Is Bit.ly Toast if Libya Shuts Down the Internet?
Friday, February 18th, 2011
It’s a very good question. One of the most popular URL shortening services, bit.ly, uses Libya’s .ly domain name.
We can rewind a bit and note that this isn’t the first time this question has been asked, and look at what happened in Egypt for the answer.
First things first, it doesn’t take social unrest to question the fate of a country code domain name. Back in 2009 Rogers Cadenhead asked a pointed question about .ly given Libya’s reputation in the world.
Then a .ly link shortener was shut down because it linked to adult content.
But if Libya “shuts down” the internet rather than taking aim at a particular service (and it could take aim at bit.ly given its use to spread news about Libya on Twitter), what happens to anything on the .ly domain name?
We can look to what happened in Egypt for a very recent and relevant answer.
When Egypt stymied the internet the primary servers the ccTLD operators used were inaccessible as they were in Egypt. This meant they couldn’t resolve addresses.
In the case of the ASCII .eg domain name there were secondary servers that had cached the primary, meaning .eg domains were still accessible.
But the IDN version of Egypt’s country code hadn’t been cached at secondary locations, and it wasn’t accessible.
I suspect .ly has been cached on secondary servers, but I don’t know for sure.
True, there are dangers to all TLDs. But some (.com) are safer than others.
Users need to be aware of the risks they’re taking.