There’s been a question as to what happens to .ly domains (i.e. the ones used by Bit.ly, Ad.ly and others) if these domain names are suddenly taken away by the Libyan government. As we wrote last Fall, vb.ly was seized by NIC.ly (the domain registry and controlling body for the Libyan domain space) because the content of the website was apparently in violation of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.
Here’s the note Letter.ly sent to email newsletter authors:
hello letterly authors, last week, the agency that we used to register the letter.ly domain was taken down as a side effect of the war in libya (.ly is the libyan top level domain). our domain registration expired, and we were unable to renew it. as the expiration propagated, the site appeared to be dead and emails sent to your subscribers probably bounced.
1) sorry for the hassle. it’s amazing that a physical war has affected our service in this way.
2) we are now letterly.net. this means that you will send emails to email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org, and new subscribers should be directed to letterly.net/yoururl.
From the looks of it, other owners of .ly domain names don’t necessarily have to panic about losing them unless they forget or are unable to renew, but on the other hand this shows how dangerous it can be for a business to rely solely on .ly domains for branding purposes.
Letter.ly, which is the brainchild of Drop.io founder and now Facebook employee Sam Lessin, is a service that allows people to create and sell subscription newsletters, and publish them on the Web behind a paywall. In Letter.ly’s case, the company’s domain name expired and it was simply not able to renew it because of the unrest in the area. Also note that Libyan Spider, a hosting company in charge of .ly domains, recently suffered a server outage.