Emojis have taken over the world. We send them every hour of the day over SMS and WhatsApp. The world gets excited every time new ones are released. Millions of us even dragged ourselves to the theater to see The Emoji Movie. However, have you ever thought about using an emoji in a domain name?
You may not even know it was possible, but emoji domains are actually a thing. In fact, they’ve been around since 2001, but have only become popular since smartphone use reached critical mass. Coca-Cola has been using them, and in September this year, prominent domain investor Gregg Ostrick paid over $11,000 for the yin-yang emoji .com domain.
Are emoji domains really going to be the next big thing in domain registration, or are they just a gimmick? Are they a good investment, or are you just throwing your money down an emoji toilet? Let’s examine what emoji domains actually are, plus the advantages and disadvantages. See which emotions they stir up in you?
What are Emoji Domains?
An emoji domain name is simply a domain name with an emoji in it. (I’m not going to explain what an emoji is!)
Because so much of the world’s internet access takes place on mobile devices that utilize emojis, it makes sense to be able to use them in domain names. In many cases, it’s easier than typing in a standard letter-based domain name.
How do You Get an Emoji Domain?
Emoji domain names aren’t available on all top-level domains (TLDs) yet. The only TLDs supporting emoji domains at the moment are .ai, .cf, .ga, .gq, .ml, .tk, .to and .ws.
Currently, the most popular international TLDs that are offering emoji domain names, are those of Tonga (.to) and Western Samoa (.ws)
To see what emoji domain names are available on the .to TLD, you can visit this website.
For the .ws TLD, it’s this one.
How Does it Work if You Can’t Use Emojis?
It’s extremely difficult to type emojis if you’re not on a smartphone. In fact, sometimes it’s impossible. Some internet browsers, such as Chrome and Opera, do not support emojis yet.
For these browsers, you have to convert your emoji into something called Punycode. Punycode is a way of expressing emojis and other special characters as letters and numbers which your internet browser can understand.
Type the Punycode before the TLD and you’ll reach the domain.
For example, you can reach the .to emoji domain registration site pictured above by typing in xn--f28h.to.
What are the Advantages of Emoji Domains?
The thing that’s good about emoji domains is that they grab people’s attention. They’re distinctive, easy to tell people about. You can also combine multiple emojis into a domain name.
While they’re only available on a few TLDs right now, it’s likely that more TLDs will allow emoji domains if the demand is there.
At the moment, although emojis are so current, emoji domain names are quite easy to get. Some of the prices seem quite high, but they could be a bargain if you use it as part of your business branding.
Coca-Cola has been happy to align their brand with emoji domains. In February 2015, they used a smiley emoji in a domain name as part of a marketing campaign in Puerto Rico. If companies like Coke are on board, it may only be a matter of time before every big brand is using emoji domains.
What are the Disadvantages of Emoji Domains?
Of course, there are many reasons why emoji domains may not actually be the next big thing in domain registration. The reasons why you shouldn’t be investing.
Firstly, as illustrated before, emoji domains are hard to use if you’re not on a smartphone. If you’re using a desktop computer, logging on to a site with an emoji domain name is cumbersome. Chrome and Opera don’t support emoji domains yet, and the potential to use emojis is limited on social media giants Facebook and Instagram. If you’re not everywhere, you’re nowhere.
Next, a lot of emojis look the same. The first 4 smileys look really similar to each other, the only difference is the size of the smile. If your domain is using one of them, how do you communicate which one to use? It’s unnecessarily confusing.
At the moment, emoji domains are available only available on 8 TLDs, none of which are really household names. There are 36 .com emoji domains, including the one purchased by Gregg Ostrick, but there are no plans to issue anymore. Until more prominent TLDs like .com, .org or .net get involved, emoji domains will always have a slightly lower-class air around them.
Finally, emojis may be everywhere at the moment, but trends come and go. This time next year, emojis could be totally uncool. Your investment in an emoji domain name may be as relevant as MySpace or Friendster. It’s certainly possible that emoji domains are just a gimmick.
It’s clear that there are benefits and disadvantages to investing in emoji domain names. Like the hero of the Emoji movie, you can’t decide whether you’re happy or sad. Just ‘meh’.
At Web Hosting Sun, we’ll make sure we keep you updated with all the developments in this exciting new area of the domain name market.
Let us know what you think of emoji domains. Leave us a comment below.