shutterstock_82306873Numeric domains sales are still going strong.  Published reports show that numeric domains made up a little more than 20% of the top 25 domain sales this year, with 8181.com reportedly selling for $225,000 just this week.

The question raised most often in connection with these types of sales is why would any company want to use a numeric domain?  Recent articles have touted the sale of numeric domains abroad, especially to Chinese buyers, but numbers have meaning to people all over the world and have always been a great way to personalize communications.  Popular self-expressions include sports jerseys and other memorabilia imprinted with an athlete’s special number, as well as numeric vanity license plates.  These things express to the world that the numbers have special meaning to the bearer.  Similarly, numbers sometimes have meanings and messages behind them that relate to a company’s brand.

Businesses sometimes resist using numbers in their name because they think that numbers make it difficult to promote their companies.  It is true that numeric domains have no keywords and this lack of keywords can make it tough for SEO.  However, the inherent SEO limitation can be overcome with good, consistent marketing of the brand.  Additionally, avoiding numbers ignores the opportunity presented by the increased use of mobile applications, which has helped facilitate the shift of major brands towards using acronyms or number sequences in domain names to eliminate misspellings and ease access to websites by shortening the amount of typing.

Numbers in names can offer exceptional opportunities for businesses to stand out from their competitors with unique core messages expressly associated with the brand.  Many of the world’s biggest and best known companies have a numeric digit or a text number in their name.  Think about 3M (3m.com), Century 21 (century21.com) and 7/11 (711.com).  These companies have successfully used numbers in their name for branding.  For example, the message behind 7/11’s use of numbers in its name was that the store was open from 7 am until 11 pm, which meant convenient hours for customers while other retailers were closed.  This international retail chain went on to generate an estimated 84.8 billion in annual revenues by capitalizing on the message in its numeric name.

All of this makes it easy to understand why a company would brand their website using numbers.  Numbers work but to use numbers successfully in a domain name, businesses should keep in mind that they have to make sense and be brandable.  Additionally, business should try to buy both the numerical and spelled out versions of the domain.

Tracy Fogarty

Founder & CEO at eNaming
With over 20 years in the brokerage business, Tracy Fogarty has helped thousands of clients achieve their goals on both sides of the negotiation table. Creative and result oriented professional, Ms. Fogarty strives on honest communication, value proposition, the big picture perspective, and bottom-line profitability.