analysis An Updated Look At Domain Names With Hyphens

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While hyphenated domain names are popular in some parts of the world, notably Germany, most domain investors shy away from them.

Only a small percentage of domain name sales have hyphens. But there are also far fewer names containing hyphens that are listed for sale. So what about the rate of hyphenated domain name sales?

About two years ago, I took a look at hyphens in domain names: Want A Hyphen With That Domain Name? In that analysis, I found that hyphenated domain names sold less frequently, and at lower prices. However, differences were perhaps shrinking with time.

Therefore, I thought it was time to take another look at hyphens in domain names, but just using NameBio-reported sales from the past two years. Also, I limited this analysis to sales $500 and up in order to reduce the impact of wholesale acquisitions.

Few .com Names Include Hyphens

I used NameBio to search for sales in the .com extension, with and without hyphens. I just used sales from the past two-year period. I included sales from all venues, but only sales with prices of $500 or more. That still includes some domain investor acquisitions, but far fewer than the $100 limit I used in the 2019 analysis. I excluded international character domain names using double hyphens as coding.

With Advanced Search at Dofo I could find the number of .com domain names currently for sale, with and without hyphens, again excluding international character names. Dofo covers all of the main domain name marketplaces, so is a pretty accurate view of domain names for sale, although names listed only on domain investor independent sites are missed.

I found that only 3.1% of .com names listed for sale include hyphens. Even fewer names with hyphens actually sell. Just 1.8% of $500+ sales over the two-year period are from names that contained hyphens. If one looks at sales dollar volume, instead of numbers, it shrinks further to only 1.1%.


Since a smaller percentage of hyphenated names sell, it is expected that the industry-wide apparent sell-through rate (STR) is lower for domain names including hyphens. I found a 0.21% STR for names with hyphens, versus 0.37% when no hyphen is part of the name.

These STR are lower than observed in 2019, due to the $500 price cutoff used this time. These are apparent sell-through rates, because many retail sales do not get reported in NameBio. Keep in mind that this is an industry-wide statistic, and does not apply directly to any particular portfolio.

What About .de Domain Names

As mentioned earlier, hyphenated names are more accepted in Germany. Therefore, one would expect the percentage of names that include hyphens to be higher in the .de country code extension. I did a similar analysis for that extension, with the results shown below.


The results indicate that 28.8% of .de names listed for sale include hyphens. That drops to 13.0% when we look at sales data from the last two years in the extension.

Hyphenated .org Domain Names

I also looked at a few other extensions. Results for .org are shown below. Hyphens are more popular in .org than in .com, with 4.0% of .org names listed for sale containing hyphens, and 6.6% of sales in this price range containing a hyphen. However, if instead of number I look at sales dollar volume, well under 1% are from sales of names including hyphens.


As a result, the sell-through rate is higher for hyphenated .org domain names than for names without hyphens, 1.34% versus 0.79%.

Interestingly, for $500+ sales, the sell-through rate in .org is substantially higher than in .com for the same parameters. Yes, there are way more sales in .com than in .org, over 61,400 versus 3954, but the rate of sales to listed names is higher in .org


I also looked at average prices. In all three cases, the average sales price is lower for hyphenated domain names. Note that these are average prices keeping only sales $500 and up. The overall NameBio average prices are substantially lower, due to the sales, mainly acquisitions, not much above $100.


Highest-Value Sales With Hyphens Last Two Years

Here are the highest-value .com sales of names from the last two years for names including hyphens.
  1. $61,990
  2. $57,000
  3. $45,211
  4. $30,500
  5. $21,494
  6. $20,000
  7. $17,999
  8. $15,888
  9. $15,136
  10. $14,888
When I look over these sales, and others from the top 50, there is no dominant pattern: some are very short, some multi-word long names, and from various sectors.

I also looked at the top hyphenated sales in .org, with the highest ones being for $20,050 and for $12,150.

In the top sales of country-code extension names that include hyphens, .de dominated, taking 18 of the top 20 sales. There was one .se and one .eu in the top 20 list.

There is not a single sale in NameBio, from the past two years, of a new extension domain name with a hyphen selling for more than $500. Over the same period, there were 1213 new extension sales ($500+) that did not contain a hyphen, representing $5.2 million in sales volume.

What About Names That Should Have Hyphens?

If looking for a refresher on what words should be spelled with hyphens, this article by Brittney Ross on Hyphens published at the Grammarly Blog is excellent.

As she suggests, when in doubt the best thing is to check whether the word is shown with a hyphen in a major dictionary, such as Collins, Merriam-Webster and Oxford (subscription required, but the more basic Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries can be accessed free).

I wondered if words that should have a hyphen, might sell better as domain names with hyphens. That did not appear to be the case, at least for the names that I checked.

The abbreviation for electric bike seems, by most sources, to preferably be written with a hyphen, e-bike. If you use a quotation Google search, ”ebike”, to show exact instead of intentional search, it yields about 55 million results, while ”e-bike” yields 92 million results. However, in terms of domain name sales, ebike has been part of 121 sales listed in NameBio, including the million dollar sale this summer by Buckley Media, while e-bike is just part of 8 sales, the highest at $13,900.

DotDB shows 343 extensions registered for ebike, compared to 167 for the hyphenated e-bike.

Major Brands With Hyphens

There are a number of major brands with hyphens in their names, such as Coca-Cola, Mercedes-Benz and Merriam-Webster. They have websites on hyphenated domain names.

The current article concentrated on sales from the last two years. Check out the following article and discussion for the Highest Domain Sales of All Time Containing a Hyphen.

There is a NamePros thread to Showcase Domain Names With Hyphens, should you want to highlight hyphenated names from your portfolio.

Sincere thanks to NameBio and Dofo for the data used in this analysis.
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The views expressed on this page by users and staff are their own, not those of NamePros.
Thank you for the data Bob, as always

Hyphens are a killer. Not once have I bought a hyphened domain. If you're dealing in hyphens, it better be very appropriate. The domain Gambling "hyphen" Law "hyphen" Us dot com for $57k is just baffling use made, and parked at GoDaddy as of today
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Great Analysis.

Frankly, hyphen domains do not appeal to me at all. I look at the top 10 list you posted, and none speaks to me. Though, I understand the inherent value in domains like digital-identity, united-states and A-K, I still won't register them if given the chance
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BLOCK-CHAIN.COM SOLD 30,000 - USD ON 2018-01-05 @ SEDO.COM

few more hyphen domains sold : Source namebio
Thanks for a very interesting read. I have one hyphen and one which I had planned to build a blog on is I never got round to it! Maybe one day I will.
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few more hyphen domains sold : Source namebio
Thank you for the information. Note this article, as an update, covers sales from last 2 years, is why those sales were not listed. They are found in the linked articles.

No doubt higher sales in hyphenated names in past, but I wanted to look at recent data to better reflect current environment.

I like hyphenated names. They clearly spell out the Business/Service intended for. But at the same time it is very uncertain in terms of sale. Only Premium hyphenated ones have high chances of selling.
Thanks for this detailed article.
Overall I believe that hyphenated domains follow the 1% rule, most of the good+ ones are worth about 1% the value of the .com domain without an hyphen.
*But that's about 1 hyphen, 2 or more hyphens in a domain is entirely a different story and will be far more difficult to sell.
My very first domain sale was a three-word hyphenated .net domain that I had bought for an idea I had that I never got around to. Buyer approached me out of the blue (it wasn't listed for sale) and I sold it to them for $500. I've been hooked on domaining ever since.
Today (Oct 14 2021) DNJounal's bi-weekly domain sales report includes 8 hyphenated domain sales, ranging in price from $2,000+ to $8,000+. Obviously, "- domains" aren't setting the world on fire but clearly there is interest and sales action.

I own very FEW hyphenated domains, but those that I have acquired weren't purchased for resale but, rather, with an eye towards eventual development. Of course, it never ceases to amaze me how fast time passes. Sigh . .

One such "domain in waiting . . and waiting . . and waiting": Not bad as domains go and one that I really really really need to throw together a little something on . . again . . but keep it plodding along. :-/

Another:, which at the time I thought could work for an online "Financial Planning" tool, etc. Think I got it for reg fee, though I wasn't into hunting down 3-letter domains with a hyphen somewhere. Still like . . I guess . . 'cause I keep paying the darned renewal fees. lol

So, FWIW, like every other domain, IF your going to make a move on a hypenated domain . . choose wisely . . which is easier said than done. Keywords alone do not make a hypenated domain valuable.
Thanks Bob for the research. There are a few sales/dropcatch above 500 on namebio even yesterday and today.

Domain Price Date Venue 820 USD 2021-10-15 Sedo 724 USD 2021-10-14 GoDaddy 959 USD 2021-10-14 GoDaddy 934 USD 2021-10-14 DropCatch 8,691 USD 2021-10-13 GoDaddy 8,666 USD 2021-10-13 GoDaddy

I also have couple of hyphen domain

Fingers crossed on if I will be able to sell them.

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Thanks for the various reports of recent hyphenated name sales.

I perhaps should have included in the article that while they sell at a lower rate than non-hyphenated names, names with hyphens do sell regularly. Over the two years of the study the average number of sales of hyphenated domain names at prices of $500 plus was 1.5 names per day. It is not surprising some days have 3 or 4 sales (and some none).

I tried to avoid my own opinion in writing the article. I do see a place for having some hyphenated names in a portfolio, particularly where the term without hyphen is very high value, and you have an opportunity to acquire at modest price. I also see a role for names commonly written with a hyphen, although my data did not seem to support that, and names where the European market is an important sector. The results here lead me to look more carefully at hyphenated .org names, perhaps.

Thanks for all the data and input, everyone.

If your domain name is two words you may want to separate the words with a hyphen for readability: But, keep in mind that use of hyphens also strongly correlates with spammy behavior and decreases domain name readability and memorability.
Are not the following saying the opposite thing about readability? Or do you mean a hyphen in one word would decrease readability? Definitely would agree with that!
If your domain name is two words you may want to separate the words with a hyphen for readability:
decreases domain name readability and memorability.
I think in a long, multiword name, hyphens can help make it more readable (particularly if camel casing not used), and of course in early days of search the hyphen helped teach search engines where a name should be broken.

I think the problem is that much of world has come to not use hyphens, so there is an expectation for that. But not an absolute. As noted, some huge brands use them.


ps Welcome to NamePros, @leezamonty - glad you joined this incredible online community, and sharing in the discussions.

  1. [*] $61,990
    [*] $57,000
    [*] $45,211
    [*] $30,500
    [*] $21,494
    [*] $20,000
    [*] $17,999
    [*] $15,888
    [*] $15,136
    [*] $14,888

Interelestingly that UNITED-STATES.ORG still unsold
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Thanks again Bob, superb data, I have been collecting hyphenated domains for the last couple of years I have a couple of Meta-keyword so maybe they will sell soon to the German Market.
I just found this thread today... here's my thoughts:

"Yes, there are way more sales in .com than in .org, over 61,400 versus 3954, but the rate of sales to listed names is higher in .org"

I wonder if this is because so many people who have terrible handregging choices are told to focus on .com. I've only owned and own a few hyphenated domains myself and I am pretty cautious about which ones I take interest in. So perhaps the .org names sell at a better ratio because there's a lower ratio of crap names being registered in .org. Though there are definitely some stinkers out there still.

On another note... why on earth did someone pay 20k+ for and why is the .com still available? Seems there's been a few Treaty of Lisbon documents over the years. and .org are both taken and parked with GoDaddy.
why on earth did someone pay 20k+ for and why is the .com still available?
While I don’t know if this was true in this specific name, quite often names that sell for more than one might think are because of past use and existing high-quality links.
Just reg'd "Trade-Mark .org"

I made an exception with the hyphen in this case. Previously a developed site over the years (interestingly, in the context of connecting tradespeople with potential contracts/jobs). Taken in 45 extensions, a few of which are developed sites in the "registering trade-marks" field.

Also, "trade-mark" is an officially accepted way of writing the term (it's officially two words in the UK, one in US English and hyphenated in Canadian English).
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