Elliot Silverrecently quoted in a recent blog post that the value of numeric domains seem to have peaked in the past few months. Almost every broker or aftermarket newsletter is now featuring premium numeric domains for sale at increasingly higher prices.
I think there are several reasons for this peak in value:
Type The Music Name Here
The ability to quickly cash in on an asset considerably increase its value. If you add to this the buzz about bitcoins and other forms of virtual currencies you understand why numeric domains are becoming so popular. There are only a few domains that have this attribute, namely LL.com, LLL.com and CVCV.com – with numeric domains being the more “appraisable” ones. The current market FLOOR prices (using very conservative values) for these type of assets are:
- NN.com – $100k
- NNN.com – $15k
- NNNN.com – $2k
2. High Demand/Limited Supply
Numeric domains are sought after mostly by Chinese buyers – we can safely say that 80% of the players in this market come from China. The reason for this is because Chinese businesses have historically used numbers or pinyin versions of Chinese characters to brand their websites. English keyword domains are difficult to remember for native Chinese speakers, therefore most of the popular websites in China use numbers (eg 163.com) or pinyin (Baidu.com, Youku.com etc.). Add to this the limited supply of only 100 NN.com and 1000 NNN.com, then you can quickly understand the rising value.
3. Recent Transactions
We have seen quite an increase on the average price of numeric domains recently with some of the most notable transactions including:
- The domain name 1001.com sold for $100,000.
- Frank Schilling’s Name Administration sold 88888.com for $245,000.
- 114.com sold in early 2013 for 2.1 million dollars, getting in the top 5 disclosed transactions in 2013.
- 55.com to this date is the numeric domain sold at a highest price – $2.3 million in 2011.
0. The Number 0 (零 or 檸, Pinyin:líng or níng) is a whole number and it is also an even number for the money ends with 0.
2. The number 2 (二 or 两, Pinyin:èr or liăng) is most often considered a good number in Chinese culture. There is a Chinese saying: “good things come in pairs”. It is common to repeat characters in product brand names, such as double happiness, which even has its own character 囍, a combination of two 喜.
3. The number 3 (三, Pinyin: sān) sounds similar to the character for “birth” (生, Pinyin: shēng), and is considered a lucky number.
6. The number 6 represents wealth in Cantonese, this number is a homophone for (祿 Lok). 6 (六, Pinyin: liù) in Mandarin is pronounced the same as “liu” (溜, Pinyin: liù) and similar to “flow” (流, Pinyin: liú) and is therefore considered good for business.
7. The number 7 (七, Pinyin: qī) symbolizes “togetherness”. It is a lucky number for relationships. It is also recognized as the luckiest number in the West, and is one of the rare numbers that is great in both Chinese and many Western cultures. It is a lucky number in Chinese culture, because it sounds alike to the Chinese word 起 (Pinyin: qǐ) meaning arise, and also 气 (Pinyin: qì) meaning life essence.
8. The word for “eight” (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (發 – short for “發財”, Pinyin: fā). There is also a visual resemblance between two digits, “88”, and 囍, the “shuāng xĭ” (“double joy”), a popular decorative design composed of two stylized characters 喜 (“xĭ” meaning “joy” or “happiness”). The number 8 is viewed as such an auspicious number that even being assigned a number with several eights is considered very lucky. To give you an idea about the obsession that Chinese have with the number 8, here are a few interesting facts:
- Most airlines, including United Airlines, KLM, Air Canada, Cathay Pacific and Singapore airlines reserve their flight numbers starting with 8 for flights to Asian destinations, especially China and Korea.
- A telephone number with all digits being eights was sold for USD $270,723 in Chengdu, China.
- The opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing began on 8/8/08 at 8 seconds and 8 minutes past 8 pm local time (UTC+08).
- A man in Hangzhou offered to sell his license plate reading A88888 for RMB 1.12 million (roughly $164,000 USD).
- The Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia each have 88 Floors.
Even the online poker and casino operator 888 Holdings (owner of 888.com) chose its brand carefully to attract Asian gamblers.
9. The number 9 (九, Pinyin: jiŭ, jyutping: gau2), was historically associated with the Emperor of China, and the number was frequently used in matters relating to the Emperor. It also symbolizes harmony.
4. The number 4 has such a negative implication that Asians in general, and in particular Chinese, go as far to have a pathological fear called Tetraphobia. The reason is because the number 4 has the same sound of the word “death” (死 pinyin sǐ). Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the “4”. In East Asia, some buildings do not have a 4th floor. (Compare with the Western practice of some buildings not having a 13th floor because 13 is considered unlucky.). In Hong Kong, some high-rise residential buildings omit all floor numbers with “4”, e.g., 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors, in addition to not having a 13th floor.
5. Five (五, pinyin: wǔ, jyutping: ng5) is associated with “not” (Mandarin 無, pinyin wú, and Cantonese 唔). If used for the negative connotation it can become good by using it with a negative. Also, any number of repeated 5s: “五” (wǔ) sounds like an onomatopoeia for crying, and is sometimes used in internet slang to express unhappiness.
A few notes about the list:
- Numbers do not translate directly to Chinese characters. I use the term ‘translation’ loosely to refer to finding a meaningful Chinese phrase that rhymes with or sounds similar to a number (0-9) as pronounced in Mandarin. That means for a certain number, I may come up with a Chinese phrase that is different from the phrase another Chinese person may think of. While I have included one possible meaning for each number, multiple Chinese phrases are also possible for each number.
- The rhyming technique is not an exact science, but more of a creative skill. In this chart, some number to Chinese character pairs are almost an exact match when pronounced (e.g., 99 to
久久), but some are a bit more of a stretch (e.g., 43 to
时尚). The key to a successful rhyme is when consumers can remember a domain name because of its translation. If so, then the translation has succeeded in its purpose.
- This rhyming technique is not unique to the Chinese language. It can also apply to other languages, thus making numeric domain names very attractive for buyers all over the world. For example, the number 15 may translate to
要我(want me) in Chinese and
いちご(strawberry) in Japanese.
- For simplicity, the chart in this blog post covers only numbers from 0 to 99 (and 00-09), and it provides only one Chinese phrase for each number. However, you can visitmy websitefor more details, and for regular updates to the list of numbers. I plan to expand this list to 9999 because four-number .com domain names are popular in China.
- These translations are based on my understanding of the Chinese and English languages. Since I am not a linguist, some of my interpretations may be wrong. Your feedback will help me improve this chart.
Without further ado, here is the chart:
你我(You and I)
你发(You’ll be rich)
赢久(Win for a long time)
要赢(Want to win)
要乐(Want to have fun)
要发(Want to be rich)
爱赢(Love to win)
爱发(Love to be rich)
想赢(Want to win)
相爱(Love each other)
想走(Want to leave)
死赢(Win to death)
司仪(Master of ceremonies)
世世(Generation and generation)
世趣(Interesting things in life)
世霸(Tyrant of the world)
唯一(One and only)
玩钱(Play with money)
我发(I’ll be rich)
来赢(Come and win)
乐世(A generation of fun)
乐玩(Fun in play)
又发(Make a fortune again)
乐酒(Happy in drinking wine)
去发(Go and become rich)
千军(A thousand soldiers)
拜山(Sweep the graves of ancestors)
百乐(A hundred types of fun)
百艺(A hundred skills)
发发(Becoming ‘double’ rich)
伴酒(A drinking companion)
久赢(Win for a long time)
就医(Seek medical advice)
酒乐(Happy in drinking wine)
酒趣(Delight in drinking wine)
久久(A very long time)