Hyphenated Domain Names

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Do hyphenated domain names have any value?

By Domain Sam

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Have you ever read or heard that hyphenated domain names aren’t worth anything? I have, many times. As a result when I was getting rid of my cache of domain names I got rid of the few domain names with a hyphen in them. It wasn’t because I thought they had no value, however, but more like it would be harder to sell any remaining domains with a dash in them.

I did keep less than a handful of them, however, because I felt they had some value regardless of the seemingly overwhelming idea of no value or really low value. Besides, they had at least a value of what it cost me to register them.

At one time a few years ago I had a short software .com domain name that did get a lot of traffic. It hosted a free download site for free and trial software. I never promoted the site and over the years the traffic died down to a trickle. I finally decided to let the domain expire about a half year ago. I didn’t even try to sell it. That was probably a mistake because it is very difficult to find a dot com domain name like I had for the software niche that is short and easy to remember like mine was.

In spite of the general consensus that hyphenated domains are essentially worthless there are a few souls that think they may have some value or merit. In fact some countries, like Germany, seem to go against the trend of ignoring domains with that often despised hyphen in them.

Although this is a few years old it shows there are people who spend a lot of money on domain names and don’t shy away from hyphenated domain names. Ron Jackson wrote a comprehensive article for DNJournal, which included a large hyphenated domain name purchase and a few others for much lesser amounts.

 

However, that sentiment is not shared by buyers in one of the world’s biggest domain markets – Germany. In fact, they seem to love hyphenated domains. One of the more interesting things I learned at the T.R.A.F.F.I.C. ccTLDs conference in Amsterdam this past June was that about half of all .de (Germany’s country code) domain registrations are hyphenated!

So when news came from Sedo.com this week that they had sold Hotel-Reservation.com for an astounding €142,800 ($209,916) my very first thought was that the buyer had to be from Germany.

 

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Read the entire article and you will get a better feel of domain names plus the German phenomena of some people embracing hyphenated domains.

That’s not the only example of domain names with a hyphen in them selling for more than zero dollars or the registration amount. There’s talk in various forums about these “low value” hyphenated domains, and I am primarily considering .com names since in most cases they have more value than other domain name extensions.

Here is talk of the value of these belittled domains with a hyphen in them on a blogger’s website Apparently Epik likes to get a hold of these little wanted domain names. Here is what he says;

 

Hyphens work — and I can prove it
Epik only recently became active in the drop-catch business.  One of the things we wanted to confirm early on was whether hyphenated names would receive equal ranking as non-hyphenated names in terms of their SEO potential. While the sample size is not large, the early indication is that hyphenated names perform just fine.  For the time being, these hyphenated names can be acquired and developed more cost effectively.  Here are a few recent builds that are performing well:

 

He seems to have a point. In his case the value of such names is definitely way above the norm of “hyphenated domain names are worthless” or “not worth the registration fee.”

Now myself, I haven’t been anxious to sell the very few hyphenated domains I still have. One I use as a site which I have banner or advertising code for my own sites. The domain did however, when I first registered it back in 2004 get a lot of traffic. I originally thought of selling it as an advertising niche name, but decided to keep it for myself.

In spite of the hyphen in it I still think it has merit and would be valuable to anyone selling ads or having an ad app or a website related to advertising. I am not trying to sell it, but if I got a decent offer I would probably sell it.

If you have software related to advertising or a site related to ads my domain name could easily be used to drive additional traffic to your site if promoted effectively. Contact me on the Contact form on this site if you want more info.

I did keep one hyphenated domain, X-bid.com that I originally had an amazon type online store on. It made a little money, but I never promoted it and eventually took down the site and let the domain languish. Then about maybe a year ago I received an email from someone in Italy wanting to buy it. I had it listed for $3000, but the buyer would not go over $1000 for it. I declined to sell it and still have it in my portfolio.

Was that a mistake? Probably, however, I felt at the time I could put an auction site up and easily make way more than $1000 due to the perception of what the name might imply. While the domain is parked I am concentrating on other things. That potential buyer, however, had tried to buy the same domain name, without the hyphen in it, and was also turned down, the domain not being used, no site was on it.

I feel sure his intended use for the domain name would have turned him many more times what either domain would have cost since he was able to spend large sums of money promoting the site he was planning to build – and unlike most websites “built them and the traffic will come”, which doesn’t work, the type of site he wanted to build is illegal in the U.S., but legal in many other countries and the X-rated service he was hoping to provide is very similar to a business in Las Vegas, but is a “brick and mortar” business there but outlawed online.

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Just checking that domain right now it, http://xbid.com, is just parked at his registrar or so it seems.  My domain X-bid.com is also parked, but is also up for sale just in case someone wants to buy it. But… I am secretly hoping no one wants to buy it, for when I am ready I can easily put up an auction site using that name. Better yet, I’d like to find a partner who is interested in X-rated things and/or an auction site and work together to promote such a site.

Personally I usually don’t follow the crowd and like to do things my way or analyze things first to see if what I want to do or hear has any merit. Even though the common wisdom says don’t dabble in hyphenated domains everyone does not subscribe to that policy.  On NamePros domain name forum there is a discussion about domains that are hyphenated along with a post with a lot of prices such domains sold for. Here is a partial list from lennco’s post last November (2012):
 

I know there a lot of domainers here for some reason HATE hyphenated name, me personally I love them.
I have sold several of them.

Here is a recent list of sales I keep for comps,

Animal-Charity.com $1,249
Auto-kaufen.com $2,380
Autoteile-24.com $2,500
Baden-baden.org $1,000
Best-Deals.com $2,150
Bingo-Online.com $4,000
Blue-Earth.biz $2,200
Blu-Rayler.de $26,000
Brick-Design.com $3,999
Bridal-Gallery.com $2,350
Business-Bankruptcy.com $4,450
Business-Intelligence.org $4,140
Bwl-Studieren.com $2,000
Call-Forwarding.com $2,520
Car-Shipping.com $3,000
Cash-Back.com $9,555
Casinos-On-Line.com $1,000
Cheap-Deals.com $2,500
Classical-Music.com $5,000
Classic-Cars.com $8,000
Consulting-Group.com $2,500
Cool-Zone.com 2,000 EUR $2,000
Crown-Jewels.com $1,700
Cruise-Ships.com $1,960
Date-Me.com $10,000
Diving-Centers.com $1,000
Drug-Detox.com $3,000
e-Behavior.com $1,000
e-Bike.com $10,000

 
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I cannot vouch for the amounts or the domain names, but if true or even close to being true, it seems that a lot of domains with hyphens sold for over $1000, some way more than that. Of course that is not a lot if you compare it to the millions of domain there are out there, but it does give a hint that at least some such domains people thought enough of them to buy even though the common wisdom says don’t do it.

My last remaining hyphenated domain two-piece.com is also parked at my registrar. It also is up for sale, but like some of my other domains I feel it has good value so I am not anxious to get rid of it. Like I mention in a couple of write-ups about this domain, the owner of the non-hyphenated domain twopiece.com wants an “arm and a leg” for it. He also mentioned along with his high price in his email back to me;

 

So I don’t want domain broker, but want only real consumer, very capable fashion expert.

Are you a real expert? If so, my domain price is 125,000 USD (net price).

If time pass by for long, the price might be more high.

 

So there! He feels his twopiece.com domain name is worth over a hundred thousand dollars. I feel my hyphenated version of the domain, two-piece.com (an actual word) is worth far less, but not zero. You tell me, do domains with a hyphen in them have any value?

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About Charles Harmon

Charles, a retired Programmer/Analyst, senior citizen, website nerd w/50+ websites. Owner of Travellistics.com. Charles is a domain name owner/seller at GoodLuckDomains.com. Go to charlesharmon.com for more info. Coming soon - TravelQuizWeekly.com Quizzes on travel destinations.
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