It might not make sense to Westerners, but it does to people in China.
Have you wondered why some mixed letter and number domains can sell for 4 or even 5 figures? Sometimes a little bit of research can reveal the possible reason. 520HB(.)com is a good example.
On November 11, Namebio reported that the domain sold for $5,600 on GoDaddy. While no buyer information has been revealed, I know from experience that some Chinese buyers like this kind of domain, so I turned to Baidu search for hints — and I found one.
520HB has a meaning in Chinese. 520 represents May 20 and it also rhymes with Wo Ai Ni (我爱你 = I Love You). HB is an acronym for the Pinyin words Hong Bao (红包 = Red Packet). All together, 520HB refers to May 20 (unofficial Valentine’s Day in China). On this day, you can send “I Love You” electronic red packets to the digital wallets of your loved ones — up to the amount of 520 yuan using WeChat as I understand.
Giving red packets of money is an age-old Chinese tradition to celebrate Chinese New Year, weddings, graduations, birthdays, and many other occasions. In 2014 WeChat launched digital red packets for the Chinese New Year, followed by rival Alipay. Since then, this practice has been extended to other events, including this invented festival on May 20.
If you look at Archive.org’s Wayback Machine, you’ll see that the domain was previously used. Most recently, it was for an adult entertainment site. The auction price was probably impacted by this prior use and any remaining search engine value the domain has.
But as I’ve explained, it’s also easy for Chinese consumers to remember this domain, which makes it valuable.