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Libya Shuts Down .ly Link Shortener

A .ly link shortening service is seized.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: building a web business on a country code domain name carries big risks. Not all country codes, but some. Consider country code domains for countries that like to censor the web.

Here’s a prime example: a link shortening service for adult sites has been shut down by Libya. Yep, the same Libya ccTLD that bit.ly runs on.

The .ly domain in particular has lots or risk. Could Libya shut down bit.ly if it wanted? Perhaps because someone uses the service to distribute porn links? The answer is yes. Libya can basically do whatever it wants with the .ly country code.

Unfortunately most people who register country code domain names for making “cute” domains don’t know that they’re registering a country code. And they don’t know the risks that come along with this.

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  1. Ricky Potts says

    I use bit.ly daily. I use it to not only shorten links for sites like Facebook and Twitter, but I also use it for websites to cut down on ugly code. It is just easier to read and the stat tracking is impervious. I am sad to see that there were some sites shut down; I hope bit.ly is not next. I use it too often for that to leave! I love the concept and it works perfectly. Great read, thanks for sharing.

  2. Joe says

    I don’t really think businesses like bit.ly risk anything as long as they don’t break the (strict) rules of .ly TLD. Each ccTLD has its own rules: most registries seem to have major issues with adult stuff/pornography and gambling.

  3. A. Mitchell says

    The most dangerous country-code extension? India. Extortion and the selective criminalization of speech, combined with a fondness for jailing foreigners — makes India a risky bet.

    Oh, and a judiciary prone to treating criticism of ‘taking’ decisions as contempt of court, a jailable offense. We just saw a 60-year-old property case settled in favor of the violent group that knocked the building down.

  4. Rob Sequin says

    You mean a country like Colombia known for producing cocaine, murders and war could shut down their .co domain?

    Colombia shares borders Venezuela (Hugo Chavez) and Brazil (Lula), both lovers of Fidel Castro.

    What could possibly go wrong with .co?

  5. ::: BreakingNewsBlog.co.uk ::: says

    “Could Libya shut down bit.ly if it wanted?”
    if they shut down too many .ly sites they risk to kill the .ly selling and use
    however, after have often used bit.ly and ow.ly in the past, now I use the (shorter) URL shortner x.co

  6. Chris Nielsen says

    If more people knew how EASY it is to have your own short URL site, sites like bit.ly would not be so popular.

    With just a few lines of code you can not only make a short URL, but also track how it is being used as well. If you are code-challanged, you can buy a cheap script and host it on an existing domain, or one you can buy for $10 a year. Add free or cheap hosting and you have something no one can spy one or take away from you.

  7. Jothan says

    This is a cautionary tale more for the operators of URL shorteners and subdomainers than for the users of ccTLDs, IMHO.

    Mileage varies significantly in ccTLD-land, and some objects appear lager when magnified.

    Candidly, this specific case is more closely aligned to the Morality and Public Order (“MaPO”) discussions – in that it shows where local government can potentially impact a registry with local law or community standards.

  8. Senator says

    That is why I don’t like foriegn ccTLD .
    even .CO !
    The ccTLD not a big business for many countries like Lybia and change it is rules not that difficult .

  9. Sam Marcus says

    You should never deal with countries ran by left wing dictators or crooks, like CHINA, CUBA,VENEZUELA, NIGERIA, LIBYA and few others

  10. Dave Zan says

    Unfortunately most people who register country code domain names for making “cute” domains don’t know that they’re registering a country code.

    Or…some folks think registering a ccTLD is like a .com. It is in some respects, but not completely when it comes to so-called issues like this.

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