Emoticons in domain names

    Did you know that in some domain zones you can use emoticons as a domain name?

    In Japan, there is a graphic language of ideograms and emoticons emoji, which is adapted for use on web pages, when communicating on social networks and via smartphones. Some emoji characters were added to Unicode, and in Japan even emoji keyboards are available.


    We learned about domain names with emoticons thanks to a Coca-Cola promotion in Puerto Rico. Coca-Cola has registered several emoji domains in the .WS zone, which means "We smile."

    Technically, domain names with emoticons are implemented in the same way as IDNs, i.e. names in Cyrillic, Arabic and other types of writing, other than Latin. The Unicode symbol corresponds to a specific combination of Punycode characters, valid for use in domain names. For example, one of the Coca-Cola domains with an emoticon in Punycode looks like this:
    xn--h28h.ws.

    In public areas (.com, .net, etc.), ICANN has banned the use of emojis for security reasons, as they can be used for phishing purposes due to their external similarities. Although in reality it is unlikely that the attackers would have taken such a difficult path. Much more often, simple and “time-tested” substitutions, such as I (i) and l (L), are used.
    In national areas, ICANN cannot set its own rules, so the .WS zone administrator can offer emoticon domains as well.

    But, according to ICANN representatives, such domains are not supported by modern versions of the IDN protocol through which support for non-Latin domains is implemented. Therefore, domains with emoticons may not work correctly. ICANN also noted that emoji characters cannot be registered as top-level domains under the New gTLD program.

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