I used to think I could get rich off domain flipping. Casino.com sold for $US5.5 million ($7 million) in 2003, and PrivateJet.com sold for $US30.18 million ($38.5 million) in 2012. I've since given up on the concept, opting to spend my time purchasing domains for inside jokes rather than retirement plan gambles. While I'm pretty sure you won't get as lucky as Sex.com (a cool $US13 million [$16.6 million]) you can still score a pretty cool one thanks to ?.to, a site created by BetaList founder Marc Köhlbrugge offering an easy way to purchase emoji-based domain names, and see which ones have been snatched up.
Image credit: ?.to
?.to uses the domain name registrar Register.to and the .to (that's Tonga) top level domain to handle registration. To get at the domain, you can either use the corresponding emoji or its text representation to get to your domain.
But just because you can buy a custom emoji domain, does that mean you should? As long as you can enter emoji into whatever URL bar you're using -- and aren't spending exorbitant cash, or expecting a big return on investment -- there's no harm in making a purchase. If you're using Windows 10, look for the Touch Keyboard icon in the bottom right of your screen. Mac users can hit Command-Control-Space to bring up the emoji selection box.
You can also customise your emoji-friendly domain by adding text. Perhaps you'd like to telegraph your hatred of insects through your domain? Well you can register a certain idontlike?.to for a year at $US45 ($58).
As with the original introduction of the domain name, enterprising scalpers are grabbing all the good ones -- ☺️.to is totally available, as long as you have $US9,999 ($12,783). And I obviously can't get ?.to, and ?.to is long gone, as well. That said, you can grab some lesser-known emoji for under $US50 ($64), come up with creative combinations to make them your own, or try to sell off your new domain and rake in the ? (?.to is taken).