Are you an emoji user? Are your smartphone messages full of 😜💃🏻👍🏽🍾?
Literally “picture characters,” emojis have been around since the late 1990s when they first appeared on Japanese mobile phones. And, in 2015, “emoji” was chosen as the word of the year. So it’s no wonder that brands are using them more and more to connect with their audiences.
And now you’re going to start seeing them used in domain names.
A recent article in Quartz pointed out that the new Apple Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro includes an emoji keyboard so you can easily insert emojis into text. GoDaddy recently released a website where you can search emoji URLs. Brands are starting to use use them more and more to connect with their audiences. Coke used 😀.ws in a South American ad campaign and a Norwegian airline used an emoji with a plane, a slot machine and a money clip to promote flights to Las Vegas.
Emojis are letters and ASCII symbols, so for example, GoDaddy’s new service mentioned above, “❤️❤️❤️.ws”displays as “xn—qeiaa.ws” in browsers. The emojis are translated into code and routed exactly the same as any other website URL.
The challenge is that most search engines aren’t designed to find them and registering them can be difficult. You can register them in only a few country-level domains, like Western Samoa and Laos. So we’ll have to wait and see what ICANN decides on this issue.