Are Numeric Domain Names an "Emerging Trend"? | DomainInvesting.com
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Are Numeric Domain Names an “Emerging Trend”?

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I had my first debate/discussion via Twitter (albeit a short one) yesterday about whether numeric domain names can be considered an emerging trend. I read Inside Domaining’s tweet about the topic, and I disagree because values are stagnant and down for most numeric names (as they are just about across the board). I cited my experience selling 887.com late last year as evidence of a difficult market, and I also have experience selling 4 number .com domain names and 3 number .net domain names in the past.

Inside Domaining countered back that 2 and 3 number .com domain names were selling great last year, which is something I do not dispute. However, they sold well last year because TJ Demas bought many of the big ones for huge prices for a special project. IMO, this doesn’t make for an “emerging trend” simply because one buyer bought some names and had to pay a huge sum to get them  (ala Rick selling iReport.com for $750,000).

Just as when the 4 letter .com domain names sold out last year, the perceived values went through the roof and they were selling for great sums. Now that people are realizing most are useless, prices are bottoming out. The buyers are disappearing and people are realizing that rarity does not equate to value at all times, and some domain investors lost a lot of money.

I believe if someone pays a considerable sum for a numeric domain simply because TJ bought several last year for his project, the buyer will probably lose money. IMO, this is like a person owning toy-related domain names claiming that toy names are an emerging trend simply because Toys R Us paid $5.1 million for Toys.com (which I am sure will happen).

This industry isn’t like real estate where you can look in the MLS for neighborhood comps.  All domain names have unique values.

So… what do you think… Are numeric domain names an emerging trend or not?


About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has sold seven figures worth of domain names in the last five years. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest.


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Comments (15)

    Troy

    I agree with you on this one Elliot. Numerical domains have always seemed like kind of a crazy “investment” to me.

    I just don’t see many ways to monetize them. Does anyone have a good example of a monetized numerical for me?

    I do not understand that Demas guy but I do look forward to seeing his end product.

    March 6th, 2009 at 11:28 am

    RF

    Your spot on Elliot

    TJ has bought these domains for a special project which shall come to light later this year.

    He has paid prices for these domains for a reason.

    overall the nnn.com market has been pretty still – We havent seen many endusers excep 888.com buying into these – Yes there are a few others but not many most are owned by domainers and therefor limits the price of these domains as Endusers havent been going out to buy nnn.com or nnnn.com etc

    I think they hold value but arent the next big trend!

    March 6th, 2009 at 11:48 am

    James

    Certainly think they might be something worth considering as more and more mobile devices access the Internet.
    I bought a lot a couple of years ago after stumbling across a company called WordDial. They have based a whole business around numerical domains and own many category defining dot coms that can be accessed easier from mobile device keypads.

    For example Ticket.com equates to 842538.com on a mobile phone keypad, which is much quicker to punch in than the actual word. I think they own many like this including insuance.com, flight.com etc etc

    I’m hoping their business model catches on as i have sevaral one word generics that would be considered extremely valuable if they were in word format.

    Since understanding the advantages of this i have even spotted a large company in the UK that have branded their company name around numericals and word associations. They are called 3663 and are a nationwide food wholesaler. And when you work out what 3663 is on a phone keypad it says FOOD. Pretty ingenious !

    If the idea takes off I imagine you could monetise numericals the same way you would a keyword domain, as long as the numbers meant something.

    Just incase you were wondering, sevaral of my number domains get type ins. I imagine these are from mobile devices too.

    james

    March 6th, 2009 at 11:55 am

    owen frager

    I’d stay away from AIG.com when it hits the aftermarket.

    March 6th, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Dave

    As soon as I heard of Google sms, a way to Google simple queries by texting to 46645 (GOOGL) I looked it up, registered to Google of course.

    I think type-in zips will be popular for good housing markets but they’re almost as rare as 4 character domains.

    March 6th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Troy

    I see the value that James has explained. I had not thought of that.

    March 6th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    belshass

    Google also owns 466453.com

    but it’ll take time.. a long time before users start
    ‘getting it!’

    March 6th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    Boaz

    Numeric domain names are pretty big in China due to the lack of Chinese language support and the low awareness of IDNs.

    http://www.163.com is the website of an internet giant called NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES), for example.

    Numbers are just easier for Chinese people to remember. Most people can’t spell MySpace but they can type in http://www.g.cn which takes them to Google.

    Other examples are “51 domains”. 51 sounds like “I want” in Chinese, so you have plenty of websites using that in their domains: http://www.51job.com for job seekers, as an example.

    China Mobile which is the largest mobile operator in the world (in terms of users) operates its main portal on http://www.12530.com and the list goes on…

    Bottom line — There are 300 million Chinese internet users out there and the way they use the internet is completely different than how we do it. And the greatest thing is that internet penetration in China is less than 30%; so there is plenty of room for growth.

    March 7th, 2009 at 8:26 am

      Elliot Silver

      @Boaz

      People have been making this argument since I bought my first numeric domain name (LLL.net) in 2006. It’s not an emerging trend, IMO but another type of domain name that was shifted into the limelight recently when TJ made his purchases.

      March 7th, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Jacob

    The reason I don’t like them is, I can never in all my years of browsing the web recall going to a purely numeric domain before. Not once.

    March 7th, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Geoffrey

    Hi Elliott,

    I’m not into the number domains. But I’ll share an area with optimum SEO SEM returns and addresses the need for an integrated approach to online / offline “Direct Response”

    “Toll-Free Number Domains” I have two examples to sahre

    1) http://www.1800beisbol.com (baseball in Spanish)
    2) http://www.1800huatulco.com (Mexico GEO Destination)

    The SantaBarbara.com · 1-800-SantaBarbara combination is best… but we all are not that lucky

    Geoffrey

    March 8th, 2009 at 2:03 am

    rkbdomain

    There are just so many uses for numbers, and so few of them (i.e., only 10k NNNN.com’s), that I think these domains are very good long-term investments. They get traffic, and while there isn’t a lot of enduser interest yet, I think it will continue to grow (about 15-20% of NNNN.com’s are developed sites, mostly Asian). Word dialing may not take off, but other uses of numerics may, and increased international demand for short numeric domains is inevitable I think as internet use expands. Any random number might represent a product number, a date/lucky number, word on a cell phone, chinese word, an address, a zip code/phone code, or hundreds of other uses.

    April 7th, 2009 at 9:46 am

    John Pesci

    Hi Elliott,

    I’ve been in the mobile affiliate program business for the past several years and couldn’t resist in posting a mobile site that is incredibly successful and is a NNN.com domain:
    http://739.com (SEX.com)
    I actually had a phone discussion with the CEO just last week. He mentioned that traffic and revenue have been doubling, on a monthly basis, since January 2008. The 739.com domain is in all likelihood the ‘king’ of all word numbers in the market. So, there is definitely a market for pure numeric domains…it’s just a matter of owning a high valued word number and solid SEO practices in order to make it a successful business.

    April 18th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    zilla

    51 domains is very important for Chinese web industry, give u some example:

    51.com
    51web.com
    51job.com —–the #1 chinese job seeking site
    51mole.com —–the #1 children playing site in China

    July 26th, 2009 at 4:23 am

    Elliot Silver

    Here’s a more recent update about numeric domain names.

    May 18th, 2013 at 10:19 pm

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