Tuesday, January 12, 2016

China’s newest investment craze is short domain names

From Quartz:
Wu Maoqing, a 32-year-old banker in Beijing, lost so much money in China’s stock markets last summer that he describes himself as “scarred” by the experience. But in October, he discovered a new asset class he hopes will help make the money back—short domain names. Since then, Wu has invested over 200,000 yuan ($30,769) to buy domains like gcmw.cn that he’s hoping to sell for twice what he paid. 

Thanks to an e-commerce boom in China, thousands of investors like Wu are rushing to snap up “short” domain names, ones with five or less letters or numbers, and pushing up the value of domain names around the world in the process.

Chinese buyers accounted for nearly 75% of all global short domain name purchases in 2015, according to the latest 2015 Year-to-Date Top 100 Sales Chart provided by DNJournal and WHOIS data provided by DomainIQ (paywall), and 48% of the top 100 sales.

This data may even underestimate their involvement, as many high-end domain name sales are never reported publicly, or involve private buyers. For example, the most expensive domain name sale this year, porno.com, involved a private buyer—one who the purchase price of $8,888,888 indicates was probably Chinese (eight is a favorite number in Chinese culture because it represents “making a fortune” )....MORE