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Bob Hawkes

An Outsider Look at 4-Letter .COM Domain Names

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By Bob Hawkes, Jun 17, 2021
?

Do you invest in 4L .COM domain names?

  1. No

    96 votes
    25.7%
  2. Not currently, but looking to acquire some.

    81 votes
    21.7%
  3. Yes, but only in speakable names.

    68 votes
    18.2%
  4. Yes, both speakable and non-speakable names.

    129 votes
    34.5%
Total: 374 vote(s)
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    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.

    ImageSalesPriceLastYearR.png

    ImageSalesPrice5YrAverageLLLLr.png

    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.

    ImageAskingPrice.png

    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.

    Image-ShortNamesScreen.png

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
    The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
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  4. Bob Hawkes

    About The Author — Bob Hawkes

    Domain analyst, writer and informal educator, with particular interests in domain name phrases and non-business uses for domain names. I am a risk averse domain investor who only invests modest amounts in a variety of extensions and niches. Don't hesitate to contact me - I like to help!

    This is Bob Hawkes's 96th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

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  5. Comments (40)

  6. TERADOMAIN

    TERADOMAIN QualityNames.com VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Thanks BOB for sharing. I will dig into it and share few more things.
     
  7. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Bob, took a quick glance, and i am in “full bloom love.” My favorite niche.

    Thank you. I will be adding good 4L words.
    Started list, before this post; obligated share best LLLL.com developed ones, i found.

    Samer
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  8. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  9. lyman

    lyman Established Member

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    Thank you for the valuable and well organized information
     
  10. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam AMDB.tv VIP

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    Thanks for this. Your analysis was spot on.

    A little typo here:

     
  11. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    SO VERSATILE!! ACRONYM COUNTS!!
    IBKR.com (interactive Broker
    GOAT.com (Greatest of all time)

    All developed and fully operational.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  12. FolioTeam

    FolioTeam AMDB.tv VIP

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    Lol. It shows. Especially, how you kept using "Speakable" instead of the more popular jargon, "Pronounceable"
     
  13. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Yes, had wondered about 4L and corporate stock symbols. Do they sell sometimes?
    Also radio station call letters probably in demand, if in position no TM issue.
     
  14. Samer

    Samer Top Contributor VIP

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    Not all own theirs.

    Apple (More Cash than any: $195.57 Billion) cant buy theirs
    (AAPL.com is a Parking page)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
  15. Avijit Roy

    Avijit Roy Top Contributor VIP

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    Really interesting article...Thanks for writing...
     
  16. The Durfer

    The Durfer Top Contributor VIP Gold Account

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  17. papeter

    papeter Upgraded Member Blue Account

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    Very informative article Mr B. Thank you
    So my BUNH.com won't be worth that much then?
     
  18. James Rayers

    James Rayers The Business Name Co VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    Regional radio and TV stations just don't have the vision or the budget for 4L .com domains. I have tried and failed there.

    Stock tickers always made sense to me for investor microsites but again the sales don't come freely.
     
  19. DuDD

    DuDD Established Member

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    • Chinese enterprises also use 4L a lot
     
  20. DuDD

    DuDD Established Member

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  21. Mister Funsky

    Mister Funsky Top Contributor VIP

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  22. Haroon Basha

    Haroon Basha IZUQ.COM VIP

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    Thank you very ]much Sir @Bob Hawkes
    Being a avid trader of 4 letter dot com names, I find your article very informative, useful and highly commendable. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
     
  23. marijuanadomain

    marijuanadomain Established Member

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    I bought these 4L domains at $15 each years ago at namepros from someone who called him/herself a domain expert/investor --yea and who is laughing all the way to the bank now.

    gxnx.com
    kvlp.com
    llyu.com
    vhvk.com
    wzwi.com
    zmmr.com

    www.squarely.com
     
  24. StarEarth15

    StarEarth15 Established Member

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    Here r few possible abbreviations;
    * B: Buy, Bet, By, Best, Bright...
    * U: Us, United, Use, Unique, Up.....
    * N: National, Natural, Nice, New..
    * H: Home, House, Human, Hot, High, Healthy...
    => Buy Us New Home ...... and many more options

    Hope this could help you to come up with great initialisms :)
     
  25. StarEarth15

    StarEarth15 Established Member

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    Thanks Bob. Great tips included 🙏

    I think the most important before buying we have to think if we can come up with many initialisms from that domain name.
    Otherwise, its very important to be easy to spell even its not speakable.

    Good luck to everyone
     
  26. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    @Samer you are a legend. Some people use "goat" as a cuss world in good ole Blighty. "Come on, you old goat!" they jab. Now there's a snarky reply. "GOAT? What, greatest of all time?"
     
  27. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    Question @Bob Hawkes. You've got egxb com listed at ebay for $ 25 fixed price (buy now?). Is that a legit and sensible platform to do business on? I mean $ 25 doesn't seem much for a 4 letter com whatever the letter combination so I'd be seriously wary. Or is it all halal with our man Jamal in Nepal?
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  28. redemo

    redemo Established Member

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    I knew it was a dodgy listing from the get-go. Click on egxb.com takes you to a different auction for etmie.com. Jamal was right. Always trust your instincts. :watching:
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2021
  29. Domaining Ocean

    Domaining Ocean Top Contributor VIP

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    Thanks for the detailed Insights, Bob. We're responsible for FIBR.com's sell last year representing the seller.
     
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