Saturday, October 09, 2010

Libyan domain registrar responds to claims over revocation

The domain name registry started a ruckus earlier this week, when it revoked the domain shared by Violet Blue and Ben Metcalfe. On Friday, decided to chime in and give its side of the story.

To be honest, the actual reason for the revoking of the domain name is what we expected: it violated local law. advertised itself as a sex-friendly URL shortener, and that just doesn't go over well under Libyan law. Here's an excerpt from's statement:
In reference to the incident: the domain’s purpose (proclaimed by its registrants themselves) was to serve as a ‘sex friendly URL shortener’, mainly for adult uses. This means that had a policy different than the other URL shorteners, not using filters and encouraging the use of this service for creating links to adult sites and other “NSFW” links, thus placing by definition in the porn/adult site category.

This use was deemed as unacceptable by our local internet community, regardless of whether or not the site hosts adult material or redirects traffic to 3rd party sites
Since the country TLDs are under the control of the locality's registrar, one might expect that a "racy" site like might run afoul of Libyan law. This is despite the fact that according to Violet Blue, they read and re-read the registrar's rules.

That may be true, but hey, it's Libya. What did you expect?

There's also's explanation of their decision to limit domain names with less than four characters to those with a Libyan presence.
As to the decision to keep the registration of domain names shorter than 4 symbols long under .ly only for entities with a local Libyan presence, this comes in accordance with’s concern that the rise in popularity of URL shorteners from abroad taking up all these names has deprived locals of their right to register the important 3 letter abbreviations of their various businesses and interests. We as a Registry would prefer seeing used for a website about Libyan art for instance, or used by the Libyan De-mining Association, rather than adding more URL shorteners under our National TLD.
The question is: will Libya limit this to new registrations, or when registrations come up for renewal, will they simply take them back then? Or worse, will they simply revoke them?  Considering one of the most popular URL shorteners is, that might cause quite a few broken links.

It's worrisome and more than a few are concerned. Even Mitt Romney decided to opt out of .ly; he's switching to (Trinidad and Tobago).

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