I have phases with Twitter. Sometimes it feels like a resource of great knowledge. Sometimes I feel like it’s a big waste of time. However, on the 15th of November, I saw this tweet by@ndethore:
The tweet which started it all.
The thing is. At the time of his tweet, I was already working on bots for Telegram (namelyPushNotice.chat). A different bot from what Nicolas was asking for, but why not adapt what I had learned with bots while doing PushNotice and just create one that’s doing what he’s asking for?
I thought about the project, went to a networking event in Chiang Mai, Thailand and tried to distract myself: I already have many projects I am working on. Why would I want to put another on my plate? But I could not stop thinking about how fast I felt that this could be accomplished. It’s not rocket science. So… I sat myself down and started to make.
7 hours after I started this tweet went out
A mere 7 hours after I sat down coding that night (I sat down at 10 PM and hit deploy at 5 AM), it was done. A basic version of the domain expiration robot was live. Meet the Telegram bot@DomainWatchBot.
The challenge I have with all my mini projects. They seem so easy to do at the moment. And they are. The problem is: they tend to develop these weird things called bugs and incomplete features I’d like to see there. And I feel that I can’t really publicly announce the bot without.
After launching the first version of @DomainWatchBot, I was pleased with myself for being able to accomplish this feature set in just 7 hours. But I decided to put a little more time in, polish everything, and fix some of the issues that were reported to me.
The updated version was deployed December 1st (after procrastinating on this project for some time). One of the more exciting aspects is also the trick we often play in the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) world: incomplete features. The first version of the bot I deployed was able to check the expiration dates of domains. It also added domains to the watch list. But there actually was no robot in the background running in a regular manner to send the notifications. Something I often see: it’s not 100% necessary as you can still do that manually for some time. And once there are users you can implement the automation.
🔭DomainWatch.CLUB— Stats 📈
👨💻 Time Spent: 10 hours
🕵️♂️ Users Registered: 10
🤖 Domains Watching: 28
I am pleased with this result. Considering that I only published the bot in the amazing but relatively nicheWIP.chat. This is where the work begins. The process of making the bot was a hobby, fun, an exploration of a new technology (checking domain expiration dates and Telegram bots for me). But marketing? It’s the one thing that I have been putting off again and again. Not anymore.
I talked about the project. But what exactly is @DomainWatchBot and what does he do?!
As mentioned above, the idea was sparked by a tweet by@ndethore. He was looking for a chatbot that’s notifying you about his expiring domains. Based on the tweet I understood that it’s about the emails from the registrar getting lost. And about having too many domains which you may or may not want to auto-renew.
So I made that bot. You talk to him via Telegram, and there are just a handful of commands.
First, you can
/check your-domain.comwhich will tell you the expiration date of said domain.
You can also
/add your-domain.comwhich - who would have thought - adds the domain to your watchlist and will send you a notification 30, 10, 5, 3, 1 days before it expires.
Then there are the
/listcommands, to delete a domain form the watch-list and to show the watch-list in its totality.
And that’s it, simple, and minimalist. MVP.
Starting projects like these is interesting and motivating. I don’t know what the future might hold for it, but there are tons of ideas surrounding this project. And there is a lot of potential in the bot space. But one of the reasons to build MVP projects is to see what might become of it. See how you — the community — reacts to new projects and implementations.
I collected a lot of feedback. Integration to sell domains if they are not used enough. Maybe integrating into the API of services that actually offer this kind of functionality to automatically put a domain for sale if it’s not used after a certain amount of time.
And also found out that the way people can use this is not just to track the domains they already own, but rather domains that one might want to buy if they ever expire without being auto-renewed by the current owner.
So for now: I don’t know. I am ready to hear your feedback. Open to suggestions. And I am definitely looking forward to more users on the bot. That’s the most exciting part.