Brevity: 1/9 Reasons to use Emoji Domains
Because being short is OK 🐜
As part of the homepage at EmojiHQ.com I write a short paragraph or two on the 9 benefits that I believe give emoji domains value.
In this series I want to expand on and explore each one, opening up the potential value emoji domains might hold as marketing tools for modern businesses.
In this first part I’ll be discussing the brevity of emoji domains.
Briefly setting the Scene with Existing Short Domains
To understand the value a single or double character emoji domain has we need to pay attention to short names in the characters we’re used to seeing domains written in; letters and numbers. In the world of online naming short names are coveted. 4-letter (4L) domains like fund.com and 3-letter (3L) domains like fly.com are examples of names that hold value. Equally, domains with four numbers (4N) and three numbers (3N) hold value.
For an idea of how much real businesses have paid for these kind of names check out the links below with the understanding that what you see are only the reported sales. It’s highly likely that many more unreported sales exist at higher price levels.
The highest price tags come from the meanings found in the short words. The 4L domains at the high end are recognisable dictionary words like fund and shop that have a straightforward commercial application online.
The 3L domains with high sales prices also follow the pattern with tom, sex and fly being examples.
The numbered domains, while perhaps slightly surprising at first, also have meaning to certain cultures. In China many more domains include numbers because they have meaning alone or in combination. The number ‘8’ for example is very popular due to its positive connotations.
It’s easy to see the value in a domain like Fund.com. It’s a real word with possible financial commercial application online. What about a more seemingly random set of letters like DSRC.com? These types of domains are often used as acronym shorteners for companies with unwieldy names. A quick google search shows some possible users like the Data Software Research Company or David Skaggs Research Center.
If domain names are the addresses of our digital businesses, it’s important to make them as accessible as possible. Every small move towards accessibility is the equivalent of moving a physical shop closer to the high street.
A longer walk to a physical shop adds friction to that customer’s journey. The same idea can be applied to short online addresses. The shorter the journey to the address, the less friction.
Saving Time and Attention Spans
A short domain saves time, often touted as our most valuable asset.It’s now widely known that two major technology shifts have occurred over the last 5 years in the way we communicate. We are moving to smaller, busier devices.The first shift was from desktop to mobile which now accounts for the majority of web usage on a worldwide scale.
Mobile web usage overtakes desktop web usage
The second shift was from social networks (Facebook) to messaging apps (Whatsapp)
Messaging apps overtaking social networks
While smartphones have generally been increasing in size they still have relatively small keyboards and who wants to spend the time typing out long domains like D a t a S o f t w a r e R e s e a r c h C o m p a n y . c o m?
Thats 31 individual keystrokes on a very small keyboard.
D S R C . c o m is only 8 keystrokes.
What if you wanted to get it shorter? DSRC is comparatively short and accounts for every word. But, let’s say you wanted to get it really short. Well, you can’t have D.com as there are only a few single letter .com domains in the wild.
Active single letter domains (source: Wikipedia)
The 2-letter option, DS.com, is already taken and is a one page site about the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. If you could persuade the owner to sell the domain you’d be looking at a multi-million dollar deal going on the basis that IG Group paid $4.7M to buy IG.com and Facebook paid $8.5M in cash with a remainder in stocks for FB.com. These prices were from 2013 and 2010 respectively and so arguably would be higher if sold today.
The 3-letter option, DSR.com,is owned by a tech company based in Korea. If you could get them to part with it you might be looking at anywhere from $20,000 to $2,000,000 as in the case of Eth.com.
Recent 3L .com prices excluding non-western premium letters (source: Namebio.com)
This emoji domain is a single character domain. In total the link has only 4 elements.
You can argue that to switch between the emoji keyboard and the ASCII keyboard there are an additional 2 keystrokes to make a 6 keystroke long domain.
- switch from ASCII (default keyboard) to emoji keyboard
- switch back to ASCII keyboard
At 6 keystrokes the domain is equal length to a 2-letter .com domain
But, the emoji domain 📊.ws also gives context to the link. It won’t tell you exactly what you might find but in comparison to DS.com it hints at something. You might expect data, graphs, research, mathematics, experimentation and results among other things.
Apart from the fact that it is a picture, often in colour, standing out in a sea of text and a native, accepted part of modern messaging parlance, an emoji domain’s ability to give context in its 1 character must give it some value.
Short = Easier to Spell
Another aspect of valuable domains is the ease of saying and spelling them. A digital address that’s easy to say and spell is more easily distributed. With fewer letters comes fewer spelling complications. Short words like fund, shop, fly, tom, do and me are simple and 99% foolproof when it comes to spelling.
But how do you spell an emoji?
Spelling is only the naming or writing of letters in the correct sequence to form a word or a domain in this context.
Someone seeing an emoji domain on a billboard or in a tweet need only remember the emoji sequence in order to spell the domain. I’ll cover in more detail how we remember pictures versus words in another post but it’s safe to say remembering a sequence of one or two pictures is an achievable feat, especially if that picture is one your subconscious sees on a regular basis. Active emoji users recognise the graphic style of emoji and would likely still pick one out that they’ve never used before.
To counter the popular argument that emoji can be easily confused with each other I suggest that domains using ASCII characters are no different.
Where these emoji domains might be confusing:
So might these ASCII domains:
Emoji domains won’t displace what we’re used to. They aren’t faultless and should only ever be thought of as an additional marketing tool. They do, however, possess many qualities other domain names do not and so are a worthy addition. (Did I mention they are colourful pictures?🎉)
A digital marketer using emoji domains needs to be as careful when employing one as they would with a regular domain. Take the words connoisseur and expert. They have different nuances but one word is much easier to spell and remember than the other.
A better domain is a simpler, shorter one.
You might equate it to using a single character smiley with a solid degree of differentiation like these ones:
🤡 🤑 🤯 🧐 🤠
These emoji are both short and easier to ‘spell’
Short domains are also rare. With only 26 letters in the alphabet there are only 26 different 1-letter domains in the .com extension we’re most used to.
There are only 676 2-letter combinations and 17,576 3-letter combinations in the .com extension.
Since 2010 rare single character emoji (excluding ZWJ sequences and modifiers) have been added at the following rate:
Single character emoji without ZWJ sequences or modifiers added since 2010 (Source: https://unicode.org/emoji/charts-5.0/emoji-versions-sources.html)
At this rate it will take a few years to get to the 3L .com level of rarity at 17,576. In addition, many of the emoji have very specific industry uses. There is only one ⌚ emoji, for example, and so must be fought over by the tens of thousands of businesses that operate in the watch industry. This makes emoji domains with very specific meanings even rarer. Conversely, a 3-letter domain like DSR.com could be put to use across multiple industry verticals.