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When I was stationed in Taiwan, a business friend of mine was a keen match maker. After many requests, I finally agreed to an arranged date. So, I went to the designated cafe to meet my friend, his wife, and her girlfriend. After about 5 minutes of casual talk, my friend and his wife left. The girl suggested to go shopping. So I asked her questions about her interests and realized she liked expensive things. Right at that moment, I decided I could not afford an expensive wife and left! I hope the man who married this girl is a millionaire. Here's the post.

July 9, 2016 (Sat)

How I look at aeiouv04 in Chinese domain names


Knowing what Chinese buyers like is important when, according to World Domain Conference 2016, China now accounts for more than 40% of the global sales of domain names. One debate that has been going on in the domain investment community is whether Chinese like domain names containing aeiouv04 or not, thus affecting their values.

First of all, let's be clear about one fact. Chinese use Chinese characters in daily life. For example, the best search engine in China is remembered as 百度. However, on the Internet, because of reasons such as support for Chinese characters in the early time and also difficulty in entering Chinese characters, English letters (called Pinyin, a method to Romanize Chinese characters) have been commonly used. Therefore, Chinese also know 百度 as Bai Du and therefore can enter baidu.com into their browser.

Look at the spelling of "baidu" and you'll notice it contains "a, i, u" for obvious reason. Without them we won't have Pinyin words. Now, the issue happens when you want to shorten the Pinyin name. In this case, we take the first letter of each Pinyin word ("b" and "d") to form BD the acronym. If Baidu also acquires BD.com and promotes it, Chinese consumers will have no problem remembering BD.com for the search company.

Reversely, you can also say in an acronym name, each letter represents one Chinese character. By its design, Pinyin does not use aeiouv as the first letter of words. Therefore, an acronym name normally does not contain aeiouv because they don't represent any Chinese character. However, some people are creative and use a technique called rhyming to get around this restriction so that aeiouv can also represent Chinese characters in an acronym name. Here are some examples.

LetterChinese Characters
A傲(Proud), 啊(Oh!)
E翼(Wing), 易(Easy)
I安(Safe), 爱 (Love)
O鸥(Seagull), 偶(By chance), 欧(Europe)
U优(Excellent), 友(Friend), 游 (Travel)
V味(Taste), 微(Micro), 舞(Dance)

So far, we have learned that aeiouv are used in Pinyin names but normally not used in acronym names. However, rhyming allows aeiouv to be used in acronym names in limited cases. Therefore, acronym names containing aeiouv are much less versatile than those that are not, but they still have values if end user companies can find good meanings in the domain names -- for example in the following cases.

  • abs.cn (爱彼此)
  • epwk.com (一品威客 )
  • ihp.cn (爱好评)
  • om.cn (欧模网)
  • uxw.com (佑学网)
  • vjt.cn (微镜头)

Now let's look at the issue 04. I feel this is more about superstition. The fact is, many Chinese companies are using domain names containing 0 and 4. The most famous one is perhaps 4.cn which has been growing bigger and bigger without being hindered by its domain name.

To see how Chinese companies are using 0 and 4, I did a quick survey. I checked all domain name from 000 to 999 on the .cn extension and found 15 operating websites: 001.cn, 008.cn, 016.cn, 027.cn, 035.cn, 047.cn, 053.cn, 058.cn, 059.cn, 061.cn, 066.cn, 070.cn, 071.cn, 073.cn, and 098.cn. In the same way, I found the following 17 operating websites: 400.cn, 407.cn, 413.cn, 417.cn, 426.cn, 427.cn, 429.cn, 442.cn, 444.cn, 448.cn, 450.cn, 452.cn, 459.cn, 467.cn, 487.cn, 497.cn, and 499.cn.

Again, using the rhyming technique, you can associate 0 and 4 with Chinese characters. Here are some examples:

0: 令 (Order), 你 (You), 宁 (Peaceful), 林 (Forest), 能 (Able), 赢 (Win), 邻 (Neighbor), 零 (Zero), 领 (Lead)

4: 世 (generation), 势 (Power), 四 (Four), 实 (Real), 思 (Think), 戏 (A show), 时 (Time), 死 (Death), 石 (Stone), 示 (Indicate),社 (Society), 私 (Private), 西 (West), 誓 (Swear), 试 (Try)

In conclusion, the key is "meaning". Companies in China are looking for short, meaningful, and easy to remember domain names. Because of the scarcity in mainstream domain extensions (.com and .cn), they are willing to be creative by looking at all letters and numbers. In the same way, when I look at a domain name, I don't use the aeiouv04 rule. Instead, I focus on finding meaning in the name.

ps: Use the Coreile.com/abc page and Coreile.com/123 page to check meanings of letters and numbers