What’s a Singular Domain Worth Compared To The Plural?

Nov 07 2015

Congrats to Andrew Rosener and Media Options on the nice sale of Essential.com for $250,000, as discussed in this week’s DNJournal sales report.

I thought I remembered a relatively recent sale of a similar domain, and it turns out it was very similar….just add the “S” and make it plural: Essentials.com for $32,000 back in August 2014, making the sale of the singular nearly 8 times the plural.

Tsingular pluralhe disparity between the two sales made me think about the question in the title, “What’s a singular domain worth compared to the plural?”

The short answer is that I have no idea. 🙂

“It depends” is my longer answer.

It depends on things like the motivations of the buyer, the motivations of the seller, what platform it sold on, when it sold, etc, etc, etc.

There are many schools of thought that say the singular is typically brandable and therefore more valuable, because there is no limit to the number of industries the domain could be used in. On the other hand, the plural often requires the owner to sell the underlying product or be a service directory. There are MANY exceptions, of course, and it’s tough to make any blanket statements.

With a little digging, I was able to find a couple examples of singular vs plural sales, and they’re listed below:

Essential.com sold for $250,000 in November 2015 through Media Options.
Essentials.com sold for $32,000 in August 2014 through Hilco Streambank.
The singular was 7.8x the plural.


DataCenter.com sold for $500,000 in June 2014 in a private transaction.
DataCenters.com sold for $190,000 in October 2013 through Domain Name Sales.
The singular was 2.6x the plural.


Ride.com sold for $325,000 in November 2013 through Domain Name Sales.
Rides.com sold for $120,000 in January 2015 through Flippa.
The singular was 2.7x the plural.


Estate.com sold for $165,000 in February 2013 through UpMarketDNS.
Estates.com sold for $23,600 in November 2007 through Sedo.
The singular was 7.0x the plural.


With obviously a VERY limited sample set, the range is that the singular is worth let’s say 3x – 7x the plural.

What do you think? Add your two cents if you:
(a) think the 3x – 7x multiple range is way off base, or
(b) can recall other singular/plural sale comparisons.

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  1. Post author

    Agreed. Same thing goes for Hotel.com/Hotels.com.

    I’ll take that as support for the “it depends” answer. 🙂

  2. Kevin M.

    This always gets me too, and why I own so many sets of both versions. (Also to cover my bases) I think it also depends on the subject of the words too. For example RestaurantCoupon and RestaurantCoupons. To me the plural would seem more desirable (thus higher value), because one doesn’t go looking for ‘one’ coupon , they’d be looking for more coupon options applicable to more choices. So here I can see the value in the plural. When building a brand, or for a product (or service) like Printers, one searches for the ‘printer’ they’re looking for, not for a bunch of ‘printers’ that many may not be applicable to their search. So here the singular would seem to be better. But..of course, all domain sales values are really based on the buyers reasoning’s and wants! So who knows…

    1. Post author

      Another vote for “it depends”. 🙂
      I agree with your comments…..it’s tough to make a one-size-fits-all conclusion.

  3. Eric Borgos

    Many times the plural has a slightly different meaning than the singular, like essentials.com could be for a company that sells items like you would find at a drug store (“known as “essentials”). Physical.com and Physicals.com is another example. Even weight.com and weights.com might have 2 totally different uses. So, I am not sure there can be a general rule for how to value it. You gave a bunch of example of the singular being better, but would you rather have domain.com or domains.com?

    1. Post author

      Good point on the different meanings.
      On Domain.com vs Domains.com —- it’s not as clear cut as Car/Cars, where I’d definitely want the plural.

  4. Troels

    I keep thinking back on the carloans.com.au episode on DomainSherpa where they opted to lose the great name beep.com.au. On that show the perfect keyword match was praised, mostly because of the increase in Adwords efficiency and because the name “said it all”.

    I’ve been in a similar situation. We opened a webshop in 2011 based around a brandable generic which pretty much translates to a 18-19th century way of saying “the watch company”.dk. A year later we bought a competitor with the perfect keyword match “watches”.dk. We chose to keep both sites running independently. The SEO-value and to some extent the Adwords value of owning the bang-on-generic is noticeable. However, here 4 years later, people don’t really fancy or remember the generic. They remember and value the brandable-shop name. When I ask why, they say the generic is too plain.

    The shops have carried almost they same inventory for 3+ years, and today the brandable outperforms the generic by a lot.

    The bang-on generic undoubtedly gives you clout within an industry and Google, but it might also be so generic and plain, that it’s difficult to set you apart from the competition for the battle of “top-of-mind”.

    So I can see why brandable singular domains would have value in several industries. Personally though, if I would go the brandable option in the future, I would probably get a brandable name that works across borders and languages. Like a CVCV.

    Just my 2 cents from an end-user perspective.

    1. Steve

      Great points, I think it just reinforces having both of possible. Use the generic as a lander/info site for the “brandable”.

      “The SEO-value and to some extent the Adwords value of owning the bang-on-generic is noticeable.”
      Many companies have saved/avoided shelling out big $$$$$$ on the adword scam machine by utilizing a generic domain.
      Say goodbye to bots and buy a generic .com or cctld.

  5. John

    You pretty much covered it in your post and Eric made a point along with some others. “It depends.” In a nutshell, the “rule” is:

    The singular is often much more valuable and brandable, but there are exceptions.

    The same goes for LONG vs. SHORT .coms:

    SHORTER is often much more valuable than LONGER, but there are many exceptions in which LONGER is much more valuable than many and most that are SHORTER.

  6. Adam

    Singular in most cases works better as a brand and leaves a little more room for that usage while plural is more definitive and tends to lend itself to a use in only a “keyword” type of capacity. Consider the singular dictionary words Apple.com, Target.com, Delta.com and Mint.com compared to their counterparts Apples.com, Targets.com, Deltas.com and Mints.com. The first can clearly work as brands for any number of things while the others more than likely do not work in multiple uses and can only focus on that specific good or service.
    In the case of keywords with a massive consumer focus, the users intent to find more than one choice (or as many as possible) gives the plural a leg up (think Hotels.com, Cars.com, etc) Other plurals like Snowboards.com would work better for a consumer focus site selling that good or service while the singular sounds more informative like Snowboard.com . Generalizing here and there’s obviously outliers and other examples where this doesn’t work

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