URL Shorteners in Peril as Libyan Government Seizes .ly Domain

Ugh! Dictatorships! Always spoiling our fun! That cutesy URL shortening service you might use (bit.ly, perhaps) is riding on Libya's .ly domain suffix. And Libya ain't pleased—one shortener, vb.ly, was recently shut down for violating Libya's oppressive laws.

Ben Metcalfe, (former) owner of pro-porn URL shortening site vb.ly, found that his domain was abruptly deleted by the Libyan government. Metcalfe was told his domain was yanked because "Pornography and adult material aren't allowed under Libyan Law." This doesn't quite square with the facts, as vb.ly (like any shortener) doesn't host content of any kind. This puts popular sites like bit.ly in similar jeopardy, as they violate this reactionary porn clause just as much as vb.ly.

So be careful, character-counting Tweeters—Muammar el-Qaddafi is not pleased with your miniature, illegal porn links. Luckily, there plenty of third world domain suffixes for enterprising startups to hop on for trendy and nonsensical names—might we suggest Djibouti's .dj, or Tanzania's chic .tz? Bi.tz isn't taken! Hurry! [TechCrunch]