Introduces Star System

Subscribe to Elliot's has introduced a new “star system” on the platform.   Initially, bloggers who had a star next to their post received this by having a link to on their blog.   The new star system is as follows according to an email from site owner Francois Carrillo:

1 star: You are showing a wide site link to in your site.
1 star: You are showing a ‘Domaining Award’ in your pages visible without having to scroll.
1 star: you are no longer a free member, you paid the annual membership.
1 star: you are part of the top 5 bloggers having created the most headlines these past 30 days.

While I don’t think the system will get me to pay for a membership or put a domaining banner above the fold in lieu of a paying advertiser, I do think it’s a pretty neat idea. I also think it’s interesting for everyone in the industry to note how difficult it can be to generate revenue from a developed website. has become very popular and widely visited by many people, but in my view, turning eyeballs into dollars has been elusive thus far.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Francois just needs to partner up with the right people and offer services on his site that people will pay for. A domain auction system for premium names, longer duration on the paid listings, and whatever else. His prices are pretty steep too. Sometimes more ads, lower cost, will bring in revenue. A star system is neat, but a bit elementary. Maybe next he’ll post the names of the blogs on a virtual refridgerator with an A+ next to the title along with the age of the domainer. In crayon. Joking, we wish him the best, it’s an interesting case study considering he can’t monetize the site.

  2. if I understand it correct…the more you post on your blog youll be shooting for a top five spot?
    yikes, here comes the avalanche


    Highly unlikely. I don’t think the small incremental traffic possiblility by adding a star will be worth the added time it takes to write additional blog posts.

  3. I think all this negative publicity surrounding being unable to monetize the site is just hurting its brand more and more every day.

    I will approach the monetization issue differently, not in public.


    I disagree because has a great service and a strong brand. I think it’s a great example of the difficulty of turning a great domain name into a great website into a money making website. While I am sure its not the intention of Francois, it is a good lesson for us all. I do hope Francois is able to find a very happy medium.

  4. I want to see nothing but good things happen for Francois and the website and my fellow domainer bloggers, but I don’t see how a star system will benefit readers or assure them of authoritative, quality content. Actually, the star thing is a silly idea that may ultimately lead to confusion. Anyone with more stars will have the appearance of more credibility, when in all reality this may not be true. I’ve never been a fan of this kind of stuff.

    What would be helpful to see implemented and that might bring more user participation and value to, would be simple ‘thumbs up’ and ‘thumbs down’ buttons. I’m sure it’s been thought of before, but a feature like this could allow readers to show support for the posts that they really like by voting their posts up, and likewise to vote down the posts that they really dislike.

    More usability is what needs, not more competition. This is the only thing that will motivate me to become a paid subscriber and maybe even write a little more often. Until then I have no problem being a single star member.

  5. E,

    I would say he has one of the most difficult markets to monetize. Unfortunately, Domainers are some of the cheapest businessmen/women on the planet. Unreal when you think how much they spend annually in this business. Even the small time guy spends at least $100 a month, but is not willing to pay a small amount for a service. Domain registration is about it.

    You really can not compare the difficulty of development/monetizing a site in general with This a niche market with domainers who want everything for free, but yet want to charge $XX,XXX for their domains. =)

    Monetizing Syndicated feeds in this business has proven to be very difficult.

    What is fantastic about this journey, is we get to witness first hand how Cybertonic transforms their business plan on to generate revenue streams in a very difficult market. There is no doubt in my mind that will become a major cash cow for Francois.

  6. I was actually thinking it was going to work something along the lines of what Jamie said when I first read the title — I certainly think that would be more beneficial for readers.

    And yes, I certainly agree with you Elliot that it’s hard work making money from developed sites and wish Francois all the best.

  7. I don’t see the value/usefullness here, either.

    But…Francois deserves credit for at least trying different things. What works (i.e. generates more income; while maintaining high site quality), he can keep. What doesn’t, he can drop.

    As we all need to remember that, when it comes to working on/with the Internet, all the answers are not known.

    Only by testing can they be determined.

  8. The basic problem with’s approach, in my opinion, is that they want as many people as possible exposed to the domains that they list. But by only showing those domains to people that pay a subscription to, they hurt the domain sellers (and their own cut of sales) by reducing the number of potential buyers.


  9. Francois has built a very nice site, I love checking it out everyday. I think he is going about monetizing the site the wrong way, he needs to find some long term ad partners with deep pockets.

  10. This is an interesting idea – You totally understand what Francois is doing partnering up more with the top bloggers to hopefully win more people to

    I just still cant see why anyone would $25 to see some domains that are for sale and list domains etc…

    I really want to surrive and I understand Francois has bills to pay like everyone else so maybe we should all come up with other ideas to help Francois get this steady stream of revenue and stop this $25 charge.



  11. I love it how people who have never ran a developed site or an online business in their life throw in their opinions and quick to start rambling.

    You know who you are 😉

    It’s really besides the point, but I would like to say that Francois deserves some due credit for working hard around the clock on the concept and further promoting the domain industry in ways that were not being utilizied before, and it is still in it’s early days… All of the potential is there. So, anybody expecting stuff to happen overnight — well, you can dream on. That is not how it works. It takes a while… Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.



  12. Francois is trying and trying hard. This we should all applaud.
    It is not easy like someone else has allready mentioned, to make money off a site or to run a full fledged site. From t he look of Domaining, it is easy to decipher that Francios more often than not, works round the clock.
    If you have well meanning suggestions, you can offer it to him on his suggestions box. He listens.

  13. As a long time domain developer, since the early 90s, we can really relate to the struggles of anyone trying to monetize a domain. We have had two domains be #1 & #2 in their respective online category and completely dominate their space, but never have been big money winners. We finally had to look outside of them, but to their ancillary products & services that would be profitable. We got lucky there, but that’s sometimes the route you have to go and just leverage the domains into something profitable.

    The G. Man
    President of NexMillenia
    “An Internet & Digital Media Firm into the NexMillenia!”

  14. I totally back what Steve Morales says. Domainers are tough to convert monetarily. There are ways but you have to find the right angle. The alternative is to expand beyond domainers into associated services as G Man says. Francois is trying hard and i think it will happen for him sooner or later.

  15. Making money or not his site is a great service. He needs to expand his offerings besides selling domains and promoting parking sites. Offer tools or promote sites via affiliate programs for domainers on the developmental path such as newsletter (constantcontact..etc.) brandable options such as ning , Widgets,.Marketing and advertising..etc. Research and find tools that would help your domainers move forward via affiliates. Start their I guess and move forward someday to offer your own solutions. (I hastily write and very rarely look back at what I wrote.

  16. Making money or not his site is a great service. He needs to expand his offerings besides selling domains and promoting parking sites. Offer tools or promote sites via affiliate programs for domainers on the developmental path such as newsletter (constantcontact..etc.) brandable options such as ning , Widgets,.Marketing and advertising..etc. Research and find tools that would help your domainers move forward. Start their I guess and move forward someday to offer your own solutions. (I hastily write and very rarely look back at what I wrote.

  17. WTH ! I did end up quickly looking over what i wrote and took out affiliates cause it was said redundantly (wonder if that’s a real word) Anyways I find out I couldn’t delete my first post After I posted the second. Oh well its not like I’m writing on paper and killing trees.


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