I don’t know exactly how much May Cheung (张红梅) paid for 98EP.com, but I’m sure she hand registered the domain name in 2013 because Wayback Machine shows no other person before her. So, I can safely say she paid about $10 for the domain name registration.
Why did May acquire 98EP.com? Because it has meaning in Chinese. According to her, EP is an acronym for Easy Printing. E is particularly good because it also rhymes with the character 印 (yin) which also means printing. She never explained the meaning of 98 publicly, but I guess she chose 98 because it rhymes with either 就发 (going to be rich) or 久發 (being rich forever). Putting the two parts together, we have a name that means making a fortune in printing. She did!
Certainly, May is no ordinary woman. Born as a serial entrepreneur, she has received numerous awards for her innovative businesses. After she registered 98EP.com, she used it to disrupt the printing industry by offering a one-stop service to allow users to design and order printing materials 24/7 at low costs. Her success has attracted investors such as Softbank to put more than $70m onto the 98EP.com platform.
How much is 98EP.com worth now? I don’t know, but I can imagine millions of dollars of cash going into the company’s bank account via this domain name. All you need is a simple domain name and a great business idea.
Let’s look at the domain name again. What can we learn from this success story? “short”, “meaning”, and “.com” are the keywords in this success. With these ingredients, a humble 4C .com can rise up to become the center of a billion dollar business empire. Again, not every 4C .com is useful, but those with good commercial meanings will be sought after. Domain investors who are willing to do the research will find gems in this category.
May was able to acquire 98EP.com for only $10 in 2013 because there was no interest by investors in invest in 4C .com domain names. Will future entrepreneurs be able to acquire meaningful 4C .com at such a low price? I doubt.