Abstract (or tl;dr;)
I contacted and received offers by all the owners of (LL)CN.COM domains and bought one.
The article points to some figures in the valuation of (LL)CN.COM domains by their actual owners.The domain range is from 840$-109.000$
LLLL CN Domains
A few weeks ago I was reading about the increase of market for the domain from the chinese market. Normally the primary target are the .com domains with numbers. Beside the number domains, the short 3 letter domains are also highly demanded and priced starting from 5000$ up to high 100000$ and even higher. As these domains are highly expensive and cannot be found easily on the market, minor traction do have also the four letter domains which areusually referred as LLLL (LetterX4) domains.
From LLLL domains, it seemed those domains that included -CN-, especially starting or ending in it, are the most desired ones. Since there is no specific statistics for these domains, I decided to run a test and see what their value is to their actual owners. Considering that the number of combinations is limitted to combinations of 2 letters, with the 2 other letters being filled by CN, I easily created two groups of domains. Those starting with CN-, such as CNAA.com and those ending in -CN, such as ODCN.com. Each of these groups had 676 combinations.
Being from Europe, and with no knowledge of the chinese culture, I decided that I should start with the domains ending in -CN. I decided to send an email to all the owners of the domains and ask for their sale price. To honor the time each of them would spend in addressing me, I decided I should buy one (or two) of the domains. This would make my attempt genuine and would prove profitable considering I could pick the cheapest.
So I prepared a script to fetch WHOIS Regs and then another script to deliver a prepared email-message. As there was a limit to the outgoing emails, I send those emails in two separate dails from two email providers (gmail/hotmail). Sending the emails was easy though. Being active in the negotiation was difficult and it took a lot of time and energy. After few hours in the process, I decided I would limit my test to only the (LL)CN.COM domains (I also realized my budget would cover one domain and I should not risk on a blind choice of another).
In total I got response from 86 people. As I was not selective, I assume I had send emails to running websites and they would not be interested to sell the domains on a developed platform. (There were a lot of email bounces and a few emails that ended up at registrars. I did not follow them, but seems that there is a serious problem with the registrant-emails overall.)
Out of those 86 people, only 63 engagged in a negotiation. The other group clearly responded that they had no interest in selling their domain.
The price range of the domains on sale was from 840$ – 109 000$US (some persons provided a price in YUAN which I converted). I did not negotiate above 2000$ but one should know that depending on the origin of the sender, there is a trend in negotiationg. For example, some owners cat the price in half on the second day (Something like jumping from 48000$ to 24000$. I was hoping they would continue the trend beyond a week, but did not happen :))
A breakthrough of the prices is below.
|Price Range (in USD)
|>=1000 && <2000
|>=2000 && <5000
|>=5000 && <10000
|>=10000 && <20000
|>=20000 && <30000
|>=30000 && <40000
|>=40000 && <50000
|>=50000 && <100000
For a better visualization, I have plotted the results in the graphic below, and as one might imagine, most of the domains are found in the range of 2000$-5000$USD. Although these domains are the peak in the price, the total number of domains which are more expensive than 5000$ is higher than the price of the domains below 5000$. The numbers show 35 domains above 5000$ compared to 25 below 5000$. That means, although risky, buying a domain in the range cheaper than 2000$ is still a probabilistic good deal.
End if you made it up to this point in reading. Out of those 2 domains below 1000$, I bought one; another one broke of the deal after we signed the escrow. Apparently some partner adviced him against the sale. And if you are looking to get a (LL)CN.COM, it happens that after this experiment I have one for resale. Let me know.
And the rest of the domains. I did not check on the price of (CN)LL.COM domains. I had planned that my budget would potentially allow me for another domain, but CN showed to be more expensive than expected. Maybe some other day on a good moon and with some extra cash I will try the second part of the experiment and see if CN(LL).com is more valuable than (LL)CN.COM.
If you have some experience to share, feel free.