be completed in one sprint by one developer. The agile process will tackle the testing, and we push the 23 other features to the back burner. They’re not in the sprint, but they’re not forgotten either. They’re hanging out in the development team’s backlog, waiting for iterative development to pick them up.

Analyzing and trying to produce an MVP is not only good for iterative development, it’s a solid business decision as well. We think we know what our customers want and sometimes we do, but sometimes we are way off base. Getting a product out the door and allowing your customers to bang on it allows you to track its desirability and also ask for their feedback on the features they want to see. You might be surprised to find that the features they want are nowhere in your list that landed in the backlog.

A Product Manager’s Guide to Developer Diplomacy

Greetings! Shannon the Product Manager here, talking to you today about the mystical and fascinating creature that is the Web Developer. It’s no secret; I spend a lot of my time in the developers’ den trying to comfort and sway developers into action without stepping on too many toes. It’s a delicate line, and I walk it quite well.

Where other Marketing Agents have fought valiantly and failed, I have succeeded. How? I’ll tell you right now. I have 10 fundamental rules that, as a whole, comprise the “Shannon Brown Theorem of Developer Diplomacy”

The web developer in his natural habitat

1) Write a detailed spec for the project that they’re working on. Make sure you know every nook and cranny of the document and be ready and willing to tackle any issue that pops up. Don’t leave them hanging.

2) Listen to them when they tell you why something cannot or should not be done. This way, when you continue to bring impossible ideas up, and they simply say, “That doesn’t live in the CMS,” you know what they mean. They hate repeating themselves, and they hate the feeling that you’re not paying attention to them.

3) Every so often, visit and familiarize yourself with the content. If you see something really good, forward it along. For instance, this is Owen’s favorite GIF. Just thinking about it brings a sparkle to his eye. Yes, they will ask you why you don’t visit Reddit. Just say, “the UI is awful!” and roll your eyes. This works every time.

4) When interacting with 3rd party vendors, ask them specific questions about the issues they’re running into and then take care of the communication for them. They are here to write righteous code, not tedious emails.

Everyone loves beer!

5) Give them beer. Delicious, frothy, amazing beer. From a kegerator. In the developers’ den. Be sure to reference this beer any time that you can get away with it in every day conversation. It also helps to randomly have strong opinions about types of beer, for instance, “this stout is good, but it’s sooo dark. I prefer IPAs”

6) Ask questions like “which is easier to code?” and “how will that interact with the rest of the system?” when they present you with a problem and several proposed solutions to the problem.

7) Ask their opinion about features and functionality before it lands in a finalized spec. This is much easier to say than it is to do.

8 ) Every so often give them a week where they don’t have to adhere to the sprint, and they can work on whatever they want, one developer at a time. You might be surprised at what you get.

9) Test their work thoroughly and provide detailed feedback in a reasonable time frame. Make sure your expectations for remediation are realistic. Don’t push a list of bugs at them and insist that they are resolved in the next 18 seconds. That’s silly, and they’re not going to like it. They’re bummed enough as it is about the bugs.

10) Laugh at their jokes, even if they’re geeky. Don’t kid yourself, they’re funnier than you are.

Agile Development- A Brief Introduction to Scrum

A Shield a Developer Can Hide Behind

If you’ve ever worked in software or web development odds are that you’ve heard the word scrum thrown around a couple hundred times. Whether you use it or not, you know it exists and you know someone who is on an Agile/Scrum development team who has a lot of opinions about it. I understand that not all of our blog readers have worked in software or web development, so it might seem like I’m talking in another language, or about rugby at the very least.

Let’s take a step back. What is Scrum? Scrum is a software life cycle methodology that development teams use to plan projects in small chunks. In Scrum the development team works as, well, a team. Projects are broken down into “stories,” which are then put through an estimation process by the team. The goal of the estimation process is to get everyone on the team to agree about the workload – “points” of the story, which is then planned into a “sprint” – a cycle where the development team attempts to complete all of the stories planned into it based on the average number of points the team has been able to complete in past sprints.

This is what happens in waterfall development

The ultimate goal of Agile/Scrum development is to deliver features in pieces that people can actually test and use in smaller pieces that build on top of each other. It differs from the traditional school of thought, waterfall development, which is basically like shooting in the dark at moving targets as the floor gives way beneath your feet. Imagine having a big project that has so many technical specifications and functional requirements that the scope of work is 170 pages long and the projected timeline is 6-8 months before completion. Needless to say, waterfall development leads to complications because everything was written and scoped out up front, making it difficult for teams to adapt when something doesn’t go according to plan.

Dave McBreen, our resident Scrum Master / Wizard

Scrum is more than just breaking large projects into smaller ones. It is essentially a push-and-pull relationship between development and marketing. This epic battle is fought between the Scrum Master who is in charge of maintaining the scrum process and ensuring that the development team swallows the work they bite off, and the Product Owner (yours truly), who constantly attempts to force work into the sprint. Eventually a duel occurs between the two of us. Dave usually wins, because the points don’t lie.

A typical Scrum Master/ Product Owner duel at

So that’s scrum. We use it here at, and we’re getting pretty darn good at it if I do say so myself. If you’re in the world of web or software development I recommend at least giving Scrum a chance. You can find out more about it by watching this video.




SEO Series Part 2: Why Link Structure is So Important!

(If you’ve just shown up, click here for Part I of the SEO How-to Series. And welcome)

Links = Votes!

Links as votes is a helpful analogy to remember. Basically, if Page A links to Page B, then Page A is casting a vote that Page B is relevant to the keywords used in the link text or anchor text connecting the 2 pages (example: in the link to at the end of this sentence the “link text” or “anchor text” is domain name). In addition, votes can be stronger or weaker depending on factors like overall trust of the link, PageRank of the page it came from, and even how significant the relationship between Page A and Page B is.

In other words, the more votes that Page B gets, the higher the likelihood it will rank higher for keywords. The more internal links you provide that point to any given page on your site, the more opportunities there are for that page to rank highly for its targeted keywords. Here are three important internal “link structures” and some simple tactics to optimize them.

1. Global Navigation – The template for global navigation (including home page alt tag) is one of the most elemental starting points for SEO. This is especially true for large sites because the more pages your site has, the more votes the global navigation template is providing for you. This is not to say that you need to have lots of pages. By putting the right keywords in global navigation links like the drop-down menu, your site is more likely to get credit for any internal links. That’s why indexing the links is both important and helpful.

2. Link subsets – There can be any set of links existing on the page template which specifically targets page groups with targeted keyword phrases. This is an ideal vehicle for creating that ever-important link connectivity to the high priority pages. Typically, this is in the footer area or on the right column of the page. Sites may have buckets for “Related Topics” or “Most Popular Pages” or a similar subset which is both related to the main link and relevant. Look at the Footer for an example of how this is done.

3. Navigate the breadcrumbs – Breadcrumb navigation is an internal link structure that can enhance SEO; especially for any sub-pages that are not linked by global navigation. Any links appearing in the global navigation template will typically occur in the source code before any breadcrumb navigation or content links. This means that global navigation links supersede any other links on the page. Mainly because most search engines (like Google) only count the first link found in the source code between Page A and Page B. Any breadcrumb navigation links must be keyword focused as the primary purpose of them, SEO-wise, is to link to any pages outside of the global navigation template.

Remember that the main purpose for all three of these types of link structures is to direct users to the right information. When the link structures are keyword focused, it aids search engines and users in finding the relevant information.

hello world

We are about to do three things that should make you happy:

1- Make the site much, much easier to use. We’re systematically going through the site page by page, click by click, and making it simpler. You deserve that.

2- Give our current customers lots of new friends, so they can look back and say that all the new guys are just “jumping on the bandwagon” and that “we were customers of before everyone knew about them.” Hey, it’s cool to be first. We’re going to help make sure the whole world knows how cool you are.

3- Help you. We work hard to make sure we have what you need, but this year we’re taking it to the next level. From video tutorials and guides on every page to educational blog content to 24 hour support (this will be the last half of the year… takes a while to staff!), this is going to be a banner year… for both of us.

That’s why the title of this blog post is “hello world.” In much the same way that those words marked the start of something great, something that would eventually change not only the world but the way we live our daily lives’85 this year is the start. The start of making the internet even easier, the start of getting the word out about our legendary support, the start of as a household name’85 the start of something great.

hello world… here we come.