Domainers who still avoid names with hyphens are stuck in what I call the “parking industry time warp”. Search engines actually like hyphens. Nevertheless, every day, great hyphen names are dropping. Epik is picking them up by the dozens. This post summarizes a few recent hyphen catches and why I like them.
Hyphens work — and I can prove it
Epik only recently became active in the drop-catch business. One of the things we wanted to confirm early on was whether hyphenated names would receive equal ranking as non-hyphenated names in terms of their SEO potential. While the sample size is not large, the early indication is that hyphenated names perform just fine. For the time being, these hyphenated names can be acquired and developed more cost effectively. Here are a few recent builds that are performing well:
Now, keep in mind that every one of these names was a recent drop-catch and that these sites have been live for between 30 and 90 days. You can track how any of these sites are doing by adding /stats at the end of the URL. The bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with these domains. They are development worthy!
And what about 2 hyphens?
The next obvious question is whether the above logic also applies to names with 2 hyphens. Estibot significantly punishes these names in terms of valuation. However, once again, I think Estibot has it wrong. Here are a couple of early examples:
- The-Party-Store.com: 232 pages indexed. $264 gross revenues in month 2.
- Compact-digital-cameras.com: 203 pages indexed. $613 gross revenues in month 2
Our experience with 2 hyphens is much more limited. We don’t love them but if there is enough search volume for a term that deserves to be 3 words long, we’ll take them. We have not exactly backed up the truck, but we are buying them.
And what about DOUBLE–hyphens
Double–hyphen names drop routinely. Many of them are not worth reg-fee even if they had one hyphen, not two. The question we wanted to answer was whether a “”–” was the kiss of death in terms of indexing potential, or whether it made for a diamond in the rough. Our theory is that it is the latter.
Tony Lam is an Epik client who gets it. Yesterday, Tony and I agreed to develop golf–clubs.com and wedding–dress.com which Epik had recently picked up. Also, this week, we picked up stock–trading.com, security–system.com and espresso–machine.com
Although Tony is a dentist by profession, he has become a talented domainer in his spare time. If my theory is correct, those 2 names that we sold him for $249 — including a product portal — should do great for him. We’ll know in a few months.
And what about domains with h-y-p-h-e-n-s
I have never been a fan of such names.
From a previous trial we learned that h-y-p-h-e-n names are not strong index candidates. However, this particular trial was run for about 90 days and without the benefit of original content. As such, I deem this prior trial as inconclusive.
Earlier today we picked up the domain name a-d-u-l-t.com on the drop The Estibot appraisal of this name is zero even though the term has tremendous search volumes. Tony Lam is stepping up to develop this one as well.
So why do Pro domainers drop these great names
Seasoned pros like Frank Schilling are routinely dropping hyphen names and .net names. Oftentimes they are holding on to the corresponding .com names. My understanding is that they are hoping that some end-clients will acquire the name, invest hugely in them, and then come begging for the non-hyphenated name that the Pro domainers have safely tucked away, all while accruing some modicum of type-in traffic. The same logic applies to high quality .net names that routinely drop.
As the old saying goes: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Epik acquires these names every day, and are completely delighted that the corresponding premium .com domains sit idle as parked sites. As far as the search engines are concerned, the developed domain gets ranked, while the parked domain gets spanked! Anyway, we’ll keep picking them up. If you want a few bucks for them, drop me a note before you drop them.