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Chinese Numeric and Acronym Boom or Bubble?

DomainSherpa Discussion with Michael Cyger, Andrew Rosener, Frank Schilling and Shane CultraNumerics and acronyms are hot and seemingly increase in price by the week (and sometimes day).

Three, four and five number numerics (like recently sold for $5,079) have increased in price so quickly that now eight numbers (like recently sold for $380) are now being registered. Even five letters are selling for hundreds (like recently sold for $686).

In this DomainSherpa Discussion:

  • Are we experiencing too much growth in too fast a time period?
  • Is this type of growth sustainable?
  • Is this a domain name bubble that’s going to pop?
  • Should you stay clear of this investment?
  • And much more!

We discuss these questions and more with Sherpas Andrew Rosener, Frank Schilling and Shane Cultra.

Discussion (22:48): Watch | Listen/Download Audio | Sponsors

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61 Responses to “Chinese Numeric and Acronym Boom or Bubble?”

  1. Thanks for discussion such a wonderful topic with us. This was really helpful for everyone. I request to you please keep posting like this.

  2. Keith DeBoer says:

    I’m not sure about what Frank said about China’s wealth. Yes their GDP rivals the USA but there are a lot of poor people in China too. He may be right but I’d like to hear his source. I have my doubts because although USA and China have equal number of billionaires according to CNBC, they have only 1.3 million people who are millionaire while the USA’s has 15.7 people who have millionaire status. Yes, I know you that many middle class Chinese are investing in domains but I’m still not sure Frank’s statement is accurate.

    1. Keith DeBoer says:

      PS Wish there was an edit button. Please excuse my typos and poor grammar above :-(

  3. albert says:

    When it comes to Los Angeles Real Estate, Asians in general do not seem to have a boundaries.

  4. DT says:

    Another informative show. Thanks.

    If I am a Chinese investor and just purchased an for $y – what happens now? Am I likely to hold my new ‘lucky number’ or sell now for quick profit (while the market is hot)? To whom? What do the stats say about ‘frequent movers’ in this space? Can anyone shed light?

    1. Shane Cultra says:


      Two choice. One, you can sell it and take your profits. Enjoy the good buy and the profits. Two, hold. This is my opinion only but a has been as good as gold (actually better than gold lately). I think they only go up from here. If you are going to take your profits from a sale and invest in another domain I don’t think you can beat what you’ll make on this one in the future.

      I don’t know what purchased for $y means though so I’ll assume you got a good buy.
      If XN represents a numeric domain of some length. I would say the same thing depending on the length of the name

      Stats say numerics are moving up every day and that a person that has booked a profit has never lost money

  5. Interesting. In my business I see a brand \ business at the end of a sale, but this seems completely different. Many of these names are bought not just as something to hold and invest, but their is a luck, or belief factor too, which we really do not understand that well in the west.

    I have been to China before, really had a good experience. Will be interesting to see how these numerics and 5L east style names value in a year.

  6. Domain King says:

    That there are more rich people in China than people in the USA implies that 1/5 of all Chinese are “rich”. That is probably not true. The number of dollar millionaires in China are probably the same as in the USA. Roughly 10.000.000 households are millionaire in both countries.

    1. “Probably not true” = obviously absurd.

      Top 20% of households in China had 56,000 yuan of disposable income, according to 1 study. That’s just $9k.

      “Average annual income for a family in 2012 was 13,000 renminbi, or about $2,100.”

      USA is 23.5% as populous as China.

      1. Shane Cultra says:

        Stats are 2.1 million Millionaires in China, 7 in the US. Also say that 1 million of those millionaires in China were added in ONE year. Stocks and investments are valued more on growth than now and thus all the emphasis on China

        1. Keith DeBoer says:

          Just to add to the discussion. This Oct 2015 article at CNBC says that in terms of millionaires there are 1.3 million in China vs 15.7 million in the USA. So hard to see how Frank’s statement holds up but maybe he has a source. Here is mine:

    2. Zac Zarev says:

      Great Show Michael and Sherpas!

      @Rick, based on reported sales, congrats at a phenomenal year! For comparisons sake, if you ware an Australian CEO, you’d be within the top five here in Australia.

      Thanks all for the lively discussion.

      1. Zac Zarev says:

        Sorry for the spelling and grammar errors, it’s 5am here… Must get some sleep…

  7. Chris Ulrich says:

    At this point, are all the domains taken? Other than generating a list, scrubbing against the root zone and then trying to register, is there a better way to handle such a large volume of permutations to be tested?

    1. Chris Ulrich says:

      (or the DNS scrub trick) ?

  8. elevator says:

    This is the real time of decision making, either you join or forget about the quad chips of a thing. But I just have 5 quads .net and one 7N for sale. After selling that, I will know what next I know where I can get them after the sale, but I have no fund to get them.

    Thanks to Mike and all of the sherpas for this great interview.

  9. Jim Holleran says:

    Also, for those holding names, the floor on the worst names is now over $100. Check Namebio and you will see what I mean. And the Chinese do buy names with “4” in them,(I sold tons of 6n to Chinese up to $450. Check the “whois” and you will see. Also, check out Pheenix, Dropcatch, and the number of Backorders on

    Good luck to all those involved, and remember there are 3 types of people:

    1) Those who makes things happen
    2) Those who watch things happen
    3) Those who want to know what the “F*ck just happen.

  10. Jim Holleran says:

    Andrew is right about market. I bought 4600 of them, sold 800 of them already. Been selling many with “4” in them to Chinese as well. Wish I would of bought 20,000 of them, but it will be the great ROI I will ever do in this industry and I been around since 1998.

  11. DNXIL says:

    Great discussion guys, thank you for sharing your thoughts. And Michael, you are very professional and decent, and an enrichment to the domainer community.

  12. satyadeep singh says:

    I am new and want make some money in domain name business? How can i make money i
    don’t understand?
    How can i buy $10-$20 domain name and sell it to $60 to $80?

  13. Helmuts says:

    short, but good :)


  14. Rich says:

    Shane!! i got a question for you.

    If this domains are treated like commodities,why does does the 4L or 5L need to be why can’t it be or for that matter why the numeric is more appealing if it is 555888 vs.394481?
    That to me does not make sense a 5 character .com is a 5 character name SINCE it is treated/valued as a trade.
    What I’m trying to say,is there a quality in this names that really matter?

    Thank you

    1. Shane Cultra says:


      I guess the commodity word is not quite right. There are different values given to individual names based on what the Chinese deem quality letters or numbers. 4 is considered unlucky and vowels and Vs don’t exist in their language. It doesn’t mean that the other names aren’t valuable to the Western markets. It only means that the real buyers are Chinese because the names that appeal to them are the names that are selling for more money. If the Western buyers were driving the market then names with C and A would be some of the most valuable. Perhaps lucky 7.

      So no they aren’t a commodity where every thing is the same. But it is more bulk buying of portfolios than its ever been. At under $100 they will take big lots. Over $3K they start picking out individual names.

  15. I happily have a sales spread from 6N -9N I created a website to spark some interest and three days later over 1000 visits …. still getting indexed I think? Some redirects in place but by adding Chinese scripts it really seems to have been picked up on! Such is the interest in this numeric domain space. I also believe at such an early stage of the Internet that the bargains like good pattern 9N’s are still there, yes you may have to hold for a couple of years but it will be worth the wait, imo. I have only spent what I am prepared to lose, however I do have faith in my choices and do not see this as betting it all on the red so to speak. Thanks for the show, regards.

  16. kompf says:

    if you’ve made your money, enjoy it. others need to make theirs too. if someone wants to invest in the numerics market now who are we to tell them to stop? this is what keeps our industry afloat- names changing hands- its called liquidity. and it’s vital for our industry. if the stock market did not have new entrants who were willing to spend money in the market, on hopes of participating in an upswing, our capitalist way of life would be quite different. sure, caution needs to be heeded, but if too much caution is advised and exercised and fear sets in, then we are looking at a disaster- which will negatively affect all of us. is that what you want for our industry? just like the price of stocks, our words and actions do have a direct effect on pricing perceptions. it could only take the concerted efforts of 2 or 3 sherpas to drive down the price of an entire class of domains (in this case numerics) if that was their agenda. george soros does it in the forex market frequently to his advantage. i don’t know about you, but i don’t want the price of numerics and short domains to go down. i want to profit from the upswing! isn’t this why we all became domainers? and thank goodness the chinese play a bigger role in keeping the price of these domains up for us. my account manager at shares some interesting facts with me. and keep in mind there are still millions of chinese middle class folks with disposable income who are moving into the urban areas and will be getting plugged in. the investors who are now buying these names from left and right are going to be selling to these new entrants. the cycle will continue until something new comes up. by that time, we will be fully immersed in that trend as well. cheers!

    1. Nile says:

      You right
      One point what i have seen is we now have 3 partition in this industry.
      1> who believe and expert in keywords and .com only(if you ask them they do not care of new tlds or number name)
      2>New tlds who has poured millions of dollar for all future expansion(if you ask this people they see future in new tlds)
      3>Whole new chinese investment which see value in short name and number name(if you ask them they might do not care of keyword names)

      Everyone has a chance to make money in this industry which was unknown to new investor, and thanks to top level experts and some key government people who has done good job to bring new investment in this sector and this 2 new sector is just at it’s starting point or we can tell baby compare to keyword names who has proven in past, but everyone know new generation always smarter then old so this new baby going to rise way better then the old baby for sure, but it need time and good care from elders.

  17. Nile says:

    This is really a nice show regarding the Number names.
    Frank was good explaining some nice point , I just want to know which exact date he sold his 2000 name at $1500 each and is all of them was without A, E, I, O , U and V or was mix bag.
    Market has not seen $1500 chips price since last 2 to 3 week, current price is around $2.5 – 3k each, so when did this happen is really important for us to know.
    Many domineer still wondering why he has sold at half the price of market value , plus he was telling in this interview he still seen future of 4L name as valuable which is out of bubble equation.
    Really appreciate in advance Micheal if you can get the accurate answer from frank , which help many to divert their investment in future.

  18. Nathan says:

    Where do you register for only $8.50 per .com? I’ve seen $10.XX as the lowest.

    1. @Nathan – You can get all-in .COM for $8.10 at It is a rate for domain professionals. Just contact us and request it.

      1. Shane Cultra says:

        Uniregistry of course and Godaddy has a Domainer’s club with a fee that gets you to that $8.50. Those would be my first two choices. Enom and Name are great as well.

        1. Nathan says:

          I see Uniregistry as $10.88. Am I missing something? As one of the sponsors of the show, I’d be inclined buy from there.

          Is there a club fee, like GoDaddy?

          Also, never heard of Epik.

          1. Hi Nathan, yes we do have a discounted rates. Please contact me so we can discuss your needs. [email protected] or 818 601-3171 based in California. I look forward to meeting you.

            1. Shane Cultra says:

              See Nathan,

              Ask and you shall receive :)

            2. Ken O'Brien says:

              Great show guys…

              @Nathan I have worked with Sevan he is a great guy.


  19. Mitchell says:

    Great show, Michael (and sherpas).

    One complaint though – way too short. And I would have liked you to ask the sherpas when and how they see this mania ending.

    And a small observation (said in the most kindest, thoughtful way)…. the sherpas should wear headsets or earbuds. It would make for a much more pleasant listening experience.

    1. Shane Cultra says:


      It was a spur of the moment thing. We all had scheduled just over an hour in the middle of the day to do a show but really wanted to touch on this subject. So we cut the review show short and did this. Pretty sure we’ll do this again based on the success and we’ll alot more time.

      Good idea on the headsets

      PS You think domain investing is hard. You should try and get a word in with Drew and Frank :)

      1. Mitchell says:

        Thanks for the reply, Shane.

        Yeah, I thought it was a surprise show. At least I was surprised to get an email this morning regarding it.

        And I did notice you were quieter than usual. Didn’t know if it was because of the interruptions :) or because you were intently listening to your partners in cr …err, umm co-sherpas.. :)

  20. @Frank Schilling, That’s how it’s done – with clear-headedness & class. Even after selling $3 million worth of inventory into this Chinese boom, Frank Schilling can still calmly express honest skepticism about whether such rapid growth is healthy or sustainable.

    Lately anybody else who voices caution about this segment of the domain market will be shouted down by those who insinuate that any critic is merely envious of the money others are making. Frank is clearly not envying anybody else after his $3 million sale; yet he’s not exactly bullish in his long-term outlook about this market sector. Domainers who confuse money with knowledge and don’t believe anything unless it is spoken by a multi-millionaire now have permission to think things through.

    Congratulations to everybody who makes money. As Rosener says – and I respect him also for conceding this – it is “pure speculation”.

    1. @Micheal Cyger,

      Good idea to air this program. I confess this is only the 2nd show of yours I’ve seen in the format with celebrity panelists. Thanks to Daniel Levi, I’m starting to pay attention to DomainSherpa again after neglecting all podcasts – not just domain podcasts – for a few years. You guys raised some good points.

    2. Shane Cultra says:

      We are all in agreement. Anything that moves this fast is unnatural. But what Frank points out is most people have no idea how much money we are talking coming into this market. To ignore it and think that it is going to crash and burn is naive. To think that its going to rise forever is also.

      What Drew and everyone else realizes that at some point we all have to take a profit. The question is when. Most of us have tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars of paper profit and want to realize it. And then the greedy side of us wants to maximize it and not leave any on the table.

      Its an exciting and tough market. All domain investing is speculation. This is just a higher risk, higher return than most of us are used to

    3. Shane Cultra says:

      Frank has ALWAYS done things with clear-headedness and class.

  21. Noor says:

    whoa….surprise Wednesday morning show……loved it…especially the energy all around.

    Thank you Mike, Drew, Frank and Shane.

    Noor Manji

  22. Michael says:

    This is one of the best ever Domain Sherpa podcasts. Do a follow-up on this soon, it is so timely and valuable.

  23. Simon says:

    Damn that Anna likes to say the F word, might want to shave her beard off though! ;)

    Great show chaps, thanks as always!

  24. Chris Ulrich says:

    Drew – during today’s conversation (around 10:50 time marker) you mentioned you had hand registered some domains and flipped them in 60 days … you did mention the kinds you registered but the audio is garbled on the Hangout … can you describe for me what you had done? Thanks!

    1. They were random strings of 6 number .com domains. But they did not include any 4, 0 or 7

      1. Chris Ulrich says:

        Thanks for the quick response Andrew!

      2. pk says:

        Andrew why no 0 or 7 thanks.

  25. Jonathan says:

    Bubble or not, the fundamentals will not change. The ripples will be far reaching and inspirational for Indian domain investment. Like the FS comment re more rich than the population of America !!

  26. Mike says:

    Thanks, guys! Great show!

    I have some domains that I’d like to sell to the Chinese market. Any good broker suggestions?


    1. George Hong at is a sponsor of and has great connections to investors in China. He brokered in a blockbuster sale ($818,181.81) for Rick Schwartz:

  27. Troels says:

    Great show.

    Question: Which of the big parking companies have a Chinese For Sale landing page? No ads – Just a For Sale in Chinese.

    DNS and Sedo not there yet?

    1. Hi Troels, offers universal character encoding, allowing you to write your summary and unique selling proposition bullet points in whatever language you desire.

      Here’s an example:


    2. Yes I agree, Sedo needs to lift its game, I am sure I am not getting as many sales because I am using them, from my point of view they care the safest (for me) But whether this is putting off the Chinese Market ………..well ??

  28. Jay says:

    BOOM because of their population

  29. Bonin says:

    Thanks Michael,

    another interesting video, but for now I’m out of this crazy NNNN market, personally I don’t like numeric domains and I don’t understand the chinese culture.

    In my portfolio I’ve got only one 9N .com with repeating numbers and this is absolutely enough for me.

    May be I’m wrong, but I will stick with good old school L .COM’s

  30. I enjoyed Frank’s explanation about the domains, very articulate, makes a lot of sense.

  31. Andy says:

    Nice wee show there Mike. Loving the enthusiasm from Drew.

  32. Nuno says:

    If you don’t overpay you don’t need to worry, we all know how important it is the acquisition cost. For me it doesn’t matter if it’s hype, bubble, nonsense, etc. I bought many numeric and 4L names years ago and the money I’m receiving now is real and without long negotiations :-)

  33. Howie says:

    Another good show.

    There is a lot of chatter about domains being the alternative asset to the recent paper stocks in China. Although, I do partially agree, but

    China is investing heavily beyond digital, so we can be naive to say that there is a total swing from Chinese paper stocks to Chinese domain names.

    In my latest blog, I write about the Chinese investor, who has been winning top priced paintings since last year at contemporary Western art auction houses, with phone bids! And the West has never seen anything like it! Also it has just been recently reported that China is on a gold buying spree, since the Bank of China’s decision to devalue the renminbi in August 2015.


  34. Eric Jenkins says:

    Thanks Sherpas for your perspective on these domains. It’s amazing how fast some of these domains have increased in value!!

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