Before we begin, we would like to reiterate that Punycode.com has no affiliation with Register.to, Tonic.to, or anybody associated with the ".to" extension. We neither profit nor gain anything of monetary value from .to registrations. Our sole purpose today as always is to give you the best advice we would give our own best friends so you, too, can avoid making costly mistakes.
As you know, Punycode.com offers premium single-character emoji domains in .com, .net, and .to. They are suitable for major corporations or businesses looking to enhance their branding. However, if you want to register new, unregistered emoji domains, you cannot currently register them in .com or .net. You can only register them in the following country code top-level domain (ccTLD) extensions: .ai, .cf, .ga, .gq, .ml, .tk, .to, and .ws.
Three items to note regarding these extensions.
First, the extension .ai has just recently been opened for emoji domain registration. You can do so at whois.ai (but wait until you read the next item). Thus, in addition to the extension .to that had been widely promoted in mid-August 2017, .ai has since joined the list.
Below is one such .ai emoji domain, ☯.ai (xn--w4h.ai), and it is simply a parked website owned by a domain name re-seller:
As of September 22, 2017, other .ai emoji domains that have been registered so far are ✈.ai and ⌚.ai. Interestingly, Punycode.com has their .com version: ☯.com, ✈.com, and ⌚.com. Some emojis are universally appealing.
Second, don't get too excited about new extensions being made available. Although ".ai" might stand for "artificial intelligence" for numerous text domains, with the limited set of emojis, almost all of them are completely unrelated to artificial intelligence. In other words, .ai is essentially a meaningless extension -- as meaningless as .cf, .tk, or .ws.
There are a few exceptions that apply to the country's locality such as [maple leaf emoji].ca and the rare connection such as [peach emoji].ga or [robot emoji].ai.
Luckily, what is also an exception is the entire ".to" extension proper, because it connotes a "go to" meaning. Emoji domains are often used for email or social media marketing and re-directs, and thus the intuitive .to domain would supremely serve its purpose. In practice, major corporations like Amazon, Dell, and McDonald's have employed .to for years.
When entrepreneur Marc Köhlbrugge helped to open up the .to extension to the public in mid-August 2017, most of the single-character emoji domain registrants were much like himself: entrepreneurs, creators, and artists. Hence, registered .to emoji domains will likely be developed and grow in stature in the future. Other extensions don't have this unique mix of people, but consist mostly of passive domain investors and parkers, as illustrated by ☯.ai.
Even if all 255 ccTLDs were to open up for emoji domain registrations, would you try to register emojis in all of those ccTLDs? If so, you would waste a lot of time and money. Instead, have a sound, focused strategy on how and what you should register and make the most of your limited time and money.
And third, if indeed the trend continues that more extensions will be made available, how valuable will .cf emoji domains be? How valuable will .tk emoji domains be? How valuable will .ws emoji domains be?
In general, the valuation of ccTLD emoji domains, with the exception of .to, will decrease for domainers. If .com registration comes out, it is game over. As an investor, why would you take on such risks? If you are going to invest in emoji domains, invest in .com, .net, or at the very least .to.
Of course if you're a talented end user or developer of an emoji domain, the value will hold regardless of the extension. Most of its worth is derived from your hard work and the value you add to the domain. But if you are going to invest your time, money, and energies on an emoji domain, wouldn't you want them poured into the best extension possible?
Therefore, until non-ccTLDs are opened for emoji domain registration, especially in .com, .net, and .org, we highly recommend that you stick with only the ".to" extension if you want to register new emoji domains.
Over time and in the future, you will see (if you can't already) that these intuitive ".to" emoji domains hold their value quite nicely -- in your eyes and the eyes of others -- regardless of whether you are a developer or domainer.