Emoji have taken the world by storm in recent years, so it’s no surprise to see Emoji make an appearance in one of the cornerstones of the Internet: domain names.

In this blog post, we’ll cover some Emoji domain history, information on buying Emoji domains, and explain why you might want to own one.

Some Emoji domain history ⏳

Emoji domains aren’t exactly a new phenomena.

?.la, a domain also affectionately known as Poopla, was registered back in 2011 by Panic, maker of popular Mac/iPad/iPhone apps.

Poopla is still accessible today and is widely regarded as the world’s first Emoji domain.

The Emoji domain craze received renewed interest when Coca Cola, maker of popular sugary beverages, used a series of Emoji domains for an ad campaign.

Billboards towering over the highways of Puerto Rico featured nothing but URLs containing single Emoji-based domains like www.?.ws (face with stuck-out tongue) and www.?.ws (grinning face).

But Emoji domains are not just reserved for popular software makers and big soda conglomerates. You can have them too.

Emoji Domain Buyer’s Toolbox ?

To buy an Emoji domain, you’ll need the following:

  • An Emoji keyboard. On Mac OS X devices, use ctrl+cmd+space to pull it up.
  • A domain registrar that supports direct Emoji input. IWantMyName.com works best for this.
  • A Punycode converter. We’ll be using Punycoder.com.

Punycode is the underlying encoding of Emoji, and you’ll want to know the Punycode analog of your Emoji domain.

Not every domain extension supports Emoji ?

Most domain extensions do not support Emoji domains. In fact, you’re pretty much just limited to .ws, the extension of Western Samoa commonly referred to as an abbreviation for “website.”

While the aforementioned ?.la domain is still a thing, the Laos domain administrators no longer allow new registrations of Emoji domains. Poopla has been grandfathered in.

The island of Tokelau can also support them with their .tk extension. You can even register one for “free” at dot.tk.

Checking availability of Emoji domains ?

I like IWantMyName for checking Emoji domain availability, as it is the only registrar I could find which supports direct Emoji input.

While other registrars will allow you to register them, you’ll have to convert them to Punycode first with a tool like Punycoder.

For example, the heart eyes face (?) will be converted to xn--r28h. Then just add .ws to the end. Piece of ?.

It’s worth shopping around. At the time of this writing, Go Daddy has a $2.99 for the first year special on .ws. ?

Many of the most popular Emoji are already taken in .ws. However, Emoji domains become much more available in groups of two Emoji or more.

Why on ? would I want an emoji domain? ?

Pure vanity.

At WordCamp Lancaster, it caused quite a stir when Anthony D. Paul concluded his talk about user testing with a reference to his personal Emoji domain: ⚡️❄️.ws (verbalized as “thunder snow dot ws”).

After that, I grabbed one of my own to honor one of my favorite foods.

And many others followed suit.

Will it help my SEO? ?

No. I can’t imagine a worse possible type of domain if you’re concerned at all about SEO-friendliness.

Despite Emoji’s surging popularity, support can be slim outside of the default support you’ll find in Apple and Android devices.

It’s best that these domains are immediately redirected. You don’t want to attempt to host a website on an Emoji domain. At least not until Emoji support becomes a little less precarious.

When linking, use Emoji in the anchor text, but the Punycode for the href itself. For example: ??.ws

That’s all folks ?

While I’m cognizant of the fact that Emoji domains will be increasingly less cool as more people use them, brandishing an Emoji domain in an appropriate setting will have a parlor-trick-esque allure for years to come.

Emoji are meant to be fun and light-hearted, so don’t overthink it. Which Emoji domains did you get?

3 Comments

  1. Hey… When I was doing research for ❤️❤️❤️.ws Emoji Domain Registration, this was one of the articles I read first. That, and yeah… that @ifyouwillit piece as well. It’s funny how few articles there are about this, probably because it is so convoluted.

    iwantmyname.com is fascinating…. all those TLDs. At this point, I’m pretty sure only .ml and .ws are accepting new registrations.

    I’m not sure where else to share this, so let me put this here: emoji domains aren’t punycoded. I mean, they are… and for most simple cases, punycoding is enough, but domains are actually IDNA UTS 46 encoded, which is slightly different. You notice the difference if you try to do a really complicated emoji domain.

    http://unicode.org/reports/tr46/
    https://www.npmjs.com/package/idna-uts46

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