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Libya Pulling the Plug On .ly Websites Not In Line with Islamic/Sharia Law

One of the TLDs commonly used for shortening purposes is .ly; the big URL shortening service using it, is Bit.ly, and other websites using include Ow.ly, Ad.ly, and Smel.ly. The Libyan government who own .ly TLD isn’t too fond of these services popping up in their namespace, and is actively trying to take down sites misusing the .ly TLD.

According to Ben Metcalfe, owner of vb.ly, the Libyan government took down his site because its content was in violation of Libyan Islamic/Sharia law. Metcalfe did some investigation into the matter and came up with following conclusions:

  • .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 don’t correspond to regulations defined in 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’s unclear and obscure in terms of being able to know what’s allowed and what isn’t.
  • NIC.ly have suddenly decided that less than 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.


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