Welcome back to the ChopChop blog for part 2 of last week’s topic: How to Spin Great Chinese IDNs. Last week, we briefly introduced you to the idea of spinning Chinese IDNs and the first steps you’d need to take to begin the process of registering valuable Chinese domains.
In today’s blog, we’ll delve a little deeper into the differences and similarities of Chinese IDNs compared to English domains, and provide you with some worthwhile advice for you to consider before you continue on spinning Chinese IDNs.
Without further adieu, enjoy part 2 of how to spin great Chinese IDNs!
Chinese is very compact
A short Chinese string can communicate a lot of meaning. Lets try to push the envelope with 8-character Chinese phrases that make good domains:
北京四中篮球校队, eight characters in total, meaning “the school basketball team of Beijing’s 4th Middle School” (or, 8 characters in Chinese vs. 48 characters in English, not including spaces or punctuation).
安徽蚌埠妇产医院, eight characters in total, meaning “the maternity hospital of Bengbu City, Anhui Province” (or, 8 characters in Chinese vs. 45 characters in English, not including spaces or punctuation).
You see from these examples that portfolios of domains can be spun with readily-available input lists.
Mathematically, let’s look at it this way. If a domain name must be four characters long:
An English domain name could have 37 different symbols in it (the alphabet plus the dash symbol and Arabic numbers). To fill four characters, there are 37*37*37*37 = 1,874,161 different combinations.
Assuming a Chinese domain name has to be based on the GB2312 character set (the smallest charset for Chinese), not counting universal symbols such as the English alphabet and Arabic numbers, there are a total of 6,763 variations. To fill up four characters, the total number of possible combinations is 6763*6763*6763*6763 or 20,919,801,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations! That is twenty sextillion nine hundred nineteen quintilian eight hundred one quadrillion.
Pinyin input defaults can make a longer domain shorter!
The Pinyin text input system introduces special factors when thinking about what Chinese domain is “shorter”. Sometimes, if a domain string is composed of Chinese characters which are the default selection for a given set of Pinyin typing, the Pinyin text input system’s propensity to insert default characters makes a visually longer domain actually shorter to type.
For example, the common abbreviated term for the “the Arabic language” is 阿语 (in Pinyin, “a yu”). This seemingly takes a total of three keystrokes (a-y-u). But actually, users of a Pinyin text input keyboard will need to hit a lot more keys:
Alternatively, the full form for the term “Arabic language,” 阿拉伯语 has four characters, which when using Pinyin typing requires seven keystrokes (a la bo yu). Because this is actually a word, rather than an abbreviation, most Pinyin input tools would automatically find the exact match, and eliminating the need to look and find the desired characters in the on-screen pop-up list. To a skilled Pinyin typist, four keystrokes take about 0.5 seconds, but picking a character from a candidate list takes at least a few seconds, assuming it’s in the first batch of options.
So in this case, 阿拉伯语 (a la bo yu) is “shorter” than the “short-form” 阿语 (a yu), and therefore the former could be viewed as a better domain name!
Consider the Chinese language’s love for variations
Another interesting and important factor in spinning Chinese domains (and portfolios of domains) is the ease of saying the same thing many different ways. English shares this factor, however in Chinese, there are generally many more alternatives than in English.
The reason for the ease of creating variations is that the Chinese language is generally more conceptual than English, and with >3000 years of recorded history, Chinese people have had a long time to create an extraordinarily rich system of communication.
Consider this exercise as an example:
Jane, a fictitious realtor in New Jersey wants to buy the domain name “njrealestate. com”, however she discovers it is taken. Her main options are:
To negotiate an acquisition from the current owner, however unless it is parked, this may be impossible.
Change her mind and go for “njproperty.com” instead, provided that one isn’t taken.
Try to secure either term in .realtor, .property or .properties, however the popular terms “nj”, “realestate” and “property” may also make her plan tricky.
For Chinese, the string would translate directly into “新泽西房地产” (New Jersey house and land properties), but if that is already taken, the realtor has a large number of alternatives without compromising the quality or accuracy of the domain:
...there are many more possibilities
For one multi-word phrase, there are usually abundant strings to choose from, most of them as convenient and intuitive as the other. Chinese people constantly switch between variations to make their expressions sound fresh and interesting. There might be eight different ways to express one idea in Chinese, and all of them are often used. Chart the possibilities, and register them all. Good sales can be made by “cornering the market” on multiple domains in a single use portfolio.
Get expert support on your team
The best way to approach Chinese domain name spinning is to work with a native Chinese person who is well-educated, and has a keen awareness of online trends. “Native” is especially important here, for there is a wide misconception that “anyone who is capable of speaking Chinese could do the job,” including American-born immigrants, and people from Southeastern Asian semi-Chinese-speaking countries, such as Malaysia and Singapore. Although they do speak the same language, they may not necessarily speak it in the same way, or understand the culture. Both American and British people speak English, but the American may not be expected to possess extensive knowledge about a particular part of the British culture, such as football, aka soccer. Similarly, a Spaniard isn’t expected to understand a particular part of Mexican culture.
Be wise in choosing a Chinese consultant with your domain name ideas, and find the best phrasing for the names. A pair of eyes looking at words and phrases through the lens of native culture can be the difference between a worthless and highly desirable Chinese IDN.
- ChopChop Domains Team