Emperor Muammar fiddles with his URLs while Libya burns

Posted on by Mike Evans

It seems that URL shortening services ending in .ly are in danger as Emperor Muammar fiddles with his domains while Libya burns. No respecter of a good bit of social intercourse, the good Colonel seems to be shutting down .ly domains. Twitter’s default URL shortening services is and John Borthwick,’s CEO wades in with the facts in a Quora answer:

Should Libya block Internet traffic, as Egypt did, it will not affect or any .ly domain.

For .ly domains to be unresolvable the five .ly root servers that are authoritative *all* have to be offline, or responding with empty responses.   Of the five root nameservers for the .ly TLD: two are based in Oregon, one is in the Netherlands and two are in Libya.

And will continue to do everything we can to ensure we offer our users the best service we possibly can.   That includes offering options around which top level domain you use.    Many users choose to use as an alternative to, given that it is shorter. And some use

Any link can be re-written as a link by simply replacing the domain.  Other customers use our white label options — where you can “bring your own domain” (see: today “powers” thousands such white label domains.   Our job is to provide the best service we can via our sites and our API and we will continue to do that. For now we can only hope for a peaceful resolution to the events in the middle east.

The question in my mind is just why it became fashionable for URL shortening services to have Libyan domains. We couldn’t make this up if we tried.

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