Not so long ago, I suddenly came up with a stunning idea to register a domain netflix.soy… You might argue that there are more practical ways to spend seventeen pounds, but in the process I learned a lot of new information about domain names, including the fact that there are domains of this kind: .ws.
My goal was to get a domain with a name from one emoji character like or … I had no idea what I would do with it, I just wanted to know if it was possible in principle. I found a site that listed all the available emoji name domains for four different extensions. Unfortunately, almost all of them were registered – I was late.
However, the simple letterbox emoji was still free – that’s what I bought.
.ws became mine. The mission was accomplished. I built a website and got a sense of satisfaction looking at my box. I could have stopped at this, but then a new thought came to my mind: is it possible to use a domain in the form of a small mailbox in postal addresses? It would be nice.
I decided to give it a try and set up forwarding so that all emails arriving at the domain .ws were redirected to my regular mailbox. Then, burning with impatience, I hammered ben @.ws in the To field and clicked Send.
Hi Ben, how are you?
This letter never made it to my inbox. Lost forever somewhere in cyberspace. As it turned out, emoji addresses are often used to send spam, so they are blocked up and down. But, what is interesting: I could send letters to such boxes without any problems. And I thought: since simple .com addresses are not blocked as spam, maybe it is worth routing my emoji mail through them?
It should have worked like this:
- I am sending an email to ben @.ws
- ben @.ws redirects it to firstname.lastname@example.org
- email@example.com redirects received to my regular mailbox, and nothing is blocked
I bungled something like this with AWS and repeated my experiment. To: ben @.ws, Letter: “Hi Ben, how are you?”, send.
At this stage, I was already inclined to round off and write a post about emoji domains. Played and that’s enough. But then I suddenly thought: my mail with emoji, of course, is awesome, but you know what would be even better? ben @… How can I get one?
There are only thirteen top-level domains in the world that allow registering names consisting of emoji: .cf, .ga, .gq, .la, .ml, .tk, .st, .fm, .to, .je, .gg , .kz, and .ws. On the site that I used to buy .ws, only four of them were submitted: .fm, .ws, .to and .ml. These domains are considered the gold standard for emoji name registrars. However, everything is already sorted out on them. You can, of course, choose a combination of emoji, for example, .ws, but I was only interested in single-character ones.
And then I thought: what if there is still something left on the other top-level domains?
I already had the code that launched the WHOIS protocol to get data on free names from top-level domains from a given list. Earlier I used this code to buy facebook. 网站, however, later Marky Z took him away from me anyway. Here is the impudent one.
I ran the code, introduced a set of the most top emojis ( and so on) and a list of thirteen domains that work with them.
>node search.js [ENTER]
The results began to appear immediately! .la, .ga, .gq, .je. On the alternative extensions, there were still a bunch of emojis in the public domain. I was immediately struck by the .gg extension – it means the island of Guernsey. The abbreviation “GG” also means “Good Game” – the very words that I often say when playing online games. Just perfect. Per .gg asked for twenty nine euros. I clicked on Buy.
The next day I received a letter from Guernsey.
Good afternoon Benjamin!
Unfortunately, the domain name you wanted to register needs to be converted using Punycode 2011 and later and is not yet supported by the registry in charge of .GG domains. Work is underway, but information on when the update will be implemented is not yet available.
Can we issue you a refund today?
In other words, register, but in fact, domains with emoji names are not found here. Played well, Guernsey. We return to the planning stage.
With the rest of the extensions, I hit a dead end over and over again. Some of them wouldn’t even let me run a search with emoji names. Nothing came of it. There was one extension that flashed through the results every now and then, .kz is Kazakhstan. But when I went to the website registrar, everything turned out to be in Russian.
I don’t know Russian. Operating with Google translator, I tried to navigate the site and buy a domain in the emoji.kz style. The process was long and painful. But after calling the bank to confirm that I am in all seriousness trying to buy a domain for tenge, .kz has landed on my account. I stuck it in my mail system and the address is ben @.kz is working. Great.
One circumstance excited me. Almost all single emoji names were free on the .kz top-level domain, and they cost only eight dollars apiece. And I wondered: what if people could choose any emoji for their boxes? My imagination drew me addresses like bob @, alice @, melvin @… But all that is needed to create such a service is to register all the emoji names. This, of course, is madness, but the madness is quite uplifting.
I decided I would take it. Here I am sitting content with my mailbox in the address, maybe others will also light up. I took out my bank card and started buying all the Kazakh emoji domains, one by one. It was a little painful to see how the account balance creeps down as the number of domains increases. When you already have eighty domains, and you shell out money for emoji with a goat, you inevitably start to doubt your decisions.
After 1200 dollars, I became the owner of 150 domains with emoji names.
Now all that remained was to create a website where we could register mailbox addresses with a redirection system similar to the one I implemented for ben @.ws. Using vanilla HTML, JS and CSS, and the Stripe API for payment processing, I put together an MVP in a matter of weeks. When it was over, I bought the last domain name – mailoji.com… My service for registering email addresses with emoji was ready. Fly-buy emoji addresses!
It all started with a simple curiosity about domain names with emoji, and ended up with 150 selected Kazakh samples. The next step was to convince other people to buy them from me.
TikTok seemed like the best place to start given its demographics. So I recorded a short promotional video and opened the TikTok for Business app to host it. On the last page, I was asked for the VAT identification number. Mailoji wasn’t a full-fledged company yet, so there was no way I could advertise. Well, okay. I will publish the video just like that. If anyone is interested, this video…
For five hours the post hung with zero views, until the magic of TikTok algorithms came into play. Little by little, the number of views began to grow – first 500, then 5000, and then 50,000. It was just breathtaking to watch this. Some were delighted with the addresses with emoji, and some were indignant. It’s like the Marmite spread – everyone wants to speak out about it. But all this did not matter, the main thing was that the addresses were being bought up! The most popular were @, @ and @…
In two days, the video on TikTok collected over 200,000 views, and I sold 60 addresses with emoji, which brought me about $ 300 in revenue per year. I decided that these are excellent indicators. And guess what’s next?
I decided to buy another hundred domains. I had tears dripping on my keyboard when I paid for a llama emoji that I’ll hardly ever need. I ended up with 250 emojis. If there was a person in the world who tried to barricade the emoji address market, it was me.
I reasoned like this: the more people will start addresses with emoji, the more people will see them and also want them. A wonderful cycle. My next step was to publish on Product Hunt to get the public for Mailoji and start the cycle. I prepared this post with careful thought on every word and every picture. I even did this hyped videowhere a Japanese actor pronounces the word Mailoji. Everything was ready for launch.
At 00:03 PST, Mailoji appeared on Product Hunt. We’ve come a long way from mailbox emoji.
It was eight in the morning in Great Britain. I sat asleep with a cup of tea in my hand and watched Mailoji fight for his future. I decided to post on Wednesday and the competition was fierce, but Mailoji performed well. By the end of the day, he was in fifth place. Here are all the statistics at the end of the first day:
- 6 700 visits to the site
- 150+ emoji addresses sold
- $ 830 in financial return per year
- 320 pluses
- 5th in the Product Hunt rating
- Most Popular Mailoji: @
I sold over 150 addresses in a day and received valuable feedback from users Product Hunt… Done: Mailoji has officially launched.
I would love to end the story by saying that Mailoji blew up the market and the queen herself registered an emoji address for herself (just in case, I’ll keep Liz @.kz). But at the moment the service brings me $ 1,440 in profit per year. And now you can choose from 300 emojis.
I have not reimbursed the costs of purchasing domains yet, but nevertheless, it was a lot of fun to create a service for registering mail from addresses with emoji. Straight adventure, endless maze. At first, it was just a trip to the world of domains with emoji names – a bizarre opportunity on the web that few people remember. Now I am filled with warm feelings for them. Yes, it is difficult to print them, yes, there are too many variations and yes, they are mostly incompatible with data validation in forms. But they are funny. I think IT lacks fun.
Thanks for reading! If someone wants to contact me, I got a brand new mailing address: tinyprojects @.kz