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?
.de is a country code for Germany, not Denmark
.de for Deutschland
Mark Thorpe says
Hopefully it was just a mistake!?
Andrew Allemann says
Mark Thorpe says
Hypen domains we never that good, now they are an even worse option, unless you live in Germany.
Patrick Cowan says
I own Eco-Vacations.com
One of the few words where the hyphen is more prevalent than not.
Best Vacation com says
i have best-vacation.com it was sold before on sedo now i cant sell even for $99
patrick cowan says
Do a google search and you will see almost all uses of Eco contain a hyphen,only reason I bought a hyphenated domain
Smart-China.com (Afternic, Oct 2015) for US$2500
Brand-Studio.com (Afternic, Dec 2016) for US$1400
Swiss-Trust.com (Afternic, May 2017) for US$1550
bigger sales technically had punycode hyphens, unseen as IDN
Yes, I had a few excellent hyphenated domains that I let drop. Per aftermarket sales, they seem to be mainly popular in Germany.
I hate them and can’t see that ever changing.
hotel-reservation .com for $200k??
i have hotel-sales.com cant sell even for $99
sold for $1,000,000
Was talked about in some of the blogs before, maybe here. They made a $1 million blunder since it’s only one word, and that says nothing about hyphenated being valuable or desirable.
Steve B says
I think Europe is more receptive of hyphenated domains.
Hyphenated domains were all the rage back in 2010, when domain keywords had a big impact on rankings. People used to build mini niche sites on various topics to earn adsense revenue. Now that domain keywords have very little impact on rankings and mini niche sites that are built solely for ads are almost impossible to rank, hyphenated domains are almost worthless. I never reg them. BUT, I might consider it if I thought it might sell for over $2K for whatever reason.
Jon Schultz says
I’ve bought a few hyphenated cannabis domains: Canna-Capital.com, Canna-Medical.com and a few others. I figure people who are high will want a hyphenated domain, no?
Ha ! they’ll dash-in and buy!
David Carter says
Back in the very early 2000s I had a bunch of hyphenated names in the .co.uk and .com spaces. They worked exceptionally well for SEO at the time, particularly in niche markets, which is what I tend to concentrate on.
I registered them largely because the non-hyphenated names were already gone.
Now I hardly have any with hyphens. All of the sites I earn serious revenue from (not advertising) are non-hyphenated names, remaining in .com and .co.uk – though the split is now firmly in favour of .com.