Grandseeds

I'm puzzled by the prices of numeric domains


November 2, 2019 (Sat). Travis at DSAD provides a good service by reporting domain auction prices daily. By using dotDB and Google search, I can roughly understand why specific domains are sold for the prices. The only exception is long numeric domains.

For example, Travis reported a few days ago that 703888.com was sold for $4,600. dotDB gives 33 matches of this domain, including 6 exact matches which actually reveal no actual use in the corporate world. Goggle search gives no clue either.

The affection for long numeric domains probably started in 2015 when out of China came the investment theme "Chip" (Chinese Premium) where domains not consisting of certain letters (aeiouv) or numbers (0, 4) are considered premium. Investors poured in and flipped long numeric domains.

Numeric domains do have genuine use in China. For example, among China's top 10 listed companies I mentioned in my last article, three of them also use numeric domains: 1688.com by Alibaba, 163.com by Netease, and 360.cn by 360 Total Security. However, these numbers are short and many "have" meanings, making it easy to remember. For example, 1688 rhymes with Yi Lu Fa Fa (一路发发 = making a fortune all the way).

As I have written many times, numbers do not have any intrinsic meaning in Chinese. We create meanings for them by using the rhyming method – finding Chinese words that sound similar to the numbers. Now, back to the domain 703888.com. By using this method, I can create the following meaning for the domain.

703888 = Qian Ying Shang Fa Fa fa (千赢商发发发 = a merchant who wins thousands of times and makes a fortune)

So, there is only limited use of numeric domains in corporate China. When a number is 5 digits or more, it becomes increasingly difficult to remember. Even worse, once they leave China, their meanings become lost because the rhyming method does not work in a non-Chinese culture.

Therefore, when buying long numeric domains, be aware that corporate buyers may be few and far between.

Join me on LinkedIn for further discussion.