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Will They Come for Mitt.ly? (Updated)

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, October 6 2010

Ben Metcalfe warns that folks should think twice about making use of ".ly" domain names, after, it seems, the Libyan domain registry that manages that top-level domain, or TLD, refused to re-new Violet Blue's adult-themed vb.ly link shortener.

That the Libyan government plays a central role in managing the ".ly" domain space was one of the arguments you heard in favor of the U.S. government taking the step of creating the its own go.usa.gov link shortener. (It's a quirk of the Internet's origin story that it's the U.S. government that controls the ".gov" TLD worldover.)

It raises a half-serious question. What of Mitt.ly, Mitt Romney's custom link shortener? Metcalfe thinks that the Libyan decision might have much to do with economics, with the country belatedly realizing the value of its TLD, in addition to uncomfortability within Libya with the content being served up by vb.ly; Blue posted a letter from the Libyan domain registrar arguing that "our Country’s Law and Morality do not allow any kind of pornography or its promotion." One way that the Libyan government could make a big splash is by revoking the TLD of an American presidential candidate, and an Mormon one at that.

Update: Ben Smith follows up on the fate of Mitt.ly, and finds Romney taking matters into his own hands:

[H]is spokesman, Eric Fehrnstrom, said they've already begun moving the shortener to more congenial parts.

"We're learning about this for the first time and taking steps to change the domain for our site," he said.

The destination, I'm told: Mitt.tt, formally the province of Trinidad and Tobago.

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