Among the most liquid domain names are 4L .com. Most of the time they can be readily resold to another domain investor for $100 or more. The best 4L .com domain names, those that are words, or at least speakable, or have a clear pattern of letters making them easily remembered, sell for high retail prices. But what about those 4L domain names that lack the ability to be pronounced? Even if they are liquid to other investors at the current time, are they good investments? Many Famous 4-letter Brands Many strong brands are made with only four letters: Acer, Asus, Avis, BenQ, Citi, Dell, Dior, Dole, eBay, Elle, ESPN, HSBC, Ford, Ikea, Jeep, KPMG, Lays, Lego, Lime, Lyft, Nike, Olay, Puma, Ritz, Sony, Uber, Visa, Xbox, and many others. With the exception of the acronyms, like HSBC and KPMG, these are all speakable. A few, like BenQ or Xbox, have a letter plus speakable part, and are pronounced by saying the letter. These same characteristics hold for determining which 4L names potentially have high value. Past Year Major 4L Sales of English Words The 4L domain names that sell for the highest prices are usually English language words. Below is a selection of sales from the past 12 months. All data is from the NameBio database. wolf $550,000 kick $276,077 bath $195,000 cope $138,000 cows $125,000 felt $74,750 worm $60,000 shun $57,504 leek $27,752 Not Only English Words It turns out that 4L words in languages other than English can also can command strong prices. Here are some sales, again all from the past year. bico $350,000 bodo $200,000 oder $100,000 joon $60,000 tuma $42,000 In some cases, these may have resulted in high prices simply because they are memorable and speakable, not necessarily related to their meaning in a language other than English. Proficiency in other languages may help domain investors spot high-value names that are missed by some. Speakable Names Other Than Words Speakable 4L .comdomain names that are not dictionary words often sell for almost as much. Here are some examples sold during the last year. almi $117,500 melp $50,000 fewo $35,190 mout $32,000 adan $29,626 levo $28,500 yela $25,000 taaz $18,750 Many names in this category, but certainly not all, have the structure CVCV (consonant-vowel-consonant-vowel). You can readily search for sales with that pattern by entering CVCV, all capitals, in the Pattern box on NameBio, along with other limitations you desire such as Date Range. Here is a link to the 4L .com sales of names with the CVCV pattern during the past five years. The highest value sale recorded during that time was vivo.com that sold for $2.1 million in September 2016. Patterns, Names And More There have also been major sales in names that combine acronyms, names or other patterns. Here are a few examples from the past year. UFOs $88,000 Abby $75,000 PMRC $58,000 GoFX $57,500 iFun $28,500 One of the most distinctive patterns is repetition of the same letter. Recently @redemo looked into current use of the 26 possibilities, finding that most are not in use. Creative 4L Spellings Sales of brandable 4L .com domain names that include a creative letter substitution can also result in major sales. Here are a few examples of sales in this category within the past 12 months. fibr $75,000 newz $70,000 roze $68,000 skrt $50,000 Overall 4L .COM Domain Name Sales Above I looked at a selection of major retail sales, but what about the overall market in 4L .com domain names? I was interested in whether the market has recently changed, so I used NameBio data to do a price distribution both for the past 12 months, and the annual average over the past 5 years. The results are shown below using the same scale to ease comparison. In both graphs the strong majority are wholesale transactions. The data show that, as expected, very few 4L .com sell for less than $100, and many that did sell in that price range were only slightly below that price. You need a NameBio Membership Plan to access sales data below $100. Beyond that, the data seems to suggest that the last year has been slower than the average of the preceding five years, to some degree. I also looked at sales restricted to certain venues (Sedo, BuyDomains, NamePull, Uniregistry, DomainMarket, Afternic) that are usually associated with retail sales. Using only these venues, during the past year there were 748 4L .comsales at these venues with an average sales price of $2441. Over the past 5 years at the same venues, there was an annual average of 468 sales per year, but at a higher average price of $5116. What we are probably seeing, though, is more wholesale acquisitions have been present in last year, accounting for a lower average price but more sales. Indeed, when I look through the Sedo list, many of the recent sales appear to be at wholesale levels. How Are 4L .COM Domains Being Priced? I used Dofo Advanced Search to investigate pricing on 4L .com domain names with buy-it-now prices, with results shown below. Dofo covers almost all of the domain marketplaces. There were 229,488 4L .com names for sale listed the day I checked. Most are priced between $1000 and $50,000, with a concentration in the $10,000 to $50,000 range. For details on the methodology, or to see how this pricing compares with that for other types of domain names, see the article How Are Investors Pricing Their Domain Names?. Searching Using ExpiredDomains Probably the most comprehensive way to search for available names is to use ExpiredDomains.net. You can readily set the search for any .com domain name of length 4 and exclude numbers and hyphens, as well as additional criteria if desired. The Status List and Status columns show where the name is listed and the price or make offer status. Other columns provide a wealth of information on each name, including birth year, number of TLDs, number of related domain names, etc. The ShortNames Site I recently learned of the site ShortNames.com which includes a number of short numeric and letter patterns including LLLL .com domain names. As shown in screen capture below, the site lists popular and ending soon auctions, as well as fixed price listings and domains that are about to drop. They access sales on eBay as well as the standard domain name sites. The website also provides a nice summary of the number and dollar volume of sales during the preceding 30 days, and listing of some of the higher-value recent sales. It is an easy way to watch for trends in the 4L domain name space. Liquid Domain Sales at NamePros NamePros has its own Liquid Domains section of the marketplace, that contains many 4L .com names for sale. It’s The Numbers Why do domain investors hold 4L domain names, even those that are not speakable, in relatively high regard? It is simply the finite supply of such domain names. If we exclude numbers and hyphens, as well as international characters, here are the numbers of domain names possible for various lengths. 2L: 26x26=676 3L: 26x26x26=17,576 4L: 26x26x26x26=456,976 5L: 26x26x26x26x26=11,881,376 The feeling is that with fewer than one-half million 4L domain names possible, eventually as the number of global businesses grow, it may become likely that some business will arise wanting any particular combination of letters. By comparison, OpenCorporates list about 190 million companies and organizations from 140 different jurisdictions. Of course, only a small subset of these would desire to name themselves on a 4L acronym. The NamePros 4L Discussion Over the years, NamePros has had numerous discussions on the topic of 4-letter domain names, including one recently started by @redemo entitled What’s The Value of LLLL.com? In that discussion, @AEProgram makes the following summary: I would add that, just because there has been wholesale liquidity at the $100 range for essentially any 4L .com in recent years, that does not necessarily mean that will always be the case. The price and liquidity will be based on perceptions held by domain investors, and may go up or down, as we saw earlier with numbered domain names. In the same discussion, @Recons.Com added this good advice: @BrandPlease posted a segment from a guide that he had written on 4L and short domain names. It is a nice introduction to premium and anti-premium letters, and to various structures in 4L domain names, like CVCV, VCCV and CVVC. There is also discussion of the frequency of different letters, an important consideration. However, both @Recons.Com and @redemo pointed out that it is not simply the frequency of the letter in dictionary words, but also certain letters are more likely to be used as part of a business or organization name and matching 4L acronym. For example, C could stand for consortium, company, consultants, cooperative, club, etc. while A could represent associates, association, agency, agents, etc. One potential market for seemingly random 4L .com could be in partnerships that name themselves after 3 or 4 partners. As such, an ending letter that is a common term like partnership, associates, limited, firm, consultants, etc. following 3 letters that are relatively common in surnames, is more likely to find use. Have Your Say I hope that you will share in the comments section your experiences and views on investing in 4L .com domain names. I used the word outsider in the title of this article, since I have not, yet, invested in 4L .com domain names personally. It is valuable to hear from those with direct experience. Also, please vote in the associated poll. Sincere thanks to @redemo for starting the recent NamePros thread on LLLL domain names, and for suggesting that I do an analysis of 4L .comdomain names. I would like to thank @Compassion for introducing me to the site ShortNames.com, that I had never used until recently. A number of NamePros members made outstanding contributions in the discussion on the value of LLLL domain names. I would like to thank in particular @AEProgram, @Recons.Com, @HotKey, @Samer, @redemo and @BrandPlease. Also, sincere thanks to the great databases and tools that we have in domain name investing. Among those consulted for this article are ExpiredDomain.net, NameBio, Dofo, and ShortNames.