Welcome back! I’m at it again bringing you another domains interview.

If you’ve enjoyed previous domains interviews thus far, then you’ll certainly enjoy today’s interview with the owner of the fire emoji (🔥), Preben Aune.

Preben, a 28 year-old designer and interactive art director based in Oslo, Norway, and I have exchanged a number of emails over the last few weeks.

Having started in graphic design, Preben rounded out his web and product development experience working for a varying startups.

In the last year or so, Preben occupies his time discovering, delivering, and honing innovation and design projects for Railway customers seeking to disrupt and discover new opportunities for business growth.

In between designer and interactive art director responsibilities, Preben is also an emoji domain owner. Without further ado, enjoy today’s interview with Preben Aune! 😉

KC: Before we get to emoji domains, I noticed you use Preben.co to represent your web presence. What’s the story behind choosing a .co versus a .com?

PA: There’s not much of a story other than the .com was not available at time of registration. I didn’t care to spend much money or time trying to haggle over it. I just needed a domain quick and thought .co was the next best extension and option for what I wanted to do.

KC: Moving right along then, when and how did you learn about emoji domain names?

PA:  The first time I encountered emoji domains was on Panic’s blog. I don’t recall the details exactly, but the article likely surfaced through Hacker News. I thought of it when I saw a mention of .ws domains later in what might have been another blog post or comment from someone. It’s been pretty weird seeing something that felt like a small, funny hack suddenly popularized like it is now.

KC: How did you learn about 🔥.ws being available for purchase?

PA: When I realised it was possible to do what Panic had done but with .ws, I checked if the most obvious and widely used ones were available, but many were taken already. Some emojis with less history but with more pop-cultural weight were available though. So I registered those I found interesting without thinking much more about it. I learned yesterday that two of them are in the top 20th most used on twitter now.

KC: How long have you owned 🔥.ws emoji domain, and have you received offers to buy it?

PA:  I registered most of my emoji domains around this time in 2014. As time passed, I really didn’t pay much attention to it other than paying the renewal fees. Things were happening though, and the Coca Cola billboard campaign was pretty surreal. Later I noticed a big spike in interest started forming in 2017. It was odd following the conversations on twitter and seeing the popularity take off. As of late, I’ve received and declined many offers for my emoji domains from mostly domain investors.

KC: Do you have plans to develop or lease 🔥.ws?

PA: In the short term, I have been leasing it to Phoenix Rising FC in collaboration with the good people at Flye. I like how they are eager to explore and experiment in this space.

KC: What’s the coolest thing about owning 🔥.ws?

PA: Early humans figured out fire was pretty cool at least some 600,000 years ago and I can’t really argue with that.

KC: You mentioned owning other emoji domains, do you mind sharing which ones are owned and what your plans are for each?

PA:  Some others I have are ⚓.ws, 🇳🇴.ws, 💀.ws, 💔.ws, 💯.ws, 📸.ws, 🔪.ws and 😍.ws. I’m keeping them parked as I have plans for some of them. Following up on that is another thing though.

KC: Have you used or are you using emoji domains in offline/online advertising? If so, what were the overall results?

PA:  I haven’t, but Flye are experimenting with it and gave me a very positive rapport. Unfortunately, because of the nature of my partnership with Flye, I can’t share that.

KC: Are you tracking your emoji domain usage using Google Analytics?

PA: I use Google Analytics, but I honestly don’t check it much. Flye shares their insights though, such as what/when and where traffic is originating from based on current campaigns.

KC: Would you recommend emoji domains to personal and business brands to represent their primary website? If so or if not, then why?

PA:  I believe emoji domains can work as an effective mnemonic device with a visual cue, not very different from how phonewords (“1-800-Flowers”) work. Something like that isn’t very different from how a browser would forward to a primary, classic domain rather than displaying punycode (as it would be displayed in many browsers today).

KC: Do you view emoji domain names greatly impacting how a personal brand or business markets and advertises to reach more people?

PA:  It’s hard to say, because it depends a lot on the brand, tone of voice and their target audience. I’d say it’s a given it works best in a less formal context. It quickly becomes a bit too try-hard and forced quirky when content creators use lingo they don’t really own, be it emojis or slang. That being said, I love how language is in constant flux and I like how emoji constantly gets appropriated and takes on new meanings.

Closing Thoughts

Thanks to Preben for sharing his story and enduring the interview process over the last week or so.

Little did I realize when interviewing Preben about 🔥.ws that eight (8) additional single .WS emoji domains would be uncovered.

Preben certainly possess valuable emoji domains, and we wish him continued success leasing and owning emoji domains.

I’m encouraged and I hope you are too! What a gem to have discovered an emoji domain owner successfully partnering (via Flye.co) and leasing emoji domains to a recognizable brand, Phoenix Rising FC.

And last but not least, I discovered a few Phoenix Rising FC tweets sporting 🔥.ws links (see images below).

Enjoy and that’s all for now. Thanks for reading and sharing!

Written by Alvin Brown
He's an experienced and passionate serial entrepreneur, founder and publisher of Kickstart Commerce. Alvin possesses a great love for startups dominating their market using profitable digital strategies for greater commerce.