Emoji Domain Case Study: Weapon Depot and 🔫.ws

As part of our ongoing adventures through the world of Emoji Domains, today we’re talking to Robert Sirianni, Jr, owner of Weapon Depot.

We covered ☮.com — we’ve gotta give equal time to the other side 😄

“Around 70% of our current traffic from 🔫.ws is coming from social media,” he says, helping Weapon Depot stand out from the crowd of other gun sellers.

So, what’s your story? How did you come to run WeaponDepot?

We started Weapon Depot with a very simple belief that “all we sell is freedom.” Now we are trying to further that very basic belief by freeing up the pistol emoji so everyone can use it. We want the emoji to be accessible by everyone that is part of the world of Weapon Depot.

How did you first come across Emoji Domains?

We launched Weapon Depot in Las Vegas at SHOT Show 2017- the worlds largest shooting sports and firearms show. We were introduced to the concept of emoji domains by a few connections we made at Shot Show. As a tech company we instantly fell in love with the use of the emoji as a communication tool and knew this was something we wanted to incorporate with our brand at Weapon Depot.

Does it matter that 🔫 is displayed as a squirt gun on iOS and some other platforms?

Apple made the change to the pistol emoji in 2016 with their iOS 10 update, meanwhile all other platforms like Android as well as other devices and browsers maintained the emoji as a pistol. Believe it or not the fact that Apple displays a green squirt gun benefited Weapon Depot in many different ways. For example, we ran a social media campaign giving away free green squirt guns to celebrate the use of the new emoji for Weapon Depot. What matters most is the underlying code (or punycode) that represents “The Pistol Emoji”. No matter how it’s displayed to the end user, we will always own the pistol Emoji.

How has 🔫.ws changed your online presence?

After the purchase of 🔫.ws traffic to WeaponDepot.com increased by 300%. This increase can be attributed to our activity on social media marketing the pistol Emoji. You can follow our squirt gun on both Facebook (https://facebook.com/squirtgunemoji) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/gunemojidomain). We also have a YouTube video with over 50,000 viewsall thanks to this Emoji.

The pistol emoji is making Weapon Depot socially engaging for users. It is advancing our social commerce experience and driving consistent traffic to our site.

If I remember reading correctly, you bought 🔫.ws on the aftermarket… is that true? Why?

Yes that is correct. By the time we started looking, it was already taken on your website I❤️.ws (like most other single character domains) so we did some research on Twitter to find the previous owner. We contacted him and made a deal. As a new technology company centered around firearms we found it to be an important part of our branding.

Do you have the ability to tell how many people are accessing your site directly through the Emoji Domain?

Yes we do collect analytics on the gun emoji. We have the ability to track conversion based on traffic from the emoji domain use. Around 70% of our current traffic from 🔫.ws is coming from social media.

Any plans for further Emoji Domains beyond 🔫.ws?

The current use of the pistol Emoji is just the beginning. One of our mantras at Weapon Depot is that sharing makes things better. We also have a belief in freedom and a free market; this is why we have such creative plans for the pistol emoji. At the moment, we have an emoji shortcode URL tool on all WeaponDepot.com marketplaces pages such as Product Pages, Storefronts, and Brand Profiles. Consumers can share a product to twitter or other social media sites by copying the short code emoji URL for the page.

We are in the process of evolving the emoji to be used in a similar way that a business or consumer would use a Bitly link. The only difference is that the short code tool will use the pistol Emoji at its root or core. Users will be able to access a full set of analytics to track the use of the emoji. We plan to open source an API so all users including sellers, vendors, customers, and brands, can use the pistol Emoji to market their favorite products and brands on WeaponDepot.com, and at the same time track analytics and traffic generated by the use of the Emoji.

What advice would you have for other businesses considering Emoji Domains?

Move fast before all the good ones are gone. They are a great marketing and branding tool to differentiate yourself. Also have a clear plan on how you want to use your Emoji domain. You can keep them for yourself or open it up for the people to use. It’s all about creating the right ecosystem.

Anything else you want to add?

People like you innovate. Its up to people like us to continue pressing forward and evolving. Emoji domains are more than a fun communication tool, they are a way to drive innovation and progress forward in a positive direction, transcending the limitations of linear language.

Thanks to Robert for taking the time to chat with us. You can learn more about Emoji Domains at i❤️.ws