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The Mid-Autumn Festival is fast approaching. On August 15 Chinese calendar (September 15 this year) we celebrate the harvest time and eat mooncakes. I always remember the story told to me about a legend that the Han Chinese successfully revolted against the ruling Mongols in the 1300s when mooncakes were used to conceal the message that they were to rebel on Mid-Autumn Day. So, now you know there is a message in every mooncake. Here's the post.

September 7, 2016 (Wed)

How I use rhyming for numeric domain names


Here's the fact: numeric domain names have no intrinsic meanings in Chinese. And this is good, because this means you can creatively add a particular meaning to a domain name for a Chinese company. If the domain name also matches the name of the company, it has the potential to become a consumer brand which is easy to remember. That's why short numeric domain names are so powerful in China.

A good example is Nasdaq-listed Wowo (窝窝团), a group-buying service in China. It reportedly spent $3 million to secure 55.com for its official website. 55 rhymes with 55 rhymes with 窝窝 (group), so it is very easy for Chinese consumers to remember the domain name.

Suppose you sold 55.com to a large real estate company in China. Would 55.com still work? Yes, because 55 also rhymes with 屋屋 (house). How about a large dance school in China? Again it is yes, because 55 also rhymes with 舞舞 (dance). So, you can see that numeric domain names are very versatile and they allow you to add different meaning according to the nature of a business in China.

Then, what is rhyming? Rhyming is a technique to find Chinese characters that sound like a number? For example, when you say 0 in Chinese, it sounds like 赢 (win), 零 (zero), 赁 (lease), 恋 (love), 你 (you), and many more. To give you an idea of how I create a meaning for a domain name, let's use 20.com as an example. I have also made the following table which includes five meanings for each number. (In actual cases, many numbers have more than five meanings.)

NumCharacterCharacterCharacterCharacterCharacter
0赢 (win)零 (zero)赁 (lease)恋 (love)你 (you)
1医 (medical)易 (easy)游 (tour)要 (want)邀 (invite)
2儿 (child)安 (safe)爱 (love)饿 (hungry)鹅 (goose)
3上 (up)商 (business)山 (mountain)想 (think)生 (alive)
4世 (generation)市 (market)思 (think)示 (indicate)试 (try)
5务 (affair)吻 (kiss)屋 (house)我 (i)物 (thing)
6牛 (cow)乐 (fun)来 (come)路 (road)遛 (stroll)
7亲 (kiss)去 (go)吃 (eat)奇 (wonder)妻 (wife)
8发 (make a fortune)吧 (bar)拜 (bye)爸 (father)百 (hundred)
9久 (long time)救 (rescue)旧 (old)购 (buy)酒 (wine)

1. Split 20 into two numbers: 2 and 0.

2. Look up their meanings in the table. For 2, we have 儿 (child), 安 (safe), 爱 (love), 饿 (hungry), and 鹅 (goose). And for 0, we have 赢 (win), 零 (zero), 赁 (lease), 恋 (love), 你 (you).

3. Try different combinations of characters represented by 2 and 0, for example: 儿赢(child+win), 儿零 (child+zero), and 儿赁 (child+lease)

4. Find combinations that are meaningful in the Chinese language, for example: 爱赢 (love to win) and 爱你 (love you).


In this exercise, I have found two Chinese meanings for the domain name 20.com. Then, I also store the results in a database so that in the future, when I come across the same number again, I just retrieve the Chinese meanings from my database. I hope you have a general idea how I use the rhyming technique to create Chinese meanings for domain names. If you have any question, please use the Q&A link in my newsletter.