Initial Results From My $10,000 4 Number Dot Com Experiment

Mar 14 2011

If you read my blog you know I think four number dot coms are a good investment.  To put my money where my mouth is, in October I decided to put $10,000 (roughly) into NNNN.coms.

My goal was to buy as many domains on the forums or privately, hold them, and then sell them in high visibility auctions or platforms, Sedo, Afternic, Namejet, or Snapnames.  I would categorize my buys like this.  My first three buys were fair priced.  I bought 2497 and 2794 for around $500 each and 1248.com for under $800.   I bought two more names under $800,  3 more names over $1000, and then two names over $2000.  I made some initial mistakes

I was looking for names that were easy to type out on a keyboard and that was about it.  I soon learned that 4 at the beginning or the end was a huge price reducer.  It was pretty easy to figure out when all the name available for sale were following that trend.  I originally thought the non 4 domains looked expensive and compared to them, the others are more expensive. Fortunately for me,  I bought the names with “4” for $500 or under and one even ended up having 150 uniques a day and makes a little money.  I also made one more great discovery. 4.cn

4.cn not only provide a liquid platform for numeric domains but it gave past sales numbers.  It was with these numbers that I was able to put together a sales list and come up with patterns that seemed to sell for more.  It’s more a hypothesis than a theory but my algorithm is building every day.  For Chinese and Asian speaking consumers, these names are more than just numbers.  Combinations that spell certain words or combine to form meaning. Not being a native speaker I was fortunate to have met Bonnie at 4.cn who is my broker and helps me with my questions.  I will often ask her what or if a four letter combo means anything.  She was the first to temper my enthusiasm after purchasing a name with lots of 8s in it.  She said something to the effect of “Nice name, but better if it ended with 8” I learn a little more each week and names that end in 8 are pretty much my ideal numeric.  But as we all know, in order to make money in this business you have to sell, and I decided to liquidate a few of the names.

I decided to sell a few names because of one reason.  The Namejet prices on nnnn.coms are starting to soar.  People have taken notice and started listing their numerics more than ever.  Last year you would get 2 or 3 four number dot coms a week and now you can get that a day, several days a week.  The prices have also been strong.  The names with 4 still struggle but the others are usually over $1000.  So I decided to test the market.  I sold three names.  Two with fours (the weaker names) and one of the good names I bought for under $800.  The results were as expected on the first two.  Reaching around $600.  After commission, I really didn’t make much but I cashed out and will put them into a better name.  The stronger name reached almost $3K.  Putting the three names together I turned a little under $1800 into $4200 (before commission) in less than 6 months.  I can live with that.  For some, that’s crumbs. For me, it’s an important part of my simple strategy.  Buy a name, sell it for more, pay my taxes, and then use the balance to buy a more expensive better name.

So far my NNNN.com experiment is going well.  The market is nowhere near peak but the deals are much harder to find. I have plans to sell two more of the names in the near future, leaving me with only the strongest of my names. If the names sell for what I expect, I will have gotten back 70% of my initial totals and I’ll still have 5 names of which I think I could flip for  $10,000 at today’s rates.   Doing the math that tells me I will 70% return overall if I were to completely liquidate tomorrow which is a great return for the first 6 months. I haven’t done myself any favors by constantly talking about it and putting up sales data but I have always shared information and somehow I’ve always profited and come out just fine.   The key is to buck up and buy the more desirable names.  I just hoping I have a better idea of desirable than others.

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Outsmarting the Dumb, Outworking the Smart

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12 comments

  1. Tom Garrett

    My thanks for a real-world concrete example of gritty smart domaining. Respect the putting your money where your mouth approach and airing out the results. I love reading about big name sales for high dollars but I enjoy the down in the trenches stuff even more!

  2. Bernard

    Hi Shane,

    I love reading about your experiments. I also appreciate your openness. I hope you make a killing off the names you keep! It was nice meeting you at DomainFest, too.

    ps. Just some minor feedback: your ‘Domains for Sale’ only reads ‘Domains for Sal’ for me. (BTW, I’m using IE)


    1. Post author
      ShaneCultra

      Michael and Bernard,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the feedback. It’s always nice to know how a post is received.

  3. 3dDomainNames

    This was a great piece – i enjoyed this a lot
    This is not something most domainers share so thanks for that.

    i also liked the little tid bits you threw in there – probably the most memorable part of the whole piece:

    … always try to end in eight
    … and if i can ask – did you ever find out WHY four in front or at the end is bad, or even eight at the back is good?

    ironic, aint it
    … considering you’re talking about “4” letter domains names 🙂

  4. Morgan

    Great post Shane – I’ve enjoyed following your adventures in numeric domain investing…I’ve been thinking about dipping my toe in the water and it sounds like now might be a good time!

  5. Ken

    I admire how you were able to focus on a certain type of domain and succeed in it. Not many people can put their efforts into a category and be good at it! GJ Shane. I hope you gain much from the 5 remaining NNNN.coms that you still have in store 🙂

  6. Stan

    Did you sell all these names on 4.cn ? They seem like pretty quick flips so the market must be very liquid at the moment like you said.

  7. RH

    You know Shane that was one area that you could buy into late and make great money. I remember in 2005 I was handregging them. I looked for names that ended in 99 because I thought most things sell on the informercials for $24.99 or $59.99 etc… There were others available, I should have regged 50 to 100 and instead only regged a few and sold for $100 and thought that great, now it would be easy 80 times investment minimum.

    @3d Number 4 (四; accounting 肆; pinyin sì) is considered an unlucky number in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death” (死 pinyin sǐ). Due to that, many numbered product lines skip the “4”: e.g. Nokia cell phones (there is no series beginning with a 4),[5] Palm[citation needed] PDAs, Canon PowerShot G’s series (after G3 goes G5), etc. 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 literally miss all floor numbers with “4”, e.g. 4, 14, 24, 34 and all 40–49 floors, in addition to not having a 13th floor. As a result, a building whose highest floor is number 50 may actually have only 35 physical floors.

    Number 14 is considered to be one of the unluckiest numbers. Although 14 is usually said in Mandarin as 十四 “shí sì,” which sounds like 十死 “ten die”, it can also be said as 一四 “yī sì” or 么四 “yāo sì”, literally “one four”. Thus, 14 can also be said as “yāo sì,” literally “one four,” but it also sounds like “want to die” (要死 pinyin yào sǐ). In Cantonese, 14 sounds like “sap6 sei3”, which sounds like “sat6 sei2” meaning “certainly die” (實死). Not all Chinese people consider it to be an unlucky number as the pronunciation differs among the various dialects. In Chiu Chow, 4 is pronounced as “see” or “yes”. It is seen to be a lucky number because Chinese people like things in pairs (four would equal two pairs). However, the superstitions regarding numbers from Cantonese people have been adopted by the other Chinese people.

    The word for “eight” (八 Pinyin: bā) sounds similar to the word which means “prosper” or “wealth” (發 – short for “發財”, Pinyin: fā). In regional dialects the words for “eight” and “fortune” are also similar, e.g. Cantonese “baat3” and “faat3”.

    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.

    Great post Shane

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