🔥.me.ss! You can't register emoji domains in South Sudan

It's useful to share negative results. Not every experiment has an amazing or successful outcome.

tl;dr you can't register Punycode .ss domains.

This also means Internet users in South Sudan can't register domains using their own writing system.


The Republic of South Sudan became independent and joined the United Nations back in 2011. A decade later, and it's now possible to register .ss domains.

Partly due to the history of the letters SS, and partly because of the way domains are usually organised, you cannot register a .ss domain directly. You can have .com.ss, .edu.ss, .biz.ss, .sch.ss, .gov.ss, .net.ss, and - my new favourite - .me.ss!

This allows for some interesting domain hacks. Perhaps host a recipe page for Eton Mess? Or complain about trash at your_town.me.ss?

I was looking at hot.me.ss - but someone already snapped that up. However, the registrar said they allowed Punycode registration. Which means... EMOJI DOMAINS!

So, for €24, Afriregister.com.ss sold me...


For the Punycode minded among you, that's xn--4v8h.me.ss

The process

This wasn't quite as simple as I hoped. There are several registries which claim to support .me.ss - but halfway through the process, they'd decide that they couldn't register it. Some of the registrars outside of Africa wanted extortionate prices for domains. But Afriregister.com.ss were relatively cheap and hassle-free. They let you pay via PayPal.

Domains have to be approved. There is a long list of banned terms. Some of those restrictions are very specific to the people of South Sudan - so it is worth reading.

The failure

The registration still hadn't completed after 12 hours. So the next day I chatted to the registrar.

Dear Terence, We have contacted the registry and they said they don't allow 2 successive dashes.


Looking more closely at nic.ss's registration policies, they say

4.1 All .SS Domain Names MUST have a minimum of THREE (3) characters.
4.2 All .SS Domain Names should not have more than 63 characters.
4.3 All .SS Domain Names should have a syntax pattern of [a-z 0-9].

It didn't explicitly allow or deny hyphens - so I thought I'd risk it.

Oh well, that would have been fun if it worked.

As I said, it's important to publish about things which don't work. It stops other people from wasting their time on futile pursuits.

So, I've now got credit with the registrar. What .me.ss domain should I get?

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