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Trouble In Clever Domain Land: Bit.ly And Others Risk Losing Theirs Swift.ly

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Bit.ly, HootSuite (with its Ow.ly service), Ad.ly and perhaps even Smel.ly could well be at risk of having their domain names sudden.ly taken away by the Libyan government.

Ben Metcalfe blogs that his domain name vb.ly was recently seized by NIC.ly (the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space) because the content of his website, at least in their opinion, was in violation of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

The story gets worse.

If you’re interested, you’d be well advised to read Metcalfe’s and Violet Blue’s blog posts in full.

Here’s the gist (from Metcalfe’s end conclusion):

- .ly domains deemed to be in violation of NIC.ly regulation are being deregistered and removed without warning – causing significant inconvenience and damage.

- .ly domains are being deregistered and removed due to reasons that do not correspond to the regulations defined in the official NIC.ly Regulations.

- NIC.ly seems to want to extend their reach beyond the domain itself and regulate the content of websites that use a .ly domain. The concept amounts to censorship and makes .ly domains untenable to be used for user-generated content or url shorteners.

- Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law is being used to consider the validity of domains, which is unclear and obscure in terms of being able to know what is allowed and what isn’t.

- NIC.ly have suddenly decided that <4 letter .ly domains should only be available to local Libyans and this appears to create motivation to recover what premium domains they can to go back into this new local-only pot of domains.

It’s of course the third and fifth points that could spell trouble for URL shorteners and other services with short brand and domain names ending in .ly (like the ones cited in the beginning of the article). I hope for their sakes that this turns out to be isolated case.

(Via Hacker News)

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