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12|06|2008 09:09 am EDT

Wall Street Journal: “a Numeric Trend Blossoms in Internet Domain Monikers”

by Chad Kettner in Categories: News

The Wall Street Journal recently published a story by Carl Bialik discussing the growing popularity of numeric domains and why they are increasing in value.

According to Bialik, the future is bright for numeric domains for several reasons:

  • No need for translation between countries…
  • Some numbers, such as 360, have global meaning…
  • Radio stations could make use of names that match their frequency…
  • Local sites can be built around zip codes and area codes…
  • Less characters are often easier for internet users to remember…

The rise of numeric domains is impossible to ignore. The article points out that 11 of the priciest 100 domains sold this year were numeric – compared with no more than one in each of the past three years. The top domains reached impressive sale prices with 770.com selling for $343,2008, 173.com selling for $302,790, and nine other closing prices ranging from $92,000-$188,889. Plus, recent bids for 88.com at Sedo’s numeric auction reached as high as $325,000 although the domain failed to sell as the reserve was not met.

“Numbers could be making a comeback,” says Bialik. “A group in Australia plans to develop 100.com into a search engine that will deliver the 100 most relevant results. An Aspen, Colo., equity researcher has spent more than $1 million on numeric domains for a project that is yet to be determined. And on Thursday, an auction of dozens of numeric domains closed, with bids as high as $325,000 for 88.com.”

While a random combination of numbers might meaning nothing to some people, it could often be memorable to others. Five-digit zip codes, for example, are irrelevant to 99% of the internet’s population – but the domain could be successfully developed to offer some kind of service to people within that region.

“There’s a lot of attractiveness in using numbers, but the real limitation is the human brain,” says Ward Hanson, a fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. “It’s hard to associate an image with just any string of numbers. You really have to create meaning around it.”

And wherever there is meaning, there is also great value!

[via WSJ]

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1 Comment

Kevin Ohashi

December 7, 2008 @ 5:42 am EDT

“There’s a lot of attractiveness in using numbers, but the real limitation is the human brain,” says Ward Hanson, a fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. “It’s hard to associate an image with just any string of numbers. You really have to create meaning around it.”

And for some reason we couldn’t use letters for this? Sounds like a load of BS to me. The logic is numbers make sense to everyone, but these particular numbers make sense to only a tiny percent of internet community making it meaningful. So, basically there is no advantage in taking something like a zipcode when you could have entire city, state, region in english (or other language) .com and have it be more broad, more meaningful to more people.

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