Slate: “Internet Has Run Out of Four-Letter Dot-Com Names”

Slate Magazine  has an interesting article today covering the report that all four letter .com domain names are now registered. The article was written in response to research performed by WhoAPI. The research only covers four letter .com domain names and not domain names with hyphens or numbers in them.

If you are thinking that this sounds familiar, you wouldn’t be mistaken. On DNForum in late October and early November of 2007, people were discussing that nearly all 4 letter .com domain names were registered, and later on in the thread, it was reported that there were no longer any available to hand register.

As I recall, news of all four letter .com domain names being registered created what I would call a bubble in the valuation of them. Even combinations of bad letters that made no sense were selling for much more than the registration fee. Unfortunately for many buyers of these domain names who bought because of the hype, the values dropped significantly.

Assuming this news is accurate (I can’t verify that close to 500,000 domain names are all registered), I hope people are mindful that there are plenty of bad 4 letter .com combinations that aren’t really worth anything. Just because this type of domain name is all registered doesn’t mean that all of these domain names have value. Of course, many do have value, but not all.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the 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. The buyout of was complete in 2007 and hasn’t really changed since.

    The occasional drop is picked up by drop services, you can’t hand reg one.

    As for ‘bad’, there isn’t such a thing, permutations you find bad might make for a perfect acronym somewhere in the world.

  2. *

    In 2011, someone allowed a boatload — thousands — of GoDaddy LLLL coms to expire.

    Many investors were able to pick up pronounceable LLLL’s at BIN prices to XXX.

    I nabbed a few, including some beginning with “W” and “K” (beginning of U.S. radio/TV call letters)

    Occasionally, a BIN LLLL will still pop up, but it is usually snapped up immediately and isn’t all that good.

    At the time, the doomsayers were predicting that the LLLL market had collapsed, but that hasn’t proved to be the case.


  3. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    As I said in that thread 6+ years ago, the tasting of LLLL .com domains continues ad nauseam. The same garbage drops annually and is being scooped up non-stop. Only a small portion of LLLL .com domains hold value.

    • I would agree, although I think it’s a bit more than a small portion though.

      I hope the Slate article doesn’t fuel additional speculation like the 2007 rush though. Lots of money was lost (and made by sellers).

    • A small portion of almost half a million permutations. We are not debating the obvious: four letter words, pronounceable “words” that can serve as brands etc. But out of 1/2 million combinations the majority of those re-regitered when they drop aren’t worth reg fee.

      Recently sold a LLLL .com for five figures. It wasn’t junk, it wasn’t premium. Unlike LLL .com domains, the four letter ones aren’t exactly liquid in every letter permutation.

      The Slate article cites some “research” by a Croatian – as one who generated availability lists more than a decade ago, I can tell you that such ‘research’ requires nothing but a couple of hours of WHOIS 😉

    • It appears that the Slate article is nothing but a promo of the WhoAPI services, that are expensive ‘a la carte’ queries using a proprietary tool. $149 /month for 500k queries? Come on. If you ran the entire LLLL .com spectrum it’d take up your credits in one day. Suppose you want fresh data daily, you’d be SOL. 😉

    • Wow, this is the first time I see someone saying we are expensive. Actually, our prices have gone up since December 2013 when this comment was made, and this was due to service improvements, and due to everyone saying the price is too low.

      Now that the price is up, we offer 30 whois queries per minute, which comes to 1.296.000 queries per month for $199.

      As for the Slate article, I haven’t endoursed them in anyway to write the story, however, I do my best to write viral content.

  4. *

    I have not sold any LLLL — I don’t have too many, 20 at the most — and I haven’t priced them.

    Two of them I’m using in connection with a novel I’m writing, so not for sale (unless an I-can’t-refuse offer comes along, which I know is unlikely).

    At this point, I’m not too worried about sales because I can afford to hold my small cache, and I don’t plan to buy any more. I’m looking to see how the vanity gTLD market shakes out in connection with .com.


    • I have sold some for OK money but they were CVCV pronounceables, I have 7 non CVCV’s still and definitely do not expect to get rich from them, I hold out on MySP which does get offers but it kind of says something, I also get inquiries on McMo, and while it’s not a CVCV I can say it so I like it and want money for it, as long as you don’t sell burgers on it I suppose…

    • Sorry not looking to sell it here, wanted to talk about places these are going for sale most often. Selling domains in comment threads is like tracking mud in someones house.

  5. Everyday they expire at Godaddy and every single one always has at least one bid so somebody wants them. I had a total of about 50 at one point and still have about 10. I never dropped any and made at least 10 times what I paid for them. My best 4 letter sale was for 3k on a name that I got at Namejet for $79 so you can make a really good profit from them if you buy the right ones. The true 4 letter acronyms you have to sit and wait a long time and that is probably why Berkens asks minimum 30k for his 4 letters and if they sell they sell and if not he sits and waits for the big fish.

  6. Samit,

    I am dropping 2 domains right now.. Your comment sounds more newbie 101 IMO.

    Keep carrying junk letters, eventually renewals will catch up..

  7. Have you guys seen some of the 4 letter .com sales recently? There are some crappy ones selling for 4 to 5 figures.

    If there’s anyone out there that wants to let their 4 letters drop, please contact me first. I’d be glad to take them for reg fee.

    • There are clearly plenty of people willing to gamble registration fees for 4 L .com names. It becomes a problem when people start blindly buying any LLLL .com names for $xxx+ simply because they think it’s a supply issue and the prices will rise regardless of any other factors.

      I wouldn’t sell my 4 L names for reg fee and would quote very high prices if I received offers. Many end users would say that about any inquiry they make for any of my names (like $75,000 for last night).

    • It’s like I know I am probably going to lose when I am playing blackjack, but if I have a 14 against a dealer’s 10, I am not going to surrender even if I can get my full bet back. I didn’t invest in domain names to break even.

  8. I bought about 20 LLLL at namepros really cheap ($10-30$)and my most valuable one is, she is my sugar daddy getting $200+.mth and sometimes more.

    I bought her from someone who claimed to be a domain expert.

    I sold some at ebay getting $50…not bad. is another sugar daddy of mine

  9. Hi Guys!

    Elliot, thanks for the follow up article. Big fan of your blog!

    Some time definitely passed since the last 4L domain was registered for $10 (although some bad ones do drop now and then)… I think it’s a nice topic to talk about (as it is evident on this website as well), and also, a neat topic for the general public as well. Which is why we did the research (half a million domains), and wrote about it.

  10. is one LLLL domain name that sold for over $60K 2-3 years ago. Any LLLL can be used as some kind of acronym. With 4 character dot com names, you have to play the hands like Poker to make a mint. Some 4 character dot com can be for cities and states such as

    • Just because we hear of domain names that sell for high prices doesn’t mean they have value. Many low priced domains have delivered top results. It is all about gaining results.

      An end-user can acquire an ideal domain that does nothing.

    • There’s a big difference between a name like and 🙂

      Unfortunately, there are tens of thousands of 4 letter names that have no meaning to anyone, or if they do have meaning to a few, they don’t hold much value.

      I might own 5 four letter .com names, so I would consider myself fairly impartial.

      There will always be exceptional names (like and the same can be said for 5, 6, 7, 8…etc letter .com domain names. 🙂

    • Elliot,the same can’t be said of even 5L, let alone 6L or 7L.

      And the reason is pure math / scarcity value.

      26 x 26 x 26 = 17,576 (lll)

      26 x 26 x 26 x 26 = 456,976 (llll)

      26 x 26 x 26 x 26 x 26 = 11,881,376 (lllll)

      And in a world where and llll.reallylongextension are to be launched, you can’t really lose with

  11. Samit,

    You may want to hear this..

    We all some sort of shit in our portfolio, just wait until .cluster rolls out.

    Not all domains are solid. Take away the good letters, names without a meaning, parking revenue most of the domains are pure junk.

    Who knows maybe you can roll out .LLLL in future

    • Jeff, there are some ‘crap’ names in all big portfolios, mine is no exception.

      But I’m fairly secure in the I do own, they’re well researched or have traffic or are brandable.

      Plus I only have about 70, so it’s not like my portfolio is the reason the buyout is holding.

      In a world with 300 million domains, 200 million more to be registered in the next three years, 457k domains of a limited supply will be needed by someone, somewhere, sooner or later.

      Isn’t that the reason the don’t sell below $4k each now?

  12. First i want to thank the author for his valuable info.

    I have been researching 4 letter market place for a while and made a bunch of tools that find the best and profitable 4 letter domains out of all recently auctioned domains.

    it also finds cvcv,vcvc,vvcv etc combination and shows its recent sales price and whole sales can Download all 456,976 or filter by there type all from :

  13. I bought five 4 letter domains of GoDaddy auctions recently for not much. At the time I figured they were selling for a lot more on Flippa. I don’t think I was right though as I couldn’t sell the one I thought was the best.

    Any 4 letters are not better than well researched 4 letters.

  14. how do you think – can I get 5k $ for
    I got it for 4k a few years ago (as end user) for business called tax consult llc – it still has an web site. But since business is gone, I’m wondering whether to put it for sale. Its paid till 2023 – will those years be lost to the new holder.


  15. Increasingly it is becoming difficult to find dot com domains. I can’t even any five letter or 6 letter dot com domains. Lots of domain squatter have bought these domains and trying to sell these at very high prices.


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