Remember back in February when Coca-Cola got a ton of hype for debuting billboards that featured emoji domain names? Every “happy emoji” domain that was registered by the beverage giant redirected to a landing page where visitors could enter to win their very own emoji domain name. Although the contest has long been over, you might have noticed something peculiar—the distinctive lack of domain names that use emoticons, even now that we know it’s possible to register them.
So why aren’t more people jumping at the chance to get the “sassy information desk girl” emoji as their website’s URL?
Well, it’s because registering a domain with non-Latin text is tricky. In fact, only a select few New Domains and ccTLDs allow it at all. Currently, the most popular domain to use when registering a domain with non-Latin characters seems to be .WS, which is why you’ll almost always see that ending on domain names that use emojis. (Edit: As of Nov. 2016. .WS is the only confirmed domain extension that supports emoji URLs.)
But that’s not the only reason why emoji domains haven’t taken off. While they’re fun and gimmicky and certainly attention grabbing, it’s very difficult for users to navigate to those websites if they aren’t on their phone. Think about it: If you’re on a laptop or desktop computer and need to navigate to http://????????.??.ws, how do you go about typing it into your browser? And even though that link is, in fact, a working emoji link (we’ll get to that in a second), it isn’t even clickable. The most streamlined method for getting to that web address would be to copy and paste it into your browser manually, and that isn’t very efficient.
Another issue to consider is the fact that emojis are not displayed consistently across every platform, which can cause some confusion when translating from one version to another. For example, the Apple version of the “dancing girl” emoji looks distinctively different from it’s Android translation.
Aww man! I was super excited about emoji domains!
Even though having a primary domain that is made up of emojis might not be the best idea, you can still play around with your own emoji link. Linkmoji allows you to enter your URL into it’s generator so you can create an emoji link that redirects to the website of your choice. It’s a pretty fun (and free!) tool that will let you enjoy the benefits of using an emoji domain name without having to rely on it for your web traffic.
And if you really have your heart set on registering an emoji domain name, there are ways to do so. Navigate to Punnycoder and enter the emojis that you want to use in your URL (either via your phone or by copy and pasting from an emoji directory, like this one). Use the code it generates to register your emoji domain. But note that only select domains allow you to use non-Latin text, so do your research ahead of time or you may end up with nothing but a nonsensical string of letters for a domain name.
Check out this full tutorial on how to register your own emoji domain.