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What Makes Numeric Domains So Valuable?


Novice domainers are often curious why numeric domains fetch such high prices. Sure, a very short domain like 345.com might be worth the $800,000 paid for it in January 2015. But what about a domain like 89992.com, which recently sold for $4,000? Where is the value if the numbers don't mean anything?

That right there is a fundamental misunderstanding about such domains. Those numbers do in fact have meaning, particularly in Chinese culture where every number has its own unique significance.

In America, for example, we sometimes consider the number 7 to be lucky, especially in classic casino games. And the number 13 is considered unlucky enough that many buildings do not have a "13th floor" – at least not according to the elevator panels. But these scenarios pale in comparison to the importance that the Chinese place on numbers – and it's not all about luck and superstition.

Numbers as language

While each number does have meaning – and we'll get to that in a moment – it's important to also understand the importance of numbers in linguistic terms.

China is a country of many languages. And there are tens of thousands of Chinese characters. But there is no alphabet. Thus, in the online world, Chinese businesses have traditionally branded their websites using numbers or pinyin (a phonetic system for translating Mandarin pronunciations of Chinese characters with the Latin alphabet).

Across the many languages of China, there remains strong symbolism in numbers, making them the most commonly understood "language." Also – and this is very important – there is less linguistic confusion with numeric domains than, say, a pinyin domain.

Numeric meaning

So, what do the numbers mean? Often, meanings are derived from how the numbers sound when spoken aloud.

The number 3, for example, sounds similar to the character for birth (生). As such the number 3 is generally associated with good fortune. You may have heard of the Chinese expression "good things come in pairs." Accordingly, the number 2 is considered a lucky number – and so are pairings of a single number, i.e. 11.

As in Western cultures, the number is 7 considered lucky; in China it symbolizes "togetherness." The ultimately lucky number is 8, as it sounds like “to be rich” or “prosperity” in Chinese and Cantonese. If you've ever noticed that airlines that tend to use the number 8 in Asia-bound flight numbers, it's no coincidence.

Limited supply

While very short, 2-4-letter acronym-like domains are also very attractive to Chinese investors, there is obviously an even more limited supply of short numeric domains: just 100 for NN.com and 1,000 for NNN.com. This limited supply – and the huge demand for them – is another important factor that drives up the value of these domains.

As the saying goes

What about longer numeric domains, like NNNNN.com? To Westerners, these domains often seem completely random. But often, the numeric sequences can sound like various expressions in Chinese language, such as 09666 – which is expressed similar to the saying "You are lucky forever." This is why even 5-number domains can be extremely valuable to Chinese investors.

Knowing how to identify value

It can be difficult for the average Western domainer to know how to appraise domains that are being sold or (sought) by Chinese buyers. This is why it's crucial to work with an experienced broker who is well versed in Chinese culture.


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