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♨️.com is one of 33 rare emoji domain names 


Only 3 single-letter .coms exist and are worth millions

  • Only, & exist:

  • In 2001 ICANN released some single-character symbol.coms domains

  • In 2010, Unicode adopted 33 of these symbols as emojis 

  • This created 33 rare single-character domains (eg ✈️.com

  • A few hundred single-character domains still exist (eg .com & .com)

  • All resolve perfectly on any Apple device 


These rare emoji and symbol .com domains have yet to be recognized & valued

Smartphones are global and indispensible
global smartphome usage
  • 86% of people globally own a smartphone

  • 96% of 18-29 year olds own one vs 92% of 30-49s

  • Smartphones continue to become more powerful and versatile

  • They outperform many of the tasks of laptops and PCs

  • Americans spend 3h30min on their computers and 3h34min on their smartphones daily

  • 99% of people use smartphones or tablets for social media

  • Smartphones dominate global internet traffic at 61% vs 37% for desktops

  • Smartphones account for 75% of global online retail sales

  • The rapid growth in smartphones has propelled emoji growth


5G will further accelerate growth in smartphone usage and functionality opening doors to exciting possibilities

Apple & Safari dominate smartphones AND support emojis
  • Apple dominates with 29.6% of smartphone users globally 

  • Samsung had 19.4% followed by Xiaomi with 12.5% (2023)

  • Apple dominates in the US with over 61% 

  • The remaining share of smartphones include Oppo, Vivo, Huawei, Sony, LG  

  • In the US a whopping 45% of online retail sales occur on an Apple smartphone and over 22% globallly

Apple has largely embraced emojis ensuring they display correctly across all its platforms and devices


Apple's browser Safari is the only internet browser that displays the emoji domain correctly

US Smartphone market share 2022 Oberlo_edited.jpg
Google & Android dominate globally BUT don't support emojis  
Google dominates search engines and Apple and Android dominate smartphone operating system
  • Android's operating system is used by the majority of smartphones with Android having an 84% global share.

  • Google has 96% of the mobile search engine market globally.

  • This monopoly market share is assisted by Apple who provides Google as the default search engine in Safari.

  • Both Android and Google are therefore critical to the future of how smartphone users interact with emojis and search for emoji domains and access emoji-based commercial websites.

  • This means that these websites are not found when a user undertakes a search of the emoji. Google only works if the user enters the full emoji domain name.

  • Over the last decade Google has vacilitated on how it treats emoji domains and its present appraoch is to ignore them. Unfortunately, of all internet browsers Safari is the only one to display the correct emoji in its address bar.

  • With Apple dominating smartphones globally coupled with the future impact of 5G and the exponential growth in emoji usage Apple's competitors will need to follow its lead in how it supports emoji and symbol domains equitably.


Google and Android are critical to how emoji websites become part of the universal internet landscape. What these two players do the rest of the world will follow!


5G will further accelerate growth in smartphone usage and functionality opening doors to exciting possibilities.

Emojis are global, transformative and growing exponentially  
Popular Emojis.jpeg
  • Presently, over 90% of online users use emojis

  • Over 5 billion emojis are sent daily on Messenger

  • In 2010 the Unicode Consortium officially adopted emojis

  • This converted 33 of the symbols released in 2001 into 33 and 33 domains: eg, ♨️.com, ♨️.net, ☮️.com and ♌.com

  • In 2011 Apple was the first to offer users an emoji keyboard

  • Studies suggest that "Emojis continue to evolve as a dynamic pictographic system for conveying emotion, meaning and context across linguistic barriers."

  • As of January 2024 there were 3,782 emojis


Emojis are the only characters recognized by a global audience with potential to host numerous commercial websites

With over 1 billion websites .com domains still rule
  • There are 5B internet users and 5B social media users globally 

  • A whopping 48% of active websites globally use a .com

  • Preference is for short and memorable .com domain names

  • Only 3 single-character .coms exist,, &

  • In 2014, sold for $6.8M and then in 2017 it was sold to Elon Musk for an undisclosed sum

  • Elon purchased Twitter in 2022 and renamed it X

  • Also in 2014, GMO Internet Group purchased for $6.8m

  • These rare single-character emoji.coms should be valuable


It is not well known that these few single-character emojis and symbol exist as .coms and .nets

Statista - how many websites are there worldwide cropped and shrunk.png
How 33 symbols registered in 2001 became emoji .com domains in 2010
  • Prior to April 2001, domain names were limited to 37 characters comprising 26 letters of the English alphabet, numbers 0 to 9, and the hyphen (-).

  • On 19 April 2001 ICANN and VeriSign expanded the allowed set of characters to include a limited range of symbols drawn from a few different Unicode character sets below:

    • Currencies: €.com (Euro) and ₪.com (Israeli Shekel)

    • Mathematical Operators: ÷.com, ∕.com and ×.com

    • Punctuation: •.com (Bullet)

    • Miscellaneous Symbols: ♨️.com, ♬.com, ♩.com, ♍.com

    • Geometric Shapes: ◯.com

    • Letterlike Symbols: ℞.com

    • Technical Symbols: ⌚.com

    • Wingdings: ✂️.com, ☎️.com and ✈️.com

  • One company registered all three ♨️.com, ♨️.net and ♨️.org

  • A few years after this ICANN disallowed further registration of emojis in these top-level domains

  • In 2005 ICANN withdrew all .orgs that contained symbolds and emojis without notice leaving owners angry and out of pocket

  • All these symbols can be found on Apple, Android and Microsoft systems (see picture for how to access them in Word)


A few of symbol.coms are active and host a website


33 of these symbol.coms became emoji.coms in 2010

Accessing Symbols in Windows.png
Only 33 emoji.coms will ever exist 
33 symbols adopted by Unicode as Emojis creating 33 emoji.coms and 33 emoji.nets.jpg.png
  • When Unicode adopted emojis in 2010 it created 66 emoji .coms & .nets from the matching symbols registered in 2001

  • These domain owners have paid annually fees from 2001 for the privelege of owning domains that are not supported by ICANN and the industry

  • Only a few emoji.coms and emoji.nets host active websites

  • A few symbol.coms also host active websites

  • These websites have never worked properly and presently are unsuitable to host a commercial website


Presently there is limited interest in these domains as the industry has ignored them and they remain under the radar

Some active emoji & symbol websites -
Best viewed with Apple Safari            Unicode URL          Unicode Name - Potential Brand 

www.♨️.com       Hot Springs - offers a blank slate

www.☁️.com       Cloud - great for cloud computing

www.✔.com       Check Mark - brand with +ve vibes

www.✈️.com       Airplane - global airline

www.※.com     Reference Mark - distinctive logo

www.₪.com       New Sheqel Sign - Israeli bank

www.♡.com      White Heart - global recognition

www.℞.com      Prescription - Online Pharmacy

www.♩.com      Quarter Note - global music brand

Some emoji.coms will become universally recognizable global brands 

iPhone showing shekel and hot springs LARGER pic.jpg
Only Apple correctly displays emojis and symbols
These symbol & emoji domains have been unfairly treated:
ICANN has a duty of care to remedy this
Key parties benefitting from the release of symbol domain names in 2001.png
  • 2001 💰 ICANN creates a goldrush allowing symbols, ♨️.com, ♨️.net ♨️.org are registered 😊

  • 2005 😕 ICANN cancels all symbol.orgs, ♨️.org 'stolen' with no explanation or recompense 😢

  • 2008 😵 IDNA advises industry against emoji domains but non-risk emojis should be excluded

  • 2009 💰 ICANN launches IDNs creating a 2nd gold rush in global language domains

  • 2010 😊 Unicode Consortium recognizes emojis which creates 33 emoji.coms & 33 emoji.nets

  • 2011 💰 ICANN releases emoji domains globally creating a 3rd gold rush

  • 2010+ 🦹‍♂️👎 IDNs are found to be used by criminals and ICANN responds to reduce the risks 👍

  • 2020+ 😭 Industry responds to protect users but this unfairly impacts the 66 emoji.coms &.nets

  • 2024 💸 Owners of these domains have paid annual fees since 2001 but they still don't work: 

    • ICANN, IDNA, IANA, SSAC have ignored adverse impact on these domains

    • Google restricts its support of websites using emoji domains

    • Only Apple's Safari of all internet browsers correctly displays emoji domains & websites


ICANN, VeriSign and registrars have a duty of care to these 66 domains and

they could exclude these domains as they pose no IDN security risks

How the industry could remedy this unfair treatment 
  1. ICANN could request SSAC to assess the risks of this small number of single-character emoji and symbol domains and clear those domains that are not considered a risk.

  2. IDNA could release a revised standard detailing how these no-risk domains be handled.

  3. ICANN could release guidance on why these single-character domains have been allowed and safe to use.

  4. ICANN could request wider stakeholders (especially Google and Android) to take steps to ensure these domains and their websites are treated equally to other domain names

  5. As the global leader in smartphones and in its support of emojis, Apple could request Google to amend its search engine to recognize these emoji domains and websites

  6. Google and the industry could set rules for emoji domains starting with the small number of single-character 2001 domains

  7. Android's global operating system could follow Apple's example and embrace emojis

  8. The lessons learned from this could then be applied to the much larger universe of emoji domains registered across the numerous registries.

Key stakeholders who can remedy the mistreatment of emoji domain names.png
Timeline of single-character .com domains 
History of Single-Character Mar 24 .coms.png
Blog: The life of 33 emoji.coms turning 23 years old on 19 April 2024

In this article we explore the life and challenges of the unique and rare single-character symbols that were registered back in 2001. This includes how 33 of these symbols became 66 rare emoji .com and .net domains. Also covered are the challenges these single-character emoji domains and the few hundred single-character symbol domains have faced over the last 20+ years post their registration in 2001.

This article examines how these domains were originally supported by ICANN, VeriSign and the major registrars in the early 2000s but in recent years have been unfairly treated as they got caught up in the industries' reaction to user safety over the use of Internationalized Domain Names by criminal elements. A recommendation is made as to what the major players could do to remedy this unfortunate situation. This unfair treatment is almost certainly an oversight, and these players have a duty of care to the owners of these limited number of domains that are under the radar to the general public but famous in certain internet domain circles.

The 2001 goldrush for symbol-based .coms, .nets and .orgs

Prior to April 2001, domain names were limited to 37 characters comprising 26 letters of the ASCII English alphabet, numbers 0 to 9, and the hyphen (-). On 19 April 2001 ICANN and Verisign expanded the set of allowable characters to include some of the other ASCII character sets which comprised a few hundred Unicode symbols and a few thousand Unicode international characters of a few major languages. This occurred well before emojis took off and well before the release in 2009 of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs). 

This sparked a gold rush as hundreds of thousands domains were registered as .coms, .nets and .orgs. The vast majority of new domains registered used a mix of English letters and international characters characters to create words in different languages (eg vé French for bicycle). The limited number of single-character symbol-based domains were registered within minutes however, given there were only a few hundred symbols available tens of thousands of domains mixing a symbol and English characters such as ☎️ were regisitered in the following weeks. ICANN, VeriSign and a few big registrars benefited financially from this goldrush.

Over the next few years, the vast majority of these domains were allowed to lapse by their owners as they never worked properly and were considered a novelty and a nuisance by the wider industry. 

ICANN then 4 years later cancels all .orgs using these symbols and characters 

Early in 2005, ICANN and VeriSign instructed the major registrars to withdraw all the .org domains that included these previously supported symbols. This unilateral decision occured without consultation or explanation leaving tens of thousands registrants feeling exploited and out of pocket.

In 2008 IDNA advised against emoji domains

In 2008 the IDNA (Internationalized Domain Names for Applications) released its standard (known as IDNA2008) where it stated that emoji domain names should not be allowed for a range of reasons. Reasons included, semantic ambiguity, technical challenges and homoglyph attacks.

ICANN launched Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in 2009 creating a second gold rush

In November 2009, ICANN, various country registries and big registrars made IDNs available as top-level domains. This allowed country code top-level domain (ccTLD) operators to offer domain names in non-Latin characters enabling people around the world to use domain names in local languages and scripts. This created a second gold rush.

Unicode Consortium recognizes emojis granting them global accessibility

In 2010 the Unicode Consorium recognized 722 single-character symbols as emojis, by adopting them into the Unicode standard. As it happened, 33 of these emojis were based on 33 of the symbols that were registered back in 2001. This created 33 single-character, emoji.coms and 33 emoji.nets.


Post this outcome ICANN ruled that no more emoji domains would be allowed as .coms or .nets. The commercial future appeared assured for these rare emoji top-level domains as brands for global businesses. Some of these rare emoji domains have maintained websites but have remained largely under the radar of the general public.

Post the recognition of emojis but against IDNA2008 ICANN releases emoji domains globally

Beginning in 2011, ICANN accredited a number of top-level domain name registries (TLDs) and some country-code domain name registries (cc-TLDs) to offer emoji domains. This sector has grown rapidly over the last few years as more registries were created and more registrars became involved. As at April 2022 there were 11 top-level domains which include .cf, .fm, .ga, .gq, .kz, .ml, .st, .tk, .to, .uz, and .ws. Additionally, there are 14 second-level domains that also allow emoji domains.

ICANN triggers a third goldrush benefiting hundreds of registrars

This has led to the third gold rush for the industry with the two most popular TLDs for emoji domains being .ws (Western Samoa) and .to. (Tonga). The vast majority of an approximate 100,000 emoji domains in existence have been registered by individuals seduced by the gold rush.


Given the limited number of actual emojis, registrants combined emojis together or combined them with letters of the alphabet. The vast majority are listed for sale on domain sale websites like and However a few have been registered by global brands. Examples are www.👓.ws owned by Warby Parker, www.🚿.ws owned by Frank Body and www.❤🍺.ws owned by Budweiser.

ICANN's support of emojis in 2011 exposed a double-standard

By creating a global gold rush in emoji domains ICANN exposed a double-standard. On one hand ICANN had recently stopped the registration of emoji domains in the .com and .net space and required that they be withdrawn if they lapsed, yet against IDNA2008, ICANN launched emoji domains globally across 25 global registries.

IDNs are found to be used by criminals and ICANN responds to reduce the risks

While the release of IDNs and emoji domains generated significant income for ICANN, domain registries and accredited registrars, and appeared positive for global internet usability, the use of IDNs in particular were found to create security problems in subsequent years.


Criminals were using IDNs to undertake homograph phishing attacks by passing off their emails and websites as coming from legitimate companies. Although not used for these attacks, emoji domains were unfairly captured by the industries heavy-handed response. The risk of homoglyph attacks mentioned in IDNA2008 didn't arise as emoji domains were never commercially adopted by businesses.

As a result of these risks ICANN sought to address these risks over the late 2010's.

ICAAN's policies and guidelines to address these risks

  • Guidelines for Implementation of IDNs: Guidelines to registries and registrars to help restrict the prevalence of homograph attacks. These guidelines aim to keep brands protected by providing rules for handling IDNs that resemble legitimate domain names.

  • Client-Side Prevention: Major web browsers to implement algorithms to identify IDN homograph attacks. When encountering such domains, browsers should present them in their true IDN/Punycode form (recognizable as starting with the four characters of xn--) instead of the underlying characters to reduce their resemblance to legitimate domain names.

  • Server-Side Measures: ICANN has worked with ccTLD (country code top-level domain) registry operators to limit the impact of these homograph attacks. While these approaches do not entirely eliminate the threat, they appeared to strike a balance between user experience and security.

ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee weighs in against emojis  

In May 2017 ICANN's Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC) published a report (pdf) warning against the use of emoji based domain names. This brief report notes that emoji domain names are not allowed under the 2008 Internationalized Domain Names in Applications (IDNA) standard and cited four additional reasons for not supporting emojis in domain names.

The four reasons were based on
, (1) ambiguity and confusion as some emojis are visually very similar, (2) some emojis can be combined creating a single new emoji , (3) confusion around emojis with different skin tone modifications and (4) inconsistent display across different operating systems and browsers.

The 33 single-character emoji domains do not breech these reasons

This report did not refer to the 66 single-character top-level emoji domains. If it did consider these domains, 64 of them would have been specifically excluded as not being of any risk based on the above reasons. The only emoji domain which was unlikely to pass is the Smiley Face emoji www.☺️.com (Punycode


The limited range of single-character symbol.coms could also have been excluded

Like these single-character emoji domains, the single-character symbol domains (although not considered in the SSAC report) would all have met the concerns of the SSAC and should also have been excluded.


Since 2017 the industry has turned against IDNs which unfortunately has included the 66 single-character emoji domains and the hundred or so single-character symbol domains registered as a .com or .net. The industry was correct to include the numerous emoji domains issued by the other registries (eg .to and .ws) to protect internet users as the majority of these would not pass SSAC's ruling.

ICANN, VeriSign and major registrars have a duty of care to these 2001 single-character domains

This owners of this small number of single-character domains have continued to pay annual fees since 2001. These owners have been at best ignored or at worst unfairly treated by ICANN, Versign and the original registrars (eg, Network Solutions, TuCows, and goDaddy). These key industry stakeholders have a legal responsibility and a duty of care to protect these domains where they have been unfairly discriminated against by their policies and actions.

It is not too late to remedy this, and the following steps are recommended:

  • ICANN requests the SSAC to assess the risks of this small number of single-character emoji and symbol domains and clear those domains that are not considered a risk.

  • IDNA could release a revised standard detailing how these no-risk domains be handled.

  • ICANN could release guidance on why these single-character domains have been allowed and safe to use.

  • ICANN could request wider stakeholders (especially Google and Android see why below) to take steps to ensure these domains and their websites are treated equally to other domains names including the other three single-character .com domain names of, and

There are other key stakeholders who could remedy this unfair treatment

In addition to ICANN, Verisign and the registrars who have benefited by the launch of symbol domains in 2001, there are a number of other important stakeholders that have responded to ICANN's recent directives which have adversely impacted this small number of unique single-character domains.

Prior to 2017 a few of these single-character emoji and symbol-based domains hosted websites. These websites worked reasonably well across most devices and operating systems. Importantly, they could be found by the major search engines and most importantly the emojis and symbols correctly displayed in the address bars of all the browsers.

However, over the last few years as the wider industry has turned against IDNs these single-character emoji and symbol websites face many challenges. They are now deprioritized by search engines, do not display correctly in the address bars of all browsers, and operate intermittently across different devices and operating systems. Although this is an understandable response to the risks associated with IDNs and the wider universe of emoji domains, the industry should recognize that these unique single-character domains should be excluded from this blanket response.

Apple and Safari lead the industry in their support of emojis, but more could be done

Apple and its Safari browser are the only notable exception to this unfair treatment of emoji and symbol domains. Apple is the largest smartphone supplier globally and has embraced the global use of emojis. Hence Apple and Safari support emojis and symbols to a much greater extent than its competitors. This support means that Apple devices and Safari's address bar correctly displays emojis and symbols (see pictures below).

As the dominant search engine, Google restricts its support of emoji domains

Although Safari supports emojis and symbols it lets its users down by using Google as its default search engine. With 96% of the search engine market on smartphones Google has a global monopoly and its role is critical to the future of emoji and symbol domains. By using Google as its search engine, Apple receives billions of dollars annually from Google and is in a position of influence.

As the global leader in smartphones and in its support of emojis Apple could request Google to amend its search engine to consider adapting to the rise of emoji domains starting with the small number of single-character emoji and symbol domains that have been cleared by ICANN, SSAC and IDNA.

The much bigger issue of including the multi-character global emojis across the 25 registries will require more consideration but should be done in conjunction with ICANN, SSAC, IDNA, the impacted registries and other key stakeholders.


Google's approach to emoji domains has vacillated significantly over the years

Google’s approach to displaying emoji domain names in search results has evolved over time:

  • Early Adoption and Abuse: In the early 2010s, basic emojis started appearing sporadically in search results, although most users didn’t notice. Brands realized they could insert emojis into meta data (such as title tags and meta descriptions) to make their domains stand out. However, this led to abuse, with web managers stuffing emojis everywhere. In response, Google clamped down, and emojis were largely removed from search results.

  • Emojis Return to Search Engine Results Pages: Around, early 2017, Google once again allowed emojis to appear in search results. However, there was a catch: emojis would only be shown when they’re deemed “relevant, useful, and fun”. Advertisers recognized that emojis resonate with younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z), leading to their increased use in online ads and search results.

  • Emoji Domains once again deprioritized: In the last few years Google has dropped showing any search results that point to any website that uses emoji in its domain name. Commercial websites using emoji are at a distinct disadvantage.

Android's global operating system could follow Apple's example and embrace emojis

Also critical to how devices and in particular smartphones display emojis, Google's operating system Android is used by 84% of the smartphone market. Users of these smartphones suffer because Android does not offer the same level of support to emojis as Apple's operating system.


Samsung as the number two in the global smartphone market also could request Google and Android to support emoji domains.

Google and the industry should set rules for emoji domains starting with the 2001 domains

To meet the global adoption and exponential growth of emojis, Google/Android could change the direction of the whole industry. Google should work with industry to agree rules that define what emoji domains are safe.


It is recommended that industry first focus on remedying the treatment of the small number of single-character emoji domains. This should be a relatively simple fix and the lessons learned could be applied to the significantly larger and more complex universe of the emoji domains registered after 2011 by the now 25 global registries. These few emoji domains have been around for over 20 years whereas the multitude of emoji domains issued under the 25 registries have only been around for a few years.

Google could then amend its search engine to treat these emoji websites in the same way it treats non-emoji websites. Importantly, it is highly likely that the other search engines will follow Google's lead ensure these domains work correctly across all search engines.

What we hope to achieve by sharing this article

The writer owns hopes to generate interest in the fascinating history of the very first and very rare emoji.coms and to raise awareness of the unfair treatment that they have unfortunately received.


The key stakeholders starting with ICANN have a duty of care to remedy any unfair treatment experienced over the last 23 years and a few recommendations have been put forward. Also, the dominant players of Apple and Google have a commercial opportunity and arguably a global responsibility to embrace emoji domains as they continue to grow exponentially and commercial businesses increasingly use emoji domains to anchor their business in the new universal language of the global internet landscape.

The writer and some of 2001 domain name owners are forming a group to act as their voice and work to seek positive change.

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