Domain Name Wire contributor Alvin Brown argues that hyphenated domain names make sense in some circumstances.
Before I share my thoughts and unpack this article, know that I fully promote buying, selling, and developing domains, preferably .com domains, without hyphens. Now let the arguing commence…
Roughly one percent of my domain portfolio contains domains with hyphens. Most of the domains with hyphens I own are geo service .com domains — “City” + “service” (e.g., Austin-Foreclosures.com).
In fact, I was inspired to write this article after encountering an Austin-based blade (as in knife blade) company’s print ad in the most recent print edition of Austin Chronicle.
In my opinion, this is a good use of a hyphenated domain when the non-hyphenated domain is not available for purchase or registration, even if it doesn’t pass the radio test.
Whether with or without “www” preceding the domain, (I prefer without) hyphens can simplify the legibility of a given domain, especially when driving down the highway with only seconds to read a domain advertised on a billboard.
In the case of Austin-Blades.com, I recommend also owning the following domains to protect their brand:
While I usually recommend purchasing .com domains without hyphens, I do realize hyphenated .com domains offer an affordable opportunity in comparison.
Most US-based business and domain investors shy away from having hyphens in their domain names. But there are some businesses and domain investors building their digital presence and investing primarily in hyphenated domains, respectively.
Beyond the US, coveted domains without hyphens are often times available for hand registration, especially if the domain in question is a ccTLD — a domain ending in a two-character country code (e.g. Grapes-Goose.de — “de” is country code for Germany).
As is with life, there is always a small percentage of the population able to realize exponential profit or a level of success that most will never come close to scratching the surface.
Nevertheless, for those that do discover success, whether domain investor or business, most are likely to focus their efforts on two-word domains, which I believe are best suited for using hyphens. Of course, three or more word domains, alphanumeric and numeric domains could also be candidates but are much less desirable and profitable.
I ran a search at NameBio to discover what hyphenated domain sales existed. Out of 1.4 million domains, NameBio has 17,746 hyphenated domains selling for $100 or more. Below are the overall stats for domains with hyphens reported to NameBio:
- Total Sales: 17.8k
- Total Dollar Volume: $22m
- Average Price: $1,240
- Standard Deviation: $3,428
- Low Price: $100
- High Price: $210K
NameBio’s top 10 reported sales for domains with hyphens is as follows:
What’s interesting to me is 1) the number of domains transacting on Sedo’s network and 2) the number of domains in the gambling or casino space. And of course, there are a few .de domains sprinkled amongst .com domains. Germans have an affinity for hyphenated domains. Sedo is in Germany, which might explain #1.
Again, this is only a fraction of reported domain sales, but a reasonable sample dataset to study. Domain investors with a NameBio Membership, which I do not have at the moment but am seriously considering, are able to export data for further review.
Here are some recent hyphenated domain sales greater than $1,000 in descending order by price:
- $6,591 – body-fit.com – 3/26/2019 – GoDaddy
- $4,455 – uni-corn.com – 3/20/2019 – Sedo
- $2,814 – blockchain-fonds.de – 3/26/2019 – GoDaddy
- $2,571 – i-u.nl – 3/21/2019 – Sedo
- $2,499 – o-ps.com – 3/19/2019 – Sedo
- $2,001 – thai-aec.com – 3/22/2019 – GoDaddy
- $1,838 – ot-hautefort.com – 3/18/2019 – DropCatch
- $1,400 – free-onlineclock.com – 3/27/2019 – GoDaddy
- $1,225 – plug-in.com – 3/20/2019 – NameJet
- $1,170 – grof-holotropic-breathwork.net – 3/23/2019 – GoDaddy
- $1,054 – heater-home.com – 3/22/2019 – DropCatch
- $1,025 – page-portal.com – 3/23/2019 – Godaddy
Here is a graph for weekly average price:
While selling domains with hyphens for $5K+ is an admiral goal, the likelihood is that it’s not going to happen anytime soon (based on NameBio’s data).
However, with the “sweet spot” for given domains appearing to hover around $1.2K, there may be an opportunity to scour and buy expired auctions for hyphenated domains in the $30 – $120 range, add them to the Sedo and Afternic aftermarket platforms, and get a quick flip.
I’m not recommending anyone attempts this strategy. I’m simply making an observation of an approach should you consider investing in and flipping domains with hyphens.
What has been your experience with buying and selling domains with hyphens?