I don’t see much potential for emoji domains in .ws.
Over the weekend I wrote about ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) giving a 👎 to the use of emoticons in domain names.
This inevitably led to some questions about what I think about emoji domain names.
From an investment standpoint, I think you’re probably wasting your money on them. I know that the handful of people who have already invested in these domain names will disagree. And I’m certainly willing to listen to the other side. But I think there’s a short list of emoji domains that could have value, and only in limited circumstances.
Here’s why I think emoji domains have limited upside:
Right now, I believe you can only register emoji domain names in .ws. .Ws sucks. I say this as someone who was thrilled to get some one-word domains in .ws a decade ago and have even stubbornly held onto one (support.ws).
You can’t expect emoji domains to have much value as long as they are limited to an obscure country code.
Domain investors often say a problem with new TLDs in marketing is that people have to figure out and remember what’s right of the dot. With emoji.ws domains, people are grappling with something unusual on both sides of the dot.
This is a huge issue. Much like some IDNs don’t play well with all software systems, neither do emoji domains.
It’s exacerbated by additional issues that the SSAC outlines in its report.
Why would you want a domain name that renders differently on different devices and doesn’t work on all devices? The benefits of having a graphical domain name have got to be huge to outweigh this.
More importantly, would you register a domain name that can’t be easily typed unless someone is on a mobile device? I understand mobile-first, but mobile only?
Call me an old guy who doesn’t get it. But I’ve got to think the percentage of the population that understands the nuance of various emoji is limited in age and number.
The whole point of domain names is to make it easier to remember a web address compared to a random string of numbers. Other than a select handful of emoji, are they really easier to remember?
If you believe in some power from descriptive domain names and domain name text in search, then you realize emoji domains lack this.
So for now, I think emoji domains have very limited value. Sure, Coca-Cola used them a while back in a campaign in Puerto Rico. I can see some other cute marketing gimmicks and benefits from having a colorful, graphical URL. But if you’re investing money in currently unregistered emoji domains in .ws, I think you’re flushing it down the drain.