Not all letters are created equally. We often talk of “premium” or “bad” letters when it comes to three and four letter dot coms. But are we correct in thoughts as to which letters are really good or bad? I decided to take a look and see if I could find any information about which letters are really used more often in the English language than others. While this doesn’t take into account all foreign languages (which itself is a whole other post), I did stumble on some interesting data regarding what really are the best letters.
The information came from DataGenetics, a company that loves to analyze data. They make a living squeezing relative information out of tons of data. The article entitled “A Better Hangman Strategy” takes data that would be used to win the classic game hangman and helps us define the real “premium letters”.
If you were to choose the best letters you would probably consider letters that are the most popular first letters based on frequency in English text. If that is the case, the value of the letters would be in this order.
ETAOIN SHRDLU CMFWYP VBGKQJ XZ
But…..if you take out all the common words in that are constantly repeated like “the, a, on,have, from, I, your”, words that aren’t usually used in acronyms, you come up with a completely different list. The order would look like this
ESIARN TOLCDU PMGHBY FVKWZX QJ
Using this information (and probably the list above), it’s pretty obvious that the worst letters are KWZXQJ. Most people consider X and Z the worst but in actuality there are even less words the start with Q and J and with acronyms we are only concerned with the first letter of words. But that doesn’t end it. There are a few words that end a higher percentage of acronyms that would give certain letters more value.
The following words are used at a much higher rate on the third or fourth letter.
And the last, and very important point, is that the word “The” is often included in the acronym for the first letter. While it was dropped because its a common word, it still is one of the most used words so it needs to be brought back. Using that information, my final list of most valuable letters for three letter and four letter dot coms would look like this
AESIRC TONLDU PMGHBY FVKWZX QJ
So there go. The Domain Shane acronym letter valuation order. A formula created through countless hours of data crunching and a few minutes of guessing. Enjoy and feel free to tweak the formula in the comments.