As of 2016, there were 334.6 million domain names registered across all top-level domains. And each year that number grows by at least 38 million domains.

And we’re nowhere near the number of possible letter combinations for a web address. There are plenty of unregistered domains out there to snatch up!

So, why in the world would you want to complicate life by buying an emoji domain? And where did the idea come from anyway?

Let’s take a look.

They’ve Been Around For a While

The first emoji domains actually showed up in 2001. They were ♨.com, ☮.com, and ♂.com. Right now, only ♂.com is available out of the three.

It wasn’t easy to type an emoji. We didn’t have smartphones or emoji keyboards. And web browsers were so unsophisticated, they couldn’t support emojis in the URL bar.

To enter an “emoji” domain, you relied on punycode. You encoded the domain through punycode. Browsers recognized punycode and sent you to the domain.

And yet, the browsers couldn’t render the emoji. So, what was the point? Simply be different than other domains?

It Didn’t Get Better

Support for emoji domains really never came around. Yes, you can place emojis in e-mails, texts, messenger, hangouts, and websites etc. Every smartphone has an emoji keyboard.

Yet, when you paste an emoji domain in Chrome, it reverts to punycode. And for good reason.

Not all emojis are the same across all platforms. And the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers list 8,000 characters that are prohibited for use in TLDs. Within those 8k characters are emojis.

It’s a policy designed to cut back on phishing. A way criminals test usernames, passwords, and other identifying information to break into websites.

Could ICANN create an official list of acceptable emojis for secure emoji domains? Sure. But why?

This would require enough demand to justify the massive amount of work and dissemination necessary. And right now, it’s really just a niche market for nerds.

But Maybe…

Just two years ago, GoDaddy developer, Jon Roig, created the first emoji search engine. It’s called i❤ No punycode required.

By 2017, Roig sold 25,000 emoji domains.

And yet, the ICANN won’t budge. They still see emojis as a security threat to the web. They even created a detailed report in 2017.

Just a Joke?

While some legitimate emoji domains exist, most of them aren’t serious websites. You can create comic domains using emojis. But it all boils down to the fact punycode essentially makes them a secret language.

The only reason to buy an emoji domain? You can put the poop emoji on your business card.

And if you’re like my friend from YouTube, you’d buy one just because it’s a panda emoji.

There are plenty of real domain names out there. Go buy one people will remember and build your site from there.



By Ben Mattice

Benjamin Mattice is a freelance writer/editor, horror and sci-fi writer, SEO and affiliate marketing newbie, dog wrestler, cat wrangler, capoeirista, and long distance runner. He lives in the Palouse with his wife, three dogs, two cats, and two rats. Yes, that would probably be considered a mini-zoo.