Expired Domain Report: In-Depth on LLLL.com
Joseph Peterson’s weekly roundup of expired domain sales.
During the past several months, LLLL.com domains (4 letters, for those just joining us) have multiplied in value among wholesale traders who expect to flip to China or resell to one another. For years, values had stagnated in the $15 – $50 range; but suddenly prices at auction and in the forums began to rise, climbing 10 – 20 times higher as word spread. Mailing-list domain brokers who wouldn’t have been caught dead featuring LLLL.com’s in 2014 are now listing them prominently and hungry for more.
Yet certain kinds of LLLL.com domains were valuable before this spike in the Chinese market. For instance, the CVCV pattern of alternating consonants and vowels has long been sought after. Coincidentally, the West prizes precisely those letter patterns China disdains – and vice versa.Chinese buyers and their intermediaries state a preference for LLLL domains excluding A, E, I, O, U, and even V. Meanwhile, the Western retail market sets a premium on pronounceability, which almost always requires vowels. Moreover, because letters such as “Z” and “Q” (beloved by China) start few English words, LLLLs built from those letters are unlikely to serve as English acronyms; therefore they find little retail demand in the USA. In other words, the Chinese LLLL market and the non-Chinese LLLL market barely overlap at all. And while values in the former have skyrocketed, prices in the latter remain more or less as they were last year.
NameJet’s top expired domain auction last week, KIRI.com ($9.3k), as well as AZEA.com ($2.1k) illustrate the type of LLLL.com sales we’ve seen for a long time and which, I’d say, are oriented to the Western market. These two are brand names meant to be spoken aloud outside China. Even QIME.com ($1.7k), whose Chinese buyer seems to be breaking my “rule”, may only be a CVCV in a nominal sense. My guess is that it’s Pinyin: “Qi Me”. SZVR.com ($1.6k) is a departure from the “no V” habit, but it’s possible that “VR” (meaning virtual reality) has entered Chinese as a loan word. That I don’t know. As for RSRV.com ($4.9k), well, it’s probably an English word stripped of its vowels. Reserve Petroleum Co. uses it as their stock ticker. And a Belgian clothing store sees it not as “reserve” but as “reservoir”. For all I know, Ammar Kubba was thinking of RVs when he bought the thing.
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