Thousands of domainers from all over the world go to ExpiredDomains.net to search for deals. If you’re like me you visit the site every single day. With scores of filters and options it’s the premier website for sifting through dozens of marketplaces and TLD’s to find treasure amidst the trash. But surprisingly, less than 15% of its millions of monthly page views originate from the USA. Lastly, the most amazing aspect of the site is that it is completely, 100% free!
For these reasons I see Marco Schmidt, the owner and developer of the site, as one of the unsung heroes of the domaining industry. I thought it was time he came out of the IT closet to meet the people he so generously serves.
Hi Marco! Thanks for agreeing to this interview.
First, if you don’t mind. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I think our readers would enjoy hearing about your background, your career and your interests outside of domaining.
I’m from Berlin, Germany. I work as a system administrator, but my passion is software development and that is what I do for fun in my spare time. Finding easy solutions for complex problems and if possible automating them is what I like to do. That is why domains are perfect for me. You can automate almost everything.
What is your personal approach to domaining and what kinds of domains do you own and sell?
I’m not actually a domainer. I own a couple of domains, but I only buy domains if I have a project idea. I never sold a domain in my life, so nothing to share.
Wow, that’s interesting. I just assumed you were a domainer because your website is a domainer’s paradise. When and why did you start it?
The project started in 2008 on a different domain and only for .de domains. At that time I knew very little about domains and lost one in a transfer. Back then you could delete a .de domain and one second later register it again. No redemption, no pending delete. Transferring a .de domain involved faxing stuff and that all sounded very complicated to me. So I deleted the domain and tried to register it again immediately. Well surprise, surprise it was already registered by someone else.
I was, of course, not happy about that, but I also wanted to know how they’d done it. So I looked into it and a couple of months later I had my own system for detecting deleted .de domains. I was more interested in how the site would work rather than buying domains so I published the site. Over time I’ve added more and more options. That is how it started, and no, I never got my .de domain back.
That’s a great story. The domain that got away. I can relate to that experience. Now, your website has a lot of features. For someone who is new to your site what’s the best way to learn about what it has to offer?
First, users should sign up! It’s free and you have a lot more options after you log in. The second step is to read my “welcome to the member area” post that outlines the very basics. After that you should be able to use the website.
My goal is to have a simple front end that explains itself and does not need a lengthy guide. Of course that is not always possible and sometimes I struggle with explaining things. As a developer I have the problem that building the back end is exciting, but explaining it to users is boring. But I’m working on that, and you can always just contact me if you have any questions.
As you’ve mentioned your site is a free service. How is the site funded? Do you monetize it in any way?
It was never my intention to make a profit with the project. The technical challenge is far more important to me. However servers are not free, even if they’re good quality, and especially if they’ve got a specific quirk like Perth colocation (to name one example), so I’m using some affiliate links to help cover the costs.
What do you see in the future for your website? Are you satisfied with it now? Or do you foresee additional options and features?
I’m satisfied with it, but it will never be finished. I have a huge to-do list consisting of many suggestions and ideas. That list will keep me busy for years to come.
For example in the expired/deleted domains part of my website I want more TLDs. I already support TLDs that you can’t find anywhere else, but there are still a lot more I have yet to add.
The second big part is the marketplace lists. I’m always annoyed that I have to check a multitude of websites when searching and I have to repeat the process every time to see if something new is available. That’s a huge waste of time and effort so I’m trying to automate the process on my website. I want to combine as many marketplaces as possible into one search. So making repeat searches easier is another one of my goals.
Of course adding more domain data to sort by and filter is always an ongoing project. Also if I ever reach a point where I have nothing else to do, I can always make it faster right?
Yea, people do like everything fast these days.
Well, thanks for spending this time with me, Marco.
Your contributions to the domaining community are immense. On behalf of all the domainers who benefit from your web service, danke sehr!
Here’s this week’s list of brandable domains for sale at NameJet: