This turned out to be a bit of an expensive joke but I recently bought the domain ?.ml, It’s a freaking emoji domain name ? how cool it that? I wasn’t even aware it was possible but with a bit of research I manage to get it working.
How it works
You can’t just head over to Godaddy (other domain providers available) and buy ????.com. The problem is URL’s have a limited character set (A-Z, 0-9) but say you wanted to register pilé.com you could use a punycode to generate the é.
? = xn--9ca
So you register the domain including the punycode for the é and browsers convert the character for you.
The same can be done with emojis, most extensions like .com and many of the new domain extension don’t allow for these punycodes but there are a few which do like .ws & .tk.
It’s a bit of a slog trying to find places that you can trust to buy these extension so I thought I was onto a winner when I found out Godaddy do sell .tk and didn’t seem to mind the weird http://xn--ki8h.tk domain name. That was until I bought it and I couldn’t do anything with it. I just wanted to forward it to neilorangepeel.com and send out a few tweets but there was no option to do this and I had to call their tech team who seem to struggle to understand why I couldn’t forward it. Turns out you can’t actually forward a .tk domain which effectively leaves my emoji domain useless. So I popped over to Freenom.com and picked up ?.ml which worked with 5mins.
Coca-cola used emoji domains in a promotion a few years ago.
What to do now?
I’m not really sure. They are certainly fun but there are still a bunch of compatibility issues, many platforms like Facebook just don’t recognise them as URL’s so you can’t click on them. Hopefully this will change and we’ll see a bunch of ???.com spring up.
Here’s a useful site to convert emojis into punycodes