Got questions about emoji domains? ‡️
primer 2018-03-04T21:02:16+00:00


A Brief Primer to Emoji Domains

A Modern Marketing Tool (πŸ”§.ws)

& some ideas why you might want to own one

πŸ€¦β€β™‚οΈ πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

Yes. I know.

You only just found out about emoji domains and it seems like the whole world knew before you.

Not to fear. This brief primer will get you up to speed.

Emoji In Domains. Really?

Really. Emoji domains have been available to register for years. However, it used to be a convoluted and complicated process leaving many of us unaware of the possibility.

Emoji are rendered in URLs by a coding system called ‘punycoding’. Each emoji is associated with a unique punycode.

For example, the hamburgerΒ emoji’s code is ‘xn--ui8h’

This is a readable code that software understands. They just show us the tasty bit we understand- πŸ”

So, can I register πŸ’.com?

At the very beginning ICAAN (the Internet’s governing body) allowed emoji registration in the .com tld. Then they decided it might lead to confusion and so disallowed it.

Now you can only register emoji domains in a few limited country code top level domains that aren’t bound by ICAAN’s ruling. (Rebels)

But, just like .com is premium in the non-emoji internet space, there is an emoji premium too.

The .ws extension has been adopted by major brands as the emoji domain standard.

.ws = emoji 😻

You probably recognise some of the brands already using top tier emoji domains…













At first, it seems like a gimick doesn’t it? But, digging a bit deeper we find all sorts of reasons why a business may want to communicate with an emoji domain




OK- you can see that an emoji url is a ton shorter than a regular url but why does that matter?

Now that more people access the internet via their phone, urls that are mobile friendly are more appropriate.

There’s nothing worse than having to type long-ass domains with my banana fingers on that tiny mobile keyboard. Anything that’s short and easier to type out will reduce the friction for a potential customer.

This neatly leads to the next and related benefit.


Shorter urls have a better chance of being remembered. When they can be easily recalled, they can be easily passed on. Short urls allow for viral word of mouth growth.

We’re all vying for the attention of the customer so businesses must make it easier for people to instantly recognise and remember their message and call-to-action. Businesses need to make it super-easy for those customers to pass that message on to their friends and family.

Additionally, an interesting and proven fact is that the human brain recalls images more easily than than words. It’s called the β€˜picture superiority effect’ which essentially says a picture is coded more easily than a word which needs a dual coding process. A picture’s ease of coding means its also more easily retrieved.

This has obvious implications for advertising.


It’s tough to get all you want across in a few short and sweet sentences. Bios, tweets and messages demand concise and thoughtful copy.

URL shortened links using a 1 character emoji domain will always be competitively short leaving ample space for your witty, sunny personality.


All the signs point towards emoji domains being more engaging. Because emoji domains are so new this is an assumption but made on the data around emoji engagement in general.

Leanplum and AppAnnie teamed up to test what happens to CTR when an emoji is added to a push notification. Engagement rates increased by 85%. That’s huge and was achieved by the simple addition of the emoji- nothing more.

Experian reported that over 50% of brands using an emoji in an email subject line had a higher unique open rate.

Wordstream split-tested adding emoji in their Google adwords text and found that not only did Google serve the ad 10% more frequently the ad including the emoji had 4 clicks whereas the one without emoji had 0 clicks. Even though its a small test, the results still indicate the increased engagement emoji creates.

I don’t think its beyond the realms of possibility that an emoji domain link in, say, a Twitter bio would get added engagement.


Adweek reported that 92% of online consumers use emoji. That’s probably more than you expected, right? Even 60 year old accountants have sent theΒ ?Β emoji.

The infiltration of emoji into our every day language shouldn’t be a threatening thing. Emoji give context to plain text and at our core we understand that. They help us communicate.

When consumers interact with an emoji domain they’ll experience the same positive psychological effects as when they interact with a friend.

This leads nicely to the next unexpected benefit of emoji domains.


Have you noticed that in the last 50 years business has continually moved towards advertising product with emotional influence?

Businesses understand that people do business with people and so the more you come across like a ‘real person’ the more likely a customer will transact.

So, in a world where messaging apps have eclipsed social media sites in usage and conversational marketing is on the rise through chatbots, doesn’t it make sense to talk to people like they already talk?

The use of emoji domains for these purposes is currently under-valued and the businesses that leverage this will make disproportionate gains.


When email was new everyone would open every one of them. Companies monetising open rates did very well until email overwhelmed us. We became numb to the tactics and simply had too much to sift through. The business voices who did well were drowned out.

The same thing is happening on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Accounts with large audiences used to receive a lot of attention. Now the same attention is diluted.

The idea is that novelty has power. Until marketers ruin it.

Emoji domains allow businesses to be novel again.


Get ready because its coming!

A number of articles have already been written about the powerful effects of emoji SEO. We even did an emoji SEO article ourselves about the ⌚ emoji.

Typing the ⌚ emoji into any search engine will return you results for actual watches. Currently, you’ll see results that don’t even include the ⌚ emoji, implying that services like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Duck Duck Go are treating the emoji as the keyword ‘watch’

Customers are already being treated to emoji search within websites like Kayak, Instagram, Twitter and Cheap Flights. It won’t be long before the trend grows and your domain name reflects how well you do in search. If you sell cameras, you may want to show up for theΒ ?Β emoji!


Another obvious but extremely powerful benefit emoji domains have is that they transcend language. The words Ψ§Ω„Ψ© Ψͺءوير, Kamera, η›Έζ©Ÿ, ΠšΠ°ΠΌΠ΅Ρ€Π° and camera are all summed up by this one domain, πŸ“·.ws!

There are potentially massive cost savings to be made if businesses can talk to people across multiple languages at the same time using emoji domains.

What one thing means to the Chinese consumer can now mean the exact same thing to the Russian, Japanese, Icelandic and American consumer. A business can have one place online to truly speak to the citizens of the world at the same time.

So, will you and your team leverage the power of emoji domains?