Valuing and Domains

There’s been lots of money being dumped into short .com domains mostly from Chinese investors who have limited investment choices due to government restrictions on where Chinese citizens can invest their money. For the Chinese, short .com domains (and to a lesser extent, .net / .cc / .cn / .co) represent a class of investments like stocks and collectibles. Before discussing some drivers of 4 letter ( and 6 digit ( domains, here are the current floor prices of short .com domains in late 2015 according to

liquid domain prices

You can see that the and are the domains in their classes that are still affordable to the smaller domain investor.

Here’s another assessment from the NamePros forum which takes into consideration premium vs. non-premium letters for domains:

Chinese Premium – 1000+
Poor letters – 200 (+/- $15)
Triple premium – $250- $300
Repeated letters – $350-$450
English Quad Premium – $750 and above
Poor CVCV ( having V , Q like letters making them non pronounceable) – $900

For, what constitutes a premium domain in English-speaking countries centers around vowels within the name to make it pronounceable, with also consideration given to repeating letters. The premium letters for English native speakers are A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T. This in part stems from the relative frequencies of the first letters of a word in the English language which are in order S, A, C, M, P, R, T, B, F, G, D, L, H, I, E, N, O, W, U, V, J, K, Q, Y, Z, X​. From this frequency distribution, J, K, U, V
are lower-rated premium letters and therefore less valuable while the letters at the very end of the alphabet (Q, W, X, Y, Z) are the least desirable from a Western perspective. values for Chinese investors are almost exactly opposite save for the fact that they also value repeating characters and patterns. Chinese domain investors prefer consonants as stand-in acronyms for pinyin “words” and shun vowels. A Chinese premium is therefore any domain which doesn’t have an A, E, I, O, U nor a V (while not a vowel, the letter V is not present in the Chinese pinyin pronunciation system). Some letters are more valuable than others in the Mandarin-Pinyin hierarchy: B, C, D, J, T, W, X & Z are among the top while N, R, L, Q, P are among the least desirable. This is basically the same reason as for Western premiums: the Chinese language has more words starting with C / X / J / Z than letters like P / R / L / N.

The desirability of different domain extensions is fluid for others besides ‘.com’ with Chinese investors who value liquidity finding buying opportunities for short letter domains in:


Besides .cn and .cc domains, adventurous domainers may wish to look into .top and .club domain names as potentially hot gTLDs for the Chinese market. In China, people say things are “top”, not “best”, which may make the .top extension desirable. In the case of .club, note that there is no pinyin equivalent for the English word “club”. Therefore on many nightclub signs you will see the word “club” written out in English.

Digit / Number Domains

Let’s look at investing in domains with all numbers from the perspective of a Chinese domain investor.

Most Chinese are able to remember numbers easier than the Latin alphabet characters. This is because the numbers in Chinese are in pinyin, a four tone system. That means some of these numbers when sounded out will remind people of certain Mandarin phrases. From

This kind of number-language has become an infinitely malleable shorthand among Chinese web users: 1 means “want,” 2 means “love,” 4 means “dead” or “world” or “is,” 5 means “I,” 7 means “wife” or “eat,” 8 means “get rich” or “not,” and 9 means “long time” or “alcohol.” The numbers 5201314, for example, mean 我爱你一生一世,or “I will love you forever”; 0748 means “go die”; and 687 means “I’m sorry.” Chinese has plenty of other number-based slang, such as erbaiwu, or “250,” which means “idiot,” or “38,” pronounced sanba, which means “bitch.” And of course there’s the association of certain numbers with good or bad luck, and the subsequent demand for addresses and phone numbers with lots of 8s (“get rich”) and minimal 4s (“die”).

While 6N .com domains are where most domainers fish for still affordably numeric domains, there’s also been considerable interest in / / domains as well.

Some domain name character patterns for LLLL domains include the following:

6n patterns include the following:
1. 111 222
2. 11 22 33
3. Repeats anywhere in the sequence: 1 22 3 4 5
4. A sequential run of digits: 123 _ _ _
5. Anything that makes the sequence easier to memorize like 0’s throughout: 512050

Besides the Asian aversion to the number 4, number domains will do best in the resale market if they don’t begin with a 0. Cultural variations can also complicate what’s considered lucky or unlucky. For example, while ‘6’ is generally desirable for Chinese investors (even numbers in Chinese culture are ‘yin’, while odd numbers are ‘yang’), the number 6 is considered unlucky by Cantonese speakers: “Six in Cantonese which has a similar pronunciation to that of “lok” (落, meaning “to drop, fall, or decline”) may form unlucky combinations.”

Many of these domain patterns mentioned may already be getting out of the reach of many domain investors. If that’s the case, start trying to sniff out the latest domain trends near when they first start. I hear that domains may be next hot domain pattern to target, but as always do your own research and try to figure out why a particular class of domains is appreciating in value (for’s, their value comes from Chinese who value balance – LL|NN, while English speaking investors like the acronym portion to come before the numbers).

Pinyin Words as Domain Names

Setting aside, what about focusing on short domains composed of pinyin words? According to, these are all of the pinyin syllables in Chinese used to form Chinese spoken words:

bai ban bang bao bei ben beng bi
bian biao bie bin bing bo bu ca
cai can cang cao ce cen ceng cha
chai chan chang chao che chen cheng chi
chong chou chu chua chuai chuan chuang chui
chun chuo ci cong cou cu cuan cui
cun cuo da dai dan dang dao de
dei den deng di dia dian diao die
ding diu dong dou du duan dui dun
duo fa fan fang fei fen feng fo
fou fu ga gai gan gang gao ge
gei gen geng gong gou gu gua guai
guan guang gui gun guo ha hai han
hang hao he hei hen heng hong hou
hu hua huai huan huang hui hun huo
ji jia jian jiang jiao jie jin jing
jiong jiu ju juan jue jun ka kai
kan kang kao ke kei ken keng kong
kou ku kua kuai kuan kuang kui kun
kuo la lai lan lang lao le lei
leng li lia lian liang liao lie lin
ling liu long lou lu luan lun luo
lüe ma mai man mang mao me
mei men meng mi mian miao mie min
ming miu mo mou mu na nai nan
nang nao ne nei nen neng ni nian
niang niao nie nin ning niu nong nou
nu nuan nun nuo nüe pa pai
pan pang pao pei pen peng pi pian
piao pie pin ping po pou pu qi
qia qian qiang qiao qie qin qing qiong
qiu qu quan que qun ran rang rao
re ren reng ri rong rou ru rua
ruan rui run ruo sa sai san sang
sao se sen seng sha shai shan shang
shao she shei shen sheng shi shou shu
shua shuai shuan shuang shui shun shuo si
song sou su suan sui sun suo ta
tai tan tang tao te tei teng ti
tian tiao tie ting tong tou tu tuan
tui tun tuo wai wan wang wei wen
weng wo wu xi xia xian xiang xiao
xie xin xing xiong xiu xu xuan xue
xun ya yan yang yao ye yi yin
ying yong you yu yuan yue yun za
zai zan zang zao ze zei zen zeng
zha zhai zhan zhang zhao zhe zhei zhen
zheng zhi zhong zhou zhu zhua zhuai zhuan
zhuang zhui zhun zhuo zi zong zou zu
zuan zui zun zuo

That’s 396, about 400 of them, which means that there are approximately 400*400 = 160,000 different possible “two word” pinyin names and
400*400*400 = 64 million possibilities if you up that to a pinyin word length of 3. Each of these pinyin spoken forms has (up to) four tones which gives end-users leeway when interpreting what a specific pinyin phrase means. So actually have more availability than the “two character” pinyin: 26*26*26*26 = 456,976.

Pro tip: If you have a domain and want to see if it means anything in Pinyin, enter it into Google Translate. Using ZDTC.NET as an example, Google Translate comes back with “automatic withdrawal”:

Recent discussion at Namepros has suggested a hierarchy of premium Chinese letters based on their use in pinyin with ‘Z, Y & X’ at the very top:

– Premium ZYXSJHWQ
– Semi Premium DBTNMLKGC
– Non Premium RPFEA

Yes there is E and A Notably Ai is Love and Er is the number 2
It suggests that to Chinese chip might be similar to to Westerners, as those are “semi-premiums”. “Non-Premium” should be re-defined though, because the real non-premiums so far are V,O,U,E,A (from worse to better order)…
Any Chips that beings with CN, followed by any chips that begins with BJ/SH, followed by any chips that begins with SZ/GZ/TJ (for TianJin) sells higher.

BJ Beijing City
NJ Nanjing City
GZ Guangzhou City
ST Shantou City
TJ Tianjin City
CD Chengdu City
WH Wuhan City
SY Shenyang City
CQ Chongqing City
FZ Fuzhou City
HL Heilongjiang province
NM Nei Mongol province
NX Ningxia province
QH Qinghai province
LC Finance
ZX Online
KJ Tech
SJ Data
BX Insurance
FD Home Loan
DK Loan
XY Credit
LS Lawyer
ZY Professional
JG Donate
XW Academic Degree
YY To Do Business
HZ Conferences
SH Trading Company or Shanghai
PF Wholesale
FL Legal
DB Gambling
JQ Vacations
BX Insurance
LY Travel
LX Travel
WJ Priceless
ZB Treasure

And from Wikipedia is a list of Chinese City-Provinces with their pinyin abbreviations:

GB ISO Province Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin
Capital Population¹ Density² Area³ Abbreviation
BJ CN-11 Beijing Municipality 北京市
Běijīng Shì
Beijing 19,612,368 1,167.40 16,800
TJ CN-12 Tianjin Municipality 天津市
Tiānjīn Shì
Tianjin 12,938,224 1,144.46 11,305
HE CN-13 Hebei Province 河北省
Héběi Shěng
Shijiazhuang 71,854,202 382.81 187,700
SX CN-14 Shanxi Province 山西省
Shānxī Shěng
Taiyuan 35,712,111 228.48 156,300
NM CN-15 Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region 內蒙古自治区
Nèi Měnggǔ Zìzhìqū
Hohhot 24,706,321 20.88 1,183,000 內蒙古
Nèi Měnggǔ
LN CN-21 Liaoning Province 辽宁省
Liáoníng Shěng
Shenyang 43,746,323 299.83 145,900
JL CN-22 Jilin Province 吉林省
Jílín Shěng
Changchun 27,462,297 146.54 187,400
HL CN-23 Heilongjiang Province 黑龙江省
Hēilóngjiāng Shěng
Harbin 38,312,224 84.38 454,000
SH CN-31 Shanghai Municipality 上海市
Shànghǎi Shì
Shanghai 23,019,148 3,630.20 6,341
JS CN-32 Jiangsu Province 江苏省
Jiāngsū Shěng
Nanjing 78,659,903 766.66 102,600
ZJ CN-33 Zhejiang Province 浙江省
Zhèjiāng Shěng
Hangzhou 54,426,891 533.59 102,000
AH CN-34 Anhui Province 安徽省
Ānhuī Shěng
Hefei 59,500,510 425.91 139,700
FJ CN-35 Fujian Province 福建省
Fújiàn Shěng
Fuzhou 36,894,216 304.15 121,300
JX CN-36 Jiangxi Province 江西省
Jiāngxī Shěng
Nanchang 44,567,475 266.87 167,000
SD CN-37 Shandong Province 山东省
Shāndōng Shěng
Jinan 95,793,065 622.84 153,800
HA CN-41 Henan Province 河南省
Hénán Shěng
Zhengzhou 94,023,567 563.01 167,000
HB CN-42 Hubei Province 湖北省
Húběi Shěng
Wuhan 57,237,740 307.89 185,900
HN CN-43 Hunan Province 湖南省
Húnán Shěng
Changsha 65,683,722 312.77 210,000
GD CN-44 Guangdong Province 广东省
Guǎngdōng Shěng
Guangzhou 104,303,132 579.46 180,000
GX CN-45 Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region 广西壮族自治区
Guǎngxī Zhuàngzú Zìzhìqū
Nanning 46,026,629 195.02 236,000
HI CN-46 Hainan Province 海南省
Hǎinán Shěng
Haikou 8,671,518 255.04 34,000
CQ CN-50 Chongqing Municipality 重庆市
Chóngqìng Shì
Chongqing 28,846,170 350.50 82,300
SC CN-51 Sichuan Province 四川省
Sìchuān Shěng
Chengdu 80,418,200 165.81 485,000 川(蜀)
Chuān (Shǔ)
GZ CN-52 Guizhou Province 贵州省
Guìzhōu Shěng
Guiyang 34,746,468 197.42 176,000 贵(黔)
Guì (Qián)
YN CN-53 Yunnan Province 云南省
Yúnnán Shěng
Kunming 45,966,239 116.66 394,000 云(滇)
Yún (Diān)
XZ CN-54 Tibet Autonomous Region 西藏自治区
Xīzàng Zìzhìqū
Lhasa 3,002,166 2.44 1,228,400
SN CN-61 Shaanxi Province 陕西省
Shǎnxī Shěng
Xi’an 37,327,378 181.55 205,600 陕(秦)
Shǎn (Qín)
GS CN-62 Gansu Province 甘肃省
Gānsù Shěng
Lanzhou 25,575,254 56.29 454,300 甘(陇)
Gān (Lǒng)
QH CN-63 Qinghai Province 青海省
Qīnghǎi Shěng
Xining 5,626,722 7.80 721,200
NX CN-64 Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region 宁夏回族自治区
Níngxià Huízú Zìzhìqū
Yinchuan 6,301,350 94.89 66,400
XJ CN-65 Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region 新疆维吾尔自治区
Xīnjiāng Wéiwú’ěr Zìzhìqū
Ürümqi 21,813,334 13.13 1,660,400
HK CN-91 Hong Kong Special Administrative Region 香港特别行政区
Xiānggǎng Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Hong Kong 7,061,200 6,396.01 1,104
MC CN-92 Macau Special Administrative Region 澳门特别行政区
Àomén Tèbié Xíngzhèngqū
Macau 552,300 19,044.82 29

Tools for 4L Traders – nice charts for Chinese chip domains in different extensions. For their charts, the light blue line is data being pulled from, while the orange line is data from – a great tool for checking the most important sales that took place yesterday. Namebio is great for pattern analysis – try entering ‘PPPP’ to chart 4 letter Chinese premium domain names. – Allows you to gauge the relative popularity of domain extensions. Great for doing detective work on which TLD is trending up. – Shows you the transaction price for the latest LLLL sales, both for Western and Chinese premium domains. Marketplaces tracked include, Flippa and eBay.

Price Updates

December 15, 2015 pricing updates from the newsletter:

liquid domain prices december, 2015

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