Emoji domain names?!

I’ll be honest, I was an emoji resister for a long time. Initially, I just didn’t think they would catch on. What I failed to realize was that emojis convey full concepts, phrases, or actions in a single or couple icons. They’re super convenient! In-fact, the concept of emoji is nothing new (hieroglyphics anyone?).

What’s an emoji domain?

Last night I read an article that had some info on how to register an emoji URL (scroll to the end of this article for easier instructions). The article talked about the difficulty of registering a domain name that includes an emoji and examples of some of the first emoji domains registered. Among the examples were domains for a creative billboard campaign by Coca-Cola.

Specifically, an emoji domain name follows the same rules as an international domain name (or IDN). A sequence of emojis is converted into a punycode which is a latin character representation of the emoji symbol string.

For instance,

👍👍.ws

is converted by the browser to

xn--yp8ha.ws

allowing for the domain to resolve.

Inconsistencies with emojis that impact the use of emoji domains

Theoretically, any domain registry or registrar that supports IDN registration should be able to support emoji URLs, however, because we’re in the early days, there are some definite caveats.

  1. The browser must support conversion of emoji to punycode. Most do because of IDNs.
  2. Emojis are converted to unusable objects in some platforms. In Facebook posts for instance, “👍👍.ws” is converted to “Facebook_logo_thumbs_up_like_transparentFacebook_logo_thumbs_up_like_transparent.ws” where the Facebook thumbs are images not symbols (and can’t be pasted into a browser).
  3. On that note, when entering an emoji domain into a Facebook post, the URL preview is not generated (presumably because Facebook doesn’t support this type of URL yet).
  4. Twitter, Outlook, and Apple Mail all display emojis differently. There is a lack of consistency in the way emojis appear across the web making it more difficult to market these types of domains.
  5. Apple recently released ethnically diverse emojis which can be selected by long-pressing an emoji on the iOS keyboard. While these emojis show up correctly when viewed on an iPhone, if  copied/pasted into Chrome, the result is a Google search rather than a URL resolution. The URL will resolve with Firefox (Try: 👍🏽.ws)

But maybe now you’re thinking, “I get it Mendel, but I want to get ahead of the curve, so how do I register one of these emoji URLs?!”

Registering an emoji domain

Here are the quick steps to register an emoji URL. To date, it appears .ws is one of the only registries that supports this type of registration.

  1. Open Google Chrome and navigate to this emoji directory.
  2. Copy and paste your favorite combination of emojis into a new tab in Google Chrome followed by .ws (ex. 👍👍👍👍👍👍.ws)
  3. If the domain name is available, you should be redirected to https://www.website.ws/ (the registry)
  4. If you’re not automatically re-directed, you can copy your emoji string into this punycode converter, and search for the corresponding punycode on https://www.website.ws.

That’s all for now. Hope you’ve enjoyed this super geeky look into the new world of emoji domains.

Do you have an emoji domain? Let me know in the comments below!

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