Brute-forcing the future: LLLLLLLLLL .com’s

Six or seven years ago, I saw a market for short, easy to memorize .com domains. Short, as in 3 characters in length, including one or more numbers; because the LLL .com namespace was long gone.

I wrote a Perl script that would go through all the permutations of 000 to ZZZ – all 46,656 of them (26 letters plus 10 digits, to the 3rd power) and it’d look up the .com of that generated string. This technique is called “brute-forcing”. To my surprise, hundreds of them were available.

Back then, domain registrations were finally cheap. GoDaddy was one of the first affordable new era registrars, and I believe that I was paying $12 for each registration. Later on, I got a reseller account with Stargate and the cost dropped to less than $7.

It was a non-brainer. I registered dozens of 3-character .com domains, then I became picky: I’d only select the LLN or the LNN flavor, simply because it’s easier to remember or instead of or

Many of them were sold on eBay at $50 a pop, others reached triple digit status there or on various domain forums. Others, were sold in private through various inquiries. Companies offering parking pages were non-existent back then; I simply forwarded each domain to an inquiry form. There were so many of them available on a given day, that I started giving away free lists of available domains.

Time passed by and things have changed – there are no more 3-char .com’s that ever make it into the wild, not even for a day. The proliferation of after-market auction houses such as Sedo and Afternic and the sneaky entry of registrars into the game, made it impossible for such a thing to continue happening.

Eventually, entrepreneurs and domain speculators moved onto the next thing: LLLL .com domains. That is, four letters (A to Z) regardless of letter quality. It made sense that somehow, these longer but still short domains would be valuable in the future. Not too long ago, all LLLL .com combinations were registered. All 456,976 of them (26 letters to the 4th power).

The fact is, hundreds if not thousands of these domains were registered en masse by speculators, attempting to capitalize on this apparent “craze” of LLLL mania. The fact is, several good letter LLLL .com’s drop daily and are offered via auction houses and drop-catching services. The fact is, one day not too long from now, thousands of LLLL .com domains will drop within a few days of each-other.

Artificial bubbles do burst eventually.

There is a trend in the domain market – much like in the stock market – to facilitate sales via the spreading of rumors. The difference is, the pump and dump techniques of the stock market are punishable by law. So what is the current rumor in the realm of domain speculators? That 5-Letter (LLLLL) .com’s is the next big thing.

Give me a break.

OK, so I might own a few myself. One that pops to mind is and it’s a valid dictionary word. It’s that big muscle that forms my butt-cheek. There is a difference between being an ass and making oneself an ass in public. And LLLLL .com’s being the next best thing since sliced bread, is exactly a manifestation of that.

No, I won’t be going through 11,881,376 permutations of LLLLL .com’s (26 letters to the 5th power) in order to find the ones that are available. I can simply select the few valid, dictionary words of 5 letters and look them up for availability – or not! Because most valid dictionary words are already gone, folks.

You won’t be seeing me in the LLLLLLLLLLLL .com arena, a couple of years from now. I have better things to do than be a lemming of wishful things that never happened in my time.


  1. Hello, very interesting reads, I really enjoy this blog.

    Questions: You say “The fact is, one day not too long from now, thousands of LLLL .com domains will drop within a few days of each-other.”

    1. Did the same drop pattern happen with LLL’s?

    2. Would it be because of the sheer volume of LLLL’s as opposed to LLL’s

    3. Is the idea that fueled the LLL market the same idea that fuels the LLLL’s. That of being short and the fact that businesses liked acronyms.

    4. Would the more expanded and global market of today and tomorrow equalize the supply & demand that LLLL’s would bring.

    Thank for this paragraph “There is a trend in the domain market – much like in the stock market – to facilitate sales via the spreading of rumors. The difference is, the pump and dump techniques of the stock market are punishable by law”

    Very interesting! PUMP & DUMP. MMMM…

    Do you feel this (rumor) about LLLL’s or just 5L’s

    Thank you and best regards…..

  2. Hi Chilly and thanks for your comments.

    1. Yes, and the few vigilant ones that were around caught a lot of them for reg fee. A famous one was

    2. Exactly – and the fact that thousands of them were registered by speculators, as opposed to end users.

    3. True, however 4 letter .com domains contain considerably more “junky combinations” than the fewer 3 letter and 2 letter sets.

    4. From my analysis it’s evident that a few large speculators registered hundreds and thousands of LLLL com’s; if these cannot be profitable – and most of them are not – or if they cannot be flipped they will eventually be allowed to drop.

    About rumors, they exist in every niche market that somehow gets a boost from a few faithful acolytes (a.k.a. fanbois!). A rumor is not a trend but a trend can be attributed to a rumor. The secret of success lies in distinguishing rumor-generated trends from real opportunities.

  3. Hi Acro,
    Are you watching trends these days? I was very suprised at your statment that “one day not too long from now, thousands of LLLL .com domains will drop within a few days of each-other”, because minimal resale price for LLLL.coms is 50$ today. This minimum keeps going up, so those “speculators” who “registered hundreds and thousands of LLLL com’s” will have a nice profit from them and hardly that anyone would let those names drop.

    Regards, Andrej

  4. Andrej, perhaps you missed the point of my post. Of course there is a “minimum” price but this does not mean every LLLL .com *will* sell. When someone registers such domains simply because it’s a leftover iteration of four letters, there is no inherent value to these domains. It’s artificial. Those who registered thousands of names blindly (some for two years) will have to decide if it’s worth renewing when there is little prospect of a sale.

    Don’t get me wrong; I too, invest in LLLL .com’s that are of quality letters but most importantly, are aged (older than 2000). The main point I am making is that the lack of available LLLL .com’s in the wild does not justify a shift in investment focus towards the 5-Letter .com’s.

  5. Good write up Theo, nice to see to some piece of domaining history that I’ve missed. Man, you’re old :p

    About a hundred’s drop every day and all go into auctions now. Min price seems to be $60-70 now.

    If by any chance a few thousand’s drop and not get taken to auctions, or preordered, I’d be more than happy to take them all out. But I’m afraid no one is going to just throw money away 😀

    I do see your point though, buyouts are sometimes a bit artificial and risky. But at the end it’s all about how the market reacts and so far it’s been pretty good.


  6. i totally agree,
    i think the reason for this phenomenon is valuation based on scarcity not value. its an easy and simple way for people to valuate a domain based on scarcity, it is a old economy mentality way of thinking, that because all of them are registered they must be valuable and must increase in value. Sure the prices as a result might go up by the forces of speculation. People are simply too lazy, don’t have time, to discover value for end-users in other avenues, so they just go the way.

    when i see a domain like for example (my apologies to the owner, this was a random pick, dont mean to devalue a domain, it might be a bad example on my part due to stress) i put myself in enduser shoes and ask, if i was a starting a business, marketing campaign, anything that needed a new URL why the hell would i get an acronym like that in face of so much better alternatives for reg fee or even more. Now even if all the stars in the universe aligned and my project name somehow matched those letters. Now imagine trying to court your target audience with a domain name like that. Even if they fall in love with you. Why would I want to put my precious users through so much mental strain, and lost nanoseconds just to name a few? Now if you want to discourage a following, or limit the attention you site will received because it is a secret underground “club” site, or your site caters to people who have a random LLLL fetish, than a coded url like this is a good way to go, it is brandable after all.

    Ok this might be banal, but a simple test for domain value i can think of is a question “does the name mean anything?” And from my limited experience in domaining, when a domain means something, represents something then it is usually worth more than just an acronym. You can see an example of that from a snapnames auction, when a acronym (i cant remember which) sold for a few times less than NNL(, which sold for 15K. Similarly there are many CCCC out there that are worth more than LLLL’s. But some are visionaries already ahead of you, they see beyond the world of LLLL’s, they see and as the next big low hanging sweetest fruit around, now you know what they say about the early bird.

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