Rapid Rise in 4 Letter .com Values

Like an elephant in the room, the 4 letter domain craze can’t be ignored anymore. While most of the average names were worth anywhere from $10-40 for many years, the values seem to have risen to between $150-200+ within the past few weeks. Everyone seems to want to get their hands on these names, and although I don’t see a reason for the rise in value other than speculation. I’ve seen all the arguments about why they have considerable value and why people are buying them so rapidly:

    – End users want them because there are many acronyms
    – Many stock symbols are made of 4 letters
    – Easier to recall than longer domain names
    – They are rare
    – There aren’t any left to register

The impetus came a few months ago when a domain investor decided to buy the remaining LLLL.com domain names that were available to register. When people saw that these names were no longer available for the registration fee, they began paying much more to acquire these names. The values rapidly rose, and now we are at price levels that I believe may be unjustified.
Although I own a few of these names and I have friends that own them as well, I think the hype is overblown, and many people are cashing out just as quickly as they bought them. A quick look at Ebay’s “Pulse” page for domain names shows that 9 of the 10 most popular domain name auctions are bulk auctions featuring LLLL.com names.
First off, congratulations to the sellers. You made a nice gamble and it certainly paid off. This is one reason why so many people love the domain business. You turned $8 into $200 multiplied by the number of names you bought, and that is great. I think this is the first type of domain name that new investors really had a shot at buying without having to fork over a large sum of money (or get lucky in a landrush situation).
I would like to offer one piece of advice to those selling their LLLL.com names. Reinvest your profits back into the industry and buy keyword or generic domain names rather than more LLLL.com names. At this point, buying LLLL.com names is purely speculation, and if there is a price drop, you could lose your profits. When I started out a few years ago, this is what I did. I sold many names at tremendous % profit margins (low $ though), and reinvested in fewer but better names. I continued to do this and eventually turned many average names into a few pretty good ones.
Of course, you know what they say about free advice, but I thought I would share it anyway. Congrats on finding some gold!

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of DomainInvesting.com. Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the DomainInvesting.com Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn
  1. This is a very good article. I am on my way out to TRAFFIC today and will hopefully get to write a better comment when I get to Las Vegas. I have two cars that have LLLL.com license plates on them. Rate.com for the Hummer and Cost.com for the Sportscar. I see many drivers looking at them on the road and it is great advertisement. Now if only there was a market for them in the US like they have in Abu Dhabi.

    Safe travels!

  2. I agree the prices rose very quickly. We are now 4 months after the LLLL.com buyout and the minimum prices are up to $60-70. That is 10 times more in such a short time.
    Some consider it a bubble, but to me it’s just a natural growth in the domaining space. They are no different from LLL.com except the extra letter and the market has proven that it can support it, as there is enough demand for these prices. I don’t see any reason why the prices would fall. Would be interesting to hear you thoughts on that though.

  3. The only 4-letter domain that means anything is MOBI
    Elliot, please start buying and promoting .mobi- this is a REAL investment opportunity not the NNNN you and others have bid out of the realm of reason with your biased coverage for NNNN and against .MOBI

    Uhh…. I don’t own a single NNNN name, so I think you must be confused with somone else.

  4. yah generics are way to go, whats worse there is people who trying to buy out LLLL.net , which is pure pure speculation. Unless there is some crazy secret market for .net , it boggles my mind how some people lack common sense and trying to buy thousands of LLLL. net

  5. The phenomenon dates back about 200 years to the published works of economist David Ricardo. Ricardo published an analysis of farming rents (On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation), the fundamental tenets of which parallel real estate, and by extension, the domain space.
    @Art: It’s the same with any other speculation. And if they spend $7 to reg a .net and sell them for $15 they are still making money. It doesn’t seem likely to me, but I’ve been wrong before.

  6. I used to be bullish on LLLL.com domains too, but I feel more and more uncertain about LLLL.com as a safe short- or mid-term investment. I can’t believe prices will continue to rise at this rate forever as long as there are no end-users buying the domains. Mostly, we still have pure reselling of LLLL.com domains among domainers. So, although I believe that four-letter .com prices will continue to rise in the long run, it is getting increasingly likely that we will see some sort of market correction and falling LLLL.com prices in the near future.

  7. Show me end users buying these LLLL names and I’ll start to buy in (and cost.com,rate.com and other “brandables” don’t count).
    there may be money to be made now – from other domainers, but I don’t see the end users lining up to buy LGRH.com to build their next site…

  8. Hello, I have a few questions.

    1. What is the difference between LLLL and LLL? A few years ago as I have read, you could have bought them at regfee. Now you can’t find any below 6k. I have read from Elder domainers that the LLLL market is following the same pattern as the LLL market did in the past, is this correct? and if not please explain.

    2. The only difference of course would be the amount of LLLL’s available. However, do you see the internet expanding more and more globally, if more people around the world will be using the internet and the internet becomes an imperative part of business, wouldn’t this increase in internet usage begin to shorten the gap between supply and demand? There are only a certain amount of LLLL’s availble.

    3. You said “Reinvest your profits back into the industry and buy keyword or generic domain names rather than more LLLL.com names. At this point, buying LLLL.com names is purely speculation, and if there is a price drop, you could lose your profits”
    Were these type of statements made during the LLL buyout?

    4. Speculation, Are all good quality generics in the hands of end users? Take away parking value and isn’t it a name that has value but waiting for an end user?

    5. If there is going to be a price drop (which is speculation) what do you think the main reason would be? Would this price drop be for all LLLL or just certain types? Personally I don’t see why the LLLL market would be that much different than the LLL market.

    Your thoughts….
    Asking tough questions in an attempt to understand. Thanks.. best regards…Rashid

    Your questions don’t sound like they come from someone who doesn’t understand 🙂
    LLL.com – 3 letter .com
    LLLL.com – 4 letter .com
    LLL.com = 17,000+ names
    LLLL.com = 450,000+ names
    LLL.com being purchased by end users and domain speculators
    LLLL.com seems like only domain investors are buying for the most part
    New money is good. Recycled money can lead to a bubble. Look at the real estate market in almost every part of the country. Glut of overpriced homes, condos and apartments leaves the last buyer holding the bag. New York City (where I live) has much less real estate inventory. Prices are stable and rising.

  9. 4. Speculation, Are all good quality generics in the hands of end users? Take away parking value and isn’t it a name that has value but waiting for an end user?
    Well my take on it, most end users wouldn’t know what good domain name is, if it hit them in the eye. I was one of them literally two month ago, and i had about 15 names, most crappy, 1 or 2 not bad. My business site was built on .net and i didnt even know it was bad, i thought it was great! . Here is the main issue, most end users dont know whats bad. They don’t realize type in traffic and brandability or even full value of .com (most do know that .com is good, all else is not so good, but if dot com taken they will easyly opt for .net or .org, thats what i did when was looking for name 3 years ago).
    I think most quality generic domain names are not in the hands of end users, but it doesn’t matter, since end users for most part don’t ever know the value of it. I changed name of my company and made it very brandable aka (local category killer) new york …. ….. . com that is my profession, and started contacting people in complimentary fields to mine just few days ago, today i got a call from owner of a chain of 9 offices in new york area, and we meeting on Friday to talk business. I am small guy compare to nine offices guy, but i got call back just because my of my domain name image, it make me look BIG. It doesn’t matter how Friday goes, what matter is name. IF i had my old name, he wouldn’t even think of calling me back, not .net and vague meaning.
    Few more things, some names that had NO value what so ever in traffic, are amazing when developed to end user. I snapped few good ones recently, just in case i decide to do brand extension. So value to end user is something to consider, i see lots of domainers who don’t consider it, they look at traffic value, and i think thats wrong.

  10. @Gordon: “Show me end users buying these LLLL names and I’ll start to buy in (and cost.com,rate.com and other “brandables” don’t count).
    there may be money to be made now – from other domainers, but I don’t see the end users lining up to buy LGRH.com to build their next site…”
    How are these for ya. These are all reported at DNjournal.com
    pcid.com $2,500 WBBE.com $4,587 XXAA.com $4,088
    mcno.com $3,964 krto.com $3,027 ruif.com $2,692
    lafo.com $2,000 icfm.net $1,252 amso.net $1,539
    so i take you’re gonna start buying in now? Or will you come up with some reason why these are remarkably better than LGRH.com?

  11. Agreed with Rashid.
    You’d much rather find an end user for a random quad premium LLLL.com, like TRDF.com, than some crappy LLL.com, like vjq.com which is sold for at least $7k now.
    Actually according to dnjournal reports there were many more LLLL.com end user sales than LLL.com

  12. Nobody has mentioned this, but I think you may be more likely to encounter UDRP troubles with 4 letter names than 3 letter names. Hypothetically, a 3 letter name may have 50 things that use the 3 letter acronym, but a 4 letter name may only have 2-3 (or less sometimes). The fewer matching acronyms, the easier it is for a company to claim that you are using its intellectual property.

    Since many domain investors who own LLLL.com don’t have the time (or desire) to develop them, they put themselves at risk by parking. Sure, it can give passive income, but the visitors are probably looking for a specific product/company with those letters, and if you let a parking company auto-maximize, you are bound to accidentally run in to hot water as that company will probably be the closes match for ppc. At least with LLL.com names, there is a greater chance that multiple companies share the same acronym, and its probably easier to defend.

  13. I really dint get why you are thinking the prices of LLLL.com will come down. Already many are in the hand of end users. Every month at least out of 1000s of sales 100 are falling in the hands of end users. In few years time, may be after 5 years there will be a very few left in the hands of domainers. So prices are bound to raise.

    I own some and are happy to sell at the current price levels. I bought them for $6.95, so why wouldn’t I sell? Sure, I could wait it out and hope they double again, but the lost opportunity of not having the cash to upgrade to better names wouldn’t make sense for me.

  14. Tempest – None of those names appear to be in the hands of end users (or at least they all have the “for sale” signs still up on them).
    Like Elliot said, there are 450,000 LLLL out there. Just because some of them are selling for a few thousand doesn’t mean it is wise to load up at $90, $200 or $300 each – because it could be a long wait for that $5,000 sale.
    Nothing against you guys, I hope you make a lot of money (some of you have, and i’m sure plenty more will). For me, there are better ways to invest right now.

  15. Well I don’t see why LLLLs could ‘burst’. Of course they are mainly being sold between domainers, but so are LLLs! Really bad letter LLLs are not likely to ever find an enduser either, but they are a collectible which slowly raises in value as every new owner only sells it for more than he bought it. I think the same will happen with LLLLs, good ones will be able to sell to endusers and bad ones will slowly grow in value being exchanged between domainers, even a 10$ price increase per year would bring profit, and while more and more people are starting to use internet and there appear more domainers, there will always be buyers for LLLLs, 456k isn’t THAT many actually…

    P.S. Elliot, can you post your LLLL list? You said you would sell these for market prices, and you should if you believe that they will crash…


    The problem I foresee is when the domain guys who are paying $200-1,000 per name try to resell them. At those prices, I don’t think they are very liquid at all.

    I just posted 2 of them in this thread. Might as well cash out 🙂


  16. I will reiterate that I do own enough LLLL.com names, so I am not bearish on this type of name. The voracity of people posting on the forums is making it look like a big pump and dump scheme.
    It’s great that people who are new to the industry had a good chance to register some names that have appreciated tremendously. However, there is no need to be pumping these names like they are are rarity. There are plenty of them around, and there are plenty of people selling.

  17. I think none mentioned that LLLL’s are short and
    still cheap names for Mobile sites, especially for those,
    who thinks that .MOBI is obsolete extention.
    So, i’m sure it’s not only 100% speculation on them.
    With all latest media reports about increase in amount of
    Mobile surfers – such names will be on demand very soon.


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