There’s a common theme with the list of criteria one must adhere to in order to find the best possible name for your business. The theme is very similar to the one that Google continues to preach: Give the customer what they want. In fact, this is not much different to any successful business model.
Generally speaking, in the case of numbers and hyphens, they add confusion and in the worse case situation, you inadvertently send customers to your competitor with the same keyword(s) without the number or hyphen.
There are however exceptions to this rule. For example, some commonly recognized numbers are appropriate such as 247, 1800 or 800. TwentyFourSevenFreight.com is much longer than 247Freight.com and most people intuitively know what 247 means.
You get into trouble when you substitute numbers for words as some mean something completely different than what you want. ForROI.com is a lot different than 4ROI.com. 2BetterDiets.com vs TwoBetterdiets.com is another example.
In the case of hyphens, this had been one of the earliest ‘work-arounds’ when the best name without a hyphen had long been taken. In many cases to this day, the I.T. person would say, “not too worry as the search engines recognize hyphens. ”
This is true except the ‘not to worry’ part. Search engines are smart and getting smarter every day but humans are still humans and they naturally default to the easiest name to remember… the one without the hyphen.
This is not to say that any name with a number or hyphen is not worth anything. It just diminishes the value by somewhere between 8 and 10 to 1 depending on the industry. Think of ProShop.com vs. Pro-shop.com. Although it’s only one extra character, but if you’re building a Pro Shop site using the hyphen, guess where a lot of your customers are going to go to? Not a good idea. The smart thing to do would be build out ProShop.com but pick up the one with the hyphen (if you can) as a defensive move.
By the way, ProShop.com shows the valuation at $25,000 while the same valuation program shows Pro-Shop.com at about $3,700. That’s what a hyphen costs you.
The lesson one learns after buying and selling thousands of domain names is that one small change to a domain can change the value by a very meaningful difference in either direction. Sometimes the plural is more valuable than the singular and of course vice versa depending on the name. Adding another letter or two at the beginning or the end will also dramatically cut the value of any name, particularly one-word premium domains.
You will see many sites with added prefix such as ‘I’, ‘My’, ‘Our(s)’, ‘Your(s)’, ‘His’ or ‘Hers’. Usually this is a sign that for a few extra letters the price can be reduced from a million or more dollars to $5k to $10k. One-word premium domains (House.com, Boat.com, Hotels.com, Beer.com, or Beef.com) also have a lot of direct traffic that makes them easier to monetize, have high ‘Authority’ and credibility that the ‘elongated’ versions don’t.