According to Ben Metcalfe, the Libyan government is cracking down on their .ly domain space. On September 23rd, NIC.ly (the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space .ly) deleted the ‘vb.ly’ domain with no notice or warning. This domain was co-owned by Ben and his partner @violetblue. You’ve probably seen the .ly domain used most prominently by Bit.ly, but it’s also used by a plethora of other services like Hootsuite (ht.ly and ow.ly) and Ad.ly.
What is more disturbing about the domain being shut down is the reason why. After escalating the situation, we eventually find that the domain was shut down for content violations. This is usually something reserved for hosting companies to enforce and it looks like Libya might be overstepping their bounds a bit.
The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue. We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.
What is most disturbing about this is that vb.ly was a URL shortener. This means that it never actually hosted any content on its own. This is the case for most URL shorteners. Even those which put the content in a frame don’t actually host the content themselves, so there seems to be some confusion here. As Ben points out, it doesn’t seem that the his domain being deleted was covered in the official NIC.ly regulations, even though this is the document he was referred to.
Other important points to note if you were thinking of starting a startup using a .ly domain:
- The Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law is being used to consider the validity of domains, but this is open to interpretation and makes it unclear to figure out what’s allowed and what’s not.
- Because the content is basically being censored, this “makes .ly domains untenable to be used for user-generated content or url shorteners.”
- NIC.ly have suddenly decided that <4 letter .ly domains should only be available to local Libyans.
This may turn out to be an isolated incident, but it’s not very likely. All signs seem to point to the fact that Libya failed to capitalize on the popularity of their 2-letter TLD and is now trying to recover the domains and possibly some revenue.
more at TechyumCategory: News, Uncategorized | Tags: .ly, Ad.ly, bit.ly, censorship, domains, hootsuite, ht.ly, libya, ow.ly