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Bob Hawkes

Single Dictionary Word Domain Names

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By Bob Hawkes, Aug 12, 2021
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How many authentic (in a major dictionary) single word .com domain names are in your portfolio?

  1. none

    97 votes
    46.4%
  2. 1-4

    68 votes
    32.5%
  3. 5-10

    21 votes
    10.0%
  4. 11-50

    14 votes
    6.7%
  5. 51-100

    3 votes
    1.4%
  6. more than 100

    6 votes
    2.9%
Total: 209 vote(s)
  1. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Single dictionary word domain names can be incredibly valuable, as the list of sales in the next section shows. That does not mean that any dictionary word has value, however. With the spread of online dictionaries, some of which allow user additions, one has to be careful about whether a name is truly a dictionary word.

    The Biggest Single Word Domain Sales Last 5 Years

    Any list of high value domain name sales is dominated by single dictionary word names. Here are some names that have sold in the previous five years, data from NameBio. I rounded prices to the nearest thousand.
    1. voice.com $30 million
    2. ice.com $3.5 million
    3. fly.com $2.89 million
    4. lotto.com $2.68 million
    5. angel.com $2.0 million
    6. zoom.com $2.0 million
    7. freedom.com $2.0 million
    8. is.com $1.95 million
    9. exodus.com $1.945 million
    10. super.com $1.2 million
    11. bullish.com $1.08 million
    12. nursing.com $950 thousand
    13. recursion.com $904 thousand
    14. great.com $900 thousand
    15. purple.com $900 thousand
    16. cover.com $825 thousand
    17. tattoo.com $812 thousand
    18. engage.com $803 thousand
    19. links.com $797 thousand
    20. poker.net $750 thousand
    21. files.com $750 thousand
    22. liquid.com $750 thousand
    23. view.com $737 thousand
    24. mastermind.com $600 thousand
    25. carrot.com $565 thousand
    26. wolf.com $550 thousand
    27. inception.com $550 thousand
    28. place.com $550 thousand
    29. online.casino $510 thousand
    30. blade.com $503 thousand
    31. snoring.com $502 thousand
    32. sleeping.com $502 thousand
    33. vacation.rentals $500 thousand
    34. tokens.com $500 thousand
    35. home.loans $500 thousand
    36. gorilla.com $496 thousand
    37. plants.com $450 thousand
    38. leads.com $435 thousand
    39. snappy.com $415 thousand
    40. asset.com $406 thousand
    41. cooking.com $403 thousand
    42. casinos.org $400 thousand
    43. pilot.com $400 thousand
    44. pain.com $400 thousand
    Almost all are .com, but there is one .net, one .org and three new extension names. Surprisingly, none in this elite list are country code.

    The majority are nouns, but there are a number of verbs, and the occasional adjective and adverb.

    The only sector that is listed a number of times is casinos/gambling.

    A few were sold not because of the word, but the acronym, such as ICE.com.

    Of course the majority of retail sales do not get reported to NameBio, so this represents only a subset of all big dictionary word sales from the last 5 years.

    Finding Single Word Sales On NameBio

    You can use the Dictionary category setting in NameBio, with the English Subcategory, along with whatever other settings you desire, to isolate only sales of single dictionary words. Here is the NameBio link for single word sales from the previous five years. There is also a NameBio subcategory setting for Spanish words.

    What Exactly Is A Dictionary Word?

    A dictionary word is, of course, a word that is listed in a dictionary. But it is not as simple as one might think, as some words are in certain dictionaries, but not in other dictionaries.

    I think to be genuinely a dictionary word it should be listed in at least one of these major dictionaries.
    Some other online dictionaries will include, along with regular words, slang and modern online expressions. Are those words? It depends on your definition, I guess. Among the best of the online broader dictionaries are the following.
    One Advantage Of Dictionary Word Domain Names

    One advantage of a true dictionary word brand, over a somewhat similar made-up word, is that in computer applications and Google the correct word will be the one completed, unless the brand has become quite well known.

    Many Dictionary Words Are Worthless

    But even if a term is listed in a major dictionary, that does not mean that the domain name necessarily has any value. Words that are highly technical, such as specialized scientific or medical terms, will usually be hard to sell. Words that have a serious negative connotation, or are controversial, will struggle to find a buyer as well.

    Who Would Want This Domain Name?

    No matter how many dictionaries a term is in, the key question really is the same as for domain names in general: Would multiple users ultimately consider this name for their site?

    An Easy Check For Word Popularity

    One helpful feature of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is if you scroll down to near the bottom of a listing for the word it will show you the popularity, for example top 20% of words in the dictionary. As a rough rule of thumb, single dictionary word .com domain names should generally be in the top 50% of word popularity to have a reasonable chance of end-user interest, but there are exceptions.

    Another easy check on popularity is to simply Google the term, and see how many results there are. Most words that are not overly specialized will have at least a few million results.

    Watch The Trends

    A word that is in one dictionary, but not the other main dictionaries, or only in the online dictionaries that permit user additions, may warrant additional research. One useful tool is Google Ngram Viewer. This plots relative occurrence of a word in all books that have been scanned into Google Books. It is simple to use: just enter the terms you want to check, separated by commas, and alter the date range if desired.

    Since most books go through careful editing, this is a good check on validity of a word. It also is a way to see if a term is growing, or dwindling, in popularity, in books at least.

    Last week’s NamePros Blog was on the metaverse, and also mentioned the similar term multiverse. Why not check out relative popularity of each term in Ngram Viewer? Keep in mind that only books up to 2019 are currently included.

    But It Seems Like A Word!

    Some terms which are in none of the major dictionaries still have the feel of a word, and indeed, in some cases, they may become a word, as additions are made to the dictionaries every year.

    These ‘almost words’ can be valuable as domain names, since generally they may be able to be trademarked for the related sector simply because not a current dictionary word.

    A Google Trick

    Something I discovered in researching this topic, if you enter in the URL bar define(example), with example replaced by the term under consideration, Google does a good job of taking you to the definition. This extends to words beyond current English, and to some degree includes legal, scientific and medical terms. You can often get the equivalent by simply including the term and a word like definition, but this query format will tell Google exactly what you want.

    Knowing the meaning of a term in another language, or an ancient language, can sometimes be useful in developing a possible brand story around the domain name. Any time I am creating made-up brandable names, I always use Google Translate to see if the term is a word in some other language.

    The Urban Dictionary

    There are several urban dictionaries, and it is wise to consult these to make sure that there is not some rude sense of a word you are considering. One of the best is simply UrbanDictionary. The term domainer is not a word according to the three major dictionaries cited earlier, but it is in the Urban Dictionary.
    Is This A Bad Word?

    A free and simple-to-use online resource is WordSafety.com to check for possible naughty or negative aspects of a word. Just enter a word, and it will alert you to swear words, negative meanings in other languages and so on.

    What Words Have Just Been Added?

    It is good to be on the lookout for words newly added to the dictionary, as now and then those words may be available in a major extension.Their recent inclusion probably means the term is gaining popularity. The OED tracks updates here. You can see here a list of new OED word entries added March 2021.

    Word Of The Day

    Several of the dictionaries have free word-of-the-day distribution services by email, an easy way to build your vocabulary. For example sign up for Merriam-Webster here. Sign up for the OED word-of-the day by email here.

    Finding Available Single Word Names

    It is challenging to find even somewhat less common dictionary words in the .com extension. One can search the about to expire lists, using services such as ExpiredDomains.net.

    There are dictionary word .com occasionally listed on NameLiquidate. Now and then single words in legacy extensions appear in the wholesale domain exchange DNWE, although you need a subscription to access that wholesale marketplace.

    Some good single dictionary names that were developed some time ago are being seriously under-utilized. It seems the owner must be unfamiliar with the current market value of the name, or very attached to it. I suspect privately is the best way to acquire strong dictionary word names in .com, although it requires skill and persistence.

    Beyond the .com extension, the search for single dictionary word names is much easier, although good ones are still hard to come by in .net and .org.

    Tools like OneWord.Domains can help, but double check results using the dictionary tools noted earlier, and for related trademarks. You will need a subscription for most TLDs, but a few including .co, .io, .app and .link are available free at One Word Domains. There is a discussion of OneWord.Domains on NamePros, and I interviewed the developer Steven Tey in the NamePros Blog.

    Almost always multiple people are looking to buy single word .com domain names in the NamePros Request section, and that is definitely an avenue for acquiring them.

    There was a recent discussion on NamePros on the difficulty of selling obscure dictionary .com domain names.

    Single Words Dominate New Extension Sales

    While there are exceptions, most of the significant domain name sales in new extensions are in single dictionary words. Fortunately, for most extensions, with far fewer registrations, it is much easier to find single word domain names. One Word Domains covers a number of the new extensions.

    The same holds for many country codes, with fewer registrations, easier to find common dictionary word domains.

    Final Thoughts

    It is satisfying to own a dictionary word .com. As time goes on, I think it is likely that even somewhat less common words will increase in worth. That is not to say that overly-specialized words will, in most cases, ever be purchased by an end-user.

    When considering a word, search for uses that might broaden the original intended use of the word. As an example, I have modulability, a word from radio communication more popular a few decades ago. But I think the word could be a nice brand for any sort of modular product or service.

    I hope you will share in the discussion section your opinions on what makes a saleable dictionary word. Also, please vote in the associated poll.

    Feel free, if you wish, to share one or two experiences in selling or acquiring single word .com domain names. However, please do not use the discussion thread to promote your current listings.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 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 104th blog post on NamePros. View all blog posts

    Home Page:
    https://namesthat.win
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  5. Comments (28)

  6. topdom

    topdom Top Contributor VIP

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    sports.com, properties.com, missing..just to let endusers know.
     
  7. johnn

    johnn WeSellName.com PRO VIP ★★★★★★★★★★

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    May be 10% of members here own some real one word dictionary.
    The rest are one word but they are not in the dictionary.
     
  8. NickB

    NickB it's a mystery VIP

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    single .com words that are worth owning are sadly out of my budget - so I voted 0......Have some in other extensions though....oh well

    Nice write up Bob - interesting that every word listed in the top 46 is an English word - wonder what the highest non English single word domain is
     
  9. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Thanks, and yes there are many more. I only included sales from the 5 year period that had been authenticated and entered in NameBio. Clearly many other sales, some at huge prices, were announced on social media, but either not included because on extended payments, not simply domain name sales (i.e.included other business assets), or more simply not submitted with verification to be included. I find once one goes beyond a recognized list, such as DNJournal or NameBio, it quickly becomes complex which to include and which not.
    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  10. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    That is an interesting question. I generated list using NameBio English dictionary word filter, so they would have been excluded.

    I just now looked without that. Possibly the highest is bico.com which is a word in Portuguese and some other language, and sold this year for $350k. There are names which are more common outside the English language world, like perhaps Ava, that sold for $792k also this year.

    Bob
     
  11. DN Playbook

    DN Playbook Established Member

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    I have a number of dictionary word domains. But most are in a foreign language. All coms. Short invented names based on dictionary words and foreign words is where you have a better shot at getting something at wholesale.
     
  12. marijuanadomain

    marijuanadomain Established Member

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  13. boker

    boker Top Contributor VIP

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    Lot's of research, as usual, thanks. Main dictionary english words are hard to find for a decent price these days. My bet is on less known words, that can be brandable and because they have a meaning and they sound familiar, they can become great brands, at xxxx value. For example, I have hand regged 'obround',( shows as in top 26% of used words) which is a geometric shape, less known, used mostly in lightnings, furniture and a few other industries. It could be used by a construction/architecture company and in a few other areas. These kind of words, even if less known, could bring a nice ROI.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  14. jiy k

    jiy k Established Member

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    Thank you for this Exhaustive Article.
     
  15. huwenbin

    huwenbin Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    I check my words in Google Ngram Viewer, most of them exist, others can be found in some dict.
    Some words scientific, medical, maybe longer, but much use


    I can't believe so many wrong words exist in my dictionary, after using Google Ngram Viewer, I know they are right, exist.
    Thanks very much!
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  16. Future Sensors

    Future Sensors 78% of human domainers will be replaced by robots Gold Account

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    I think you're using some great tools (congrats), but your interpretation of the results is not good.
     
  17. huwenbin

    huwenbin Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    I know you mean they are not common use
    common english word 3000. I really have none.
    I check 100000+ words 90000 registered.
    Or you can give a best explanation!
    Thanks
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2021
  18. DuDD

    DuDD Established Member

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    Which is more valuable, one word domain name or 2L??
    I think it`s a good question:xf.grin:


    thanks Bob
    thanks for the article
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2021
  19. comRaid

    comRaid Established Member

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    Thanks for always helping us understand more through your well-researched write-ups.
    I think some aspect of this topic requires further discussion:
    What form of a word is most preferred by businesses?
    (Or what is the order of priority of word forms?)
    For example- Alchemy.com. Alchemist.com, Alchemised.com, Alchemising.com
    - ing, -ed, -fy, -ic, -ly, -ness, -less, -lessness, -ful ........ which of these suffixes are preferred and which ones to be avoided?
     
  20. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    You have posed the excellent question. I think that topic would make a great blog post all in its own right, and have duly noted.

    In your Alchemy example, I think the vast majority would favour the first two, but possibly a business, if there are alchemy businesses :lookaround:, would consider, if pricing attractive, the last two forms.

    Certainly most strongly prefer the singular base version of a word. That said, even the list of major sales has numerous names ending in ing, plurals, etc.

    Re singular and plural, most prefer singular for a brand and plural for an exact match selling an item. For example fence could be a powerful brand in many sectors, but fences implies it is a business that will build or sell fences for you. But there are many exceptions. For example advisors would arguably be a better, or at least as good, brand than advisor for a firm with many investment advisors.

    This is not based on any data, but my feeling would be that if all forms were dictionary words, more companies would prefer a word ending in ly or maybe ic than say less or ed. But I think it is misleaing to generalize, and really when faced with a specific case probably polling 10 friends or associates can be illuminating. For example, a word like helped or cured or inspired would be a very good brand for certain businesses, in my opinion, better than helply (if that were a word).

    Another test, possibly relevant, is to search for the words in Open Corporates, if there are listings, and on Ngram Viewer, which at least shows use in books, or simply Google precise match (with quotations).

    Thanks for the important question.

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2021
  21. comRaid

    comRaid Established Member

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    Thanks for the elaborate reply. The singular base version of almost all words (even average words) are already taken. Some not so desirable word forms of average keywords are only available for Handreg. When I started, I also picked up a few names like that, assuming all dictionary words are highly valuable. I am sure that your forthcoming blog post on this topic would offer some guidance to newbies like me.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2021
  22. Jason Baudendistel

    Jason Baudendistel CEO Wibbets Inc

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    Whoever said over 100 I'm pretty skeptical that would be a priceless domain portfolio if true.
     
  23. huwenbin

    huwenbin Upgraded Member Gold Account

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    Am I!
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
  24. PhongSGC

    PhongSGC Top Contributor VIP

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    voice is just top 2% of word popularity
     
  25. Alop

    Alop Restricted (15-30%) Gold Account

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    2L
     
  26. manuelbroker89

    manuelbroker89 New Member

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    The problem with this type of DN .. they ain't cheap.
    around >$4000 in many registars and need some serious prospect for keep renewing this kind of asset.
    the gap between the old and new domainers are the money they had to invest these type 1N DN.

    good theory ,very nice information
    but less practical...i mean for some people yet unreachable.
     
  27. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Interesting question re which has more worth, 2L or common worth.

    Of course depends on specific letters and words.

    I think the answer may depend on your region as well.

    As an English speaker, a short common word is, for me, easier to remember correctly, and also gives a chance to hint at what the brand is all about without boxing it in.

    However, if English was not my first language, a 2L or 2N domain name might well be easier to remember.

    -Bob
     
  28. Bob Hawkes

    Bob Hawkes Top Member NameTalent VIP Gold Account Trusted Blogger

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    Indeed the common true dictionary words, like the ones in the major sales list in the article. are going to be very expensive to acquire, and will not be open to all investors. Also, even if statistically they represented the best investments, still risk associated if one put all your domain investment dollars into just one word. They will always be outside my personal acquisition level.

    I guess my thinking as I wrote the article, though, was about less common, but still potentially useful as a brands, names that might, with lots of searching, be acquired at reasonable costs (I define that as less than $100). Mainly my thinking in writing the article was some metrics and tools to help decide which are in this category, and which are the undesired words that will probably never have a buyer. I think the trick here is both finding which words are worth holding, and also pricing them correctly. Also, thinking about how you will present the name, and indeed where you try to sell it, might matter.

    Thank you for your comments, and welcome to NamePros!

    Bob
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2021
  29. Jason Baudendistel

    Jason Baudendistel CEO Wibbets Inc

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    Unless you luck out and someone gets tired of holding a one word your best bet is one word with an acronym or two word probably best bet. Brandable is another strategy, either smush two words together or take a high value keyword and add something catchy that flows with it. Two brandables I own and really like for example Carsaza and Splific both in dotcom.
     
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