Domain search company wants to make it easier to find domains to register or buy.
Finding aftermarket domain names is difficult. The two big domain marketplaces, Sedo and Afternic, don’t have search functions that help domain investors find domains that fit their metrics.
Dofo is trying to change that. I asked Dofo Founder & CEO Macit Tuna via email how his site can help domain investors and end users find available domains on the primary market and aftermarket. This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Domain Name Wire: What is your background with domains and what’s the origin of Dofo?
Tuna: I started to be interested in domain names at the beginning of the 2000s. At first, it was just a hobby to check if a domain name was available or not. I wasn’t buying domain names, only making lists in Excel and checking their availability when I could use the Internet. Then I started to register domain names, then buy a few domain names for our own projects with my brother, Sacit.
After seeing the potential of buying and selling domain names, I started investing in domain names, of course, with a limited budget at that time. I also started a blog about domaining in 2007 and published more than 200 articles in Turkish. I also gave some courses in the universities about domain names and domain name disputes.
Starting from the 2010s, I was more interested in domain name related products other than buying and selling domain names. I built my own mini-programs to check domain name availability, expiring domain names, etc. At that time, I was thinking about making something big, that covered all domain names, marketplaces, expiring domain names, whois, etc. Of course, building something like that is not so easy: you have to have a very talented team, a high budget/fund, and more importantly the patience. Thank God, we could gather all we needed together and started to build Dofo. Because we are dealing with enormous data, it was not easy to build and maintain something like that. Now, although there are still many things to do, Dofo is working well and used by thousands of people every day.
DNW: Would you say your site is geared to end-users or investors?
Tuna: We want to show to the end-users how it’s easy to search and find the domain names they want. It might sound interesting, but most of the end-users still don’t know how to check if a domain name is registered or not. They don’t know there are more than 30 million domain names listed for sale on marketplaces. We know that without reaching the end-users and raising awareness, it’s impossible to see the real potential of the domain name industry.
Of course, targeting the end-users doesn’t mean the domain investors don’t use Dofo.com. There are hundreds of domain investors using dofo.com every day. We need more support from the domain investors and the industry players, especially from the bloggers.
DNW: What do you think about the current state of search for aftermarket domain names?
Tuna: I want to answer this question by explaining what we are doing to make search easier and better on Dofo. We tested almost a hundred different user interfaces and search functionalities. We did a lot of research to serve a better user experience to our users. We read UX reports dedicated to search; some of them were consisting of more than one hundred pages. We asked our users, and we analyzed the search filters’ usage to make the search better.
Search is and should be the most crucial feature of any domain marketplace, and if the search fails, everything fails. Because most of the domain marketplaces’ websites are not newly developed, the searches don’t generally satisfy the customers’ expectations.
We are trying to keep search as simple as possible while we provide advanced filters. On Dofo, you can filter domain names by:
- extension and extension type (gTLD – ccTLD)
- price (min-max)
- keywords (contain, start with, end with, exact match, not contain)
- sale type (buy now, make offer, auction, available soon/backorder)
- length (min-max)
- special characters (letter, number, hyphen: include-exclude)
- IDN (include-exclude)
- domain create date (min-max date)
- language (still beta)
People search for keywords in general, but we also give the opportunity to filter whatever they want. I also use Dofo’s search to find good domain names for our new products.
DNW: How do you get access to inventory information from marketplaces such as Afternic and Sedo? It seems that they don’t provide a feed of their inventory.
We made partnerships with almost all domain marketplaces such as Sedo, Uniregistry Market, and Afternic. We are listing the inventory of sixteen marketplaces on Dofo, as of May 2020.
Each marketplace has its own method to share the inventory data. Dofo is one of the members of Afternic’s Reseller Network, and we get a daily data feed for the domains listed on Afternic. We are also a member of the SedoMLS Platinum Program. Although Sedo doesn’t provide a data feed, they give access APIs to check if a domain name is listed on Sedo.
It’s not easy to make an integration with all the marketplaces, but we do this. We update the marketplace data daily.
DNW: What features do you have in the pipeline?
There are still so many things to do.
We started to focus more on Dofo Blog and we publish several articles every week. Dofo Blog will always have the top priority. I should also mention that we appreciate what you have been doing at DNW for the past 15 years. DNW has become the memory of the domain industry and has become an essential resource for anyone interested in domain names.
One of the most important features we want to add to Dofo is a User Dashboard. Our users will be able to follow domain names and will be get notified whenever any change occurs about a domain name: whois update, on sale status change, etc. For example, follow a domain name and get notified if this domain name is listed for sale on any marketplace. Or follow your own domain names to keep track of whois changes.
We already launched The Lists feature, but it’s not fully functional yet. You will be able to create your own list, and you will also be able to follow lists. Lists are pre-defined searches created by us for you. For example, in “4N COM Domains For Sale List”, the four-letter .com domain names for sale are listed. You can check the “Bitcoin Domain Names For Sale” list if you are looking for bitcoin domain names.
We have created the very first version of Dofo Browser Extension. We will add more features to it soon. For now, it shows if the visited domain name or any similar domain is for sale in any marketplace.
We are discussing creating a mobile application with our team. But because the mobile web version of Dofo is good enough, we don’t feel a hurry to create it.
Translating Dofo into other languages is also what we will work on in the next few months. Keyword Popularity Tool and Smart Domain Finder for Startups are the other things we are discussing.