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Violet Blue URL Shortener

(extra points if you get the reference)

Now, here’s an interesting little piece of news that likely many people missed.

URL shorteners are two-a-penny these days, everyone has one. Trying to differentiate your URL shortener from anyone else’s is what makes the difference.

Blogger Violet Blue thought she had it down with the site. There was nothing special or fancy about the single page with a picture of Violet herself drinking a bottle of wine and the line “The Internet’s only sex-positive URL Shortener” written on it.

However, the Libyan Government took offense to the site, seized the URL and shut it down.

Why Libya? you ask? well, the .ly Top Level Domain suffix is dedicated to Libya. They have control of it essentially.

The Libyan Government’s reasoning behind the domain seizure is that “…content of our website was offensive, obscene and illegal according to Libyan Islamic Sharia Law.”

Yes, offensive, obscene and illegal can all be relative, especially where the Internet is concerned but this raises a number of very interesting points.

  • No matter where the site is hosted (where the actual data… where the actual image is) does the URL registrar or the country that the TLD is run by have overall control of it? The name itself isn’t offensive is it?
  • If Libya can do this to Violet’s site what is stopping them doing it to others? is one of the World’s largest URL shortener services. There would be a whole lot that would go wrong if were to suddenly disappear.
  • What about the shortened URLS? Who classifies how illegal they are? Many shorteners generate a string of characters as a shortened URL – what id the shortened URL was offensive?

What do you think? Rant and rave in the comments here.

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Author: Andy Quayle

Andy was born in the Isle of Man and currently lives in Pittsburgh.
Known globally as a willing source for tech news and views, Andy takes great pride in consultation and education.

Should his schedule permit, Andy is available to help you with your SEO and Web Analytics needs.