Last December, we published an interview with the VP of Product & Engineering, Jason Silverstein, to wrap up Enom’s eventful year. In it, we teased some of our future plans, and since then, we’ve been incredibly excited to share the details with you, our partners and resellers.
Enom is investing heavily in the future of our industry. Over the last four months, we have added product designers, architects, and front-end engineers to the organization to evolve and, in some cases revolutionize, our products. Additionally, new leadership teams are in place—with personnel hailing from Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Expedia—bringing new perspectives and innovations to the company.
These changes in personnel signal the direction we’re taking, one which is constantly seeking to improve the experience for the partners, resellers, and developers working with us. “The needs and wants of the reseller channel are at the core of many of the improvements we’ll be making,” says Silverstein.
Now that we’re a couple of months into the year, we’d like to let the channel know where Enom stands, and where our 2016 roadmap will take us.
State of the union
Enom doesn’t exist without its partners. The union between our resellers and ourselves is the bedrock of what we do, and we’re always looking to strengthen that relationship. To that end, we’ve leveraged recently hired internal personnel that have worked for resellers, reached out through our account management team, and been working through an extensive outreach program to open a much more detailed conversation with various partners to get a better picture of where we stand and where we are going.
A lot of what we’re finding is very encouraging; developers are appreciative of our commitment to a fast, stable platform, which we’ve reinforced with the rollout of the improvements to our DNS last year. Our product, sales, and support teams continue to offer superior service to a wide range of customers, from brand buyers and hosting companies, to developers and end-users.
But obviously, the most helpful feedback often concerns what can still be improved in our product. The potential for improvement revolves around a few major elements we’ll be tackling in our 2016 roadmap: modernized, simplified API tools for developers, a completely new site rebuilt with these tools, and better sharing of our data analysis and communication for all of our partners.
Modernizing the API
About 80% of the domains Enom manages are handled via our API, so simplifying the integration process and improving developer experience has been a major theme for our operations. Industry-wide, reseller APIs have fallen behind more modern approaches, our own included. From our customer feedback, we see a great opportunity to make our tools a lot more seamless and efficient for resellers to manage.
With an API catalogue of over 1,000 commands built over several years, working with the platform can be daunting. “We need to focus on giving modern developers what they expect,” says Ray Winninger, Director of Product. “Currently, we’re making their lives more complicated than it needs to be.” We’re already streamlining this command list to make it easier to understand and manage. In addition, our product vision and roadmap commit to constant improvements to API security, stability, and scalability, as well as reforming our documentation practices to include more modern developer communities.
The most visible change over the next few months will be at Enom.com, which will be rolling out a cleaner, more modern design and architecture. This will include a new “widget” layer—a series of small, modular UI components—on top of the API which will allow developers to customize the platform’s functionality and their back-end experience. This is an important step for the channel because our partners will be able to leverage our widgets and incorporate them into their own platforms quickly and easily.
“Enom was formed at a much different time,” Silverstein says, “a period when building applications and connecting services for resellers often required much more engineering expertise than should be required today.” The new widget layer will allow resellers with less technical integration experience to work with our API without being forced to invest heavily in engineering resources as their only option.
Collecting and communicating data
The next big target for improvement on our roadmap is leveraging our analytics and sharing this information with our channel. Our goal is to help each of our partners improve their business by offering the vast insight into domains that we have gained over the years. There are many trends we see in the industry from better purchase funnels to sales techniques, to the types of domains customers are registering today. We can help communicate the industry’s best practices.
The push for better data gathering feeds into our efforts to better identify the types of individuals and organizations that work in the Enom ecosystem. The broad categories of “Retail Customer” and “Reseller” simply aren’t granular enough to be of much help in the highly complex domain industry.
As we continue to work through better understanding our resellers’ needs, we will be able to provide much more relevant information, and craft products and services that help drive our partners’ own objectives. Our goal this year is to define five (and eventually more) personas that engage with Enom—Retail Customers, Bulk Brands, Domainers, Affiliates, and Resellers.
This time next year
All of these features are already under development by teams composed of both new hires and Enom veterans. We intend to roll out these improvements to you over the course of several months, completing the bulk of the changes to the front- and back-end of our system by the end of the year. Each phase of the project will be well documented and communicated, so keep an eye out for those updates here on the blog, or through our newsletter.
Jason Silverstein anticipates that by this time in 2017, interfacing with our API will be easier than ever. “A good platform should be many things to many people. That flexibility continues to grow at Enom, and our customers will have opportunities they haven’t had before without having to spend heavily on development.” In the end, that is what all these changes are about: Having Enom invest upstream, so that partners, resellers, and developers won’t have to do the same downstream.
As we continue to execute on our 2016 roadmap, we are asking all of our partners to engage with us as we commit to modernizing and streamlining the platform. This means continuing to offer feedback on our products and services, an effort we promise to reciprocate with our undivided attention. Your input could be just as important to the future of the platform as any technical data we collect. The union between Enom and the channel is as strong as ever, and we feel the best is yet to come.
If you’d like to know more about our plans for 2016, or have any feedback about Enom’s direction, contact our sales team today.