You should know these facts before investing in long numeric domain names.
Just the other day, an investor posted a list of long numeric domains on Namepros and asked me to comment. Since I get this kind of question all the time, I’ll give you two facts to know before investing in long numeric domains.
Fact 1: Long numeric domains (beyond 4N) are rarely used in corporate China. Therefore, if you buy a long numeric domain with the hope of selling to Chinese end users, it may be very hard.
Fact 2: Numbers have no intrinsic Chinese meanings. Therefore, when investing in a long numeric domain, it may be fruitless to find a Chinese meaning.
Only a small set of numbers have the so-called “Chinese meanings”.
Meanings may come from general usage. For example, 360 is associated with the observation that it takes 360 degrees to complete a circle. As a result, Chinese people see 360 to mean “complete, total, comprehensive”. In 2015, 360 Total Security (奇虎360) acquired 360.com for reportedly about 100 million yuan ($17 million). The reason is simple: 360.com matches its brand and is associated with the “total” meaning.
A number often gets its meaning because it rhymes with a Chinese expression. For example, the Alibaba wholesale marketplace 1688.com rhymes with Yi Lu Fa Fa (一路发发=making a fortune all the way) as well as Alibaba (阿里巴巴).
Nevertheless, we do see some long numeric domains sell for 4 or 5 figures. This is mostly because there is a different market called the investor market, which is different from the end user market that we normally refer to. Long numeric domains are mostly traded between investors. As long as investors believe such domains have value, the game will continue.
Finally, I must admit that I have never acquired any long numeric domains because my target is end users. As long as you know which market you are targeting, long numeric domains may be very profitable for some investors.
Dan Lee says
Considering I’m American born and know little of China, what websites do you go in order to find lists of Chinese companies and startups? I’m not familiar with the world of Chinese internet sites. And quite honestly, things like crunchbase severely lack information on the scene in china
Kassey Lee says
Hi Dan, you can read English-based vc news on ChinaMoneyNetwork.com