See Andy's other stuff:

LinkedIn
RSS Feed

Follow Andy

Contact Me >>

Would you bet your business on the whims of Muammar al-Gaddafi and the Libyan government? Bit.ly did.

The vb.ly domain was seized and shut down by the Libyan government.

Folks, stop to think before you buy some cute domain name with a .ly extension. That’s the domain registrar run by the Libyan government, and they have control over all .ly domains. (The same goes for all the country-specific domains.)

If you’ve got an online business, your domain is your business. Lose the domain, and you’re done. Even if you could somehow sue to get it back, it’ll be too late to save your company.

To be clear: The domain name registrar for any country has the right to issue and revoke any domains they want. I’m saying it is a stupid move for any entrepreneur to bet your entire business on this well-know risk.

I can’t understand why investors have given Bit.ly $13.5 million. Their only business asset is their domain, and they don’t control it.

Your domain is your brand, is your service, is your entire business. And you decide that Libya is the best place to secure it? Duh.

Email to a friend:

Privacy: We won't save or reuse these emails.

Comments

  1. Craig October 8, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    I found it funny how both these stories came out this week. They seemed to contradict each other so greatly — with everyone praising Bit.ly’s growth and utility, while vb.ly was cast a villain.

    Great recap of the events with a smart word of caution.

  2. Simon Gornick October 9, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    If this is true, it shows how totally out of whack VC can be. It’s a slave to the hype machine. Minor point, but it’s Libya, not Lybia.

  3. Andy Sernovitz October 10, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Whoa! Thanks for catching the typos, Simon. Fixed.

  4. Earl Shortner October 12, 2010 at 8:39 am #

    This same article is written every 6 months over the past two years. Google for it. Not news. Why not write how bit.ly has derisked the domain situation through j.mp and the literally thousands of white label domains on bit.ly Pro and bit.ly Enterprise (yhoo.it, myspa.ce, amzn.to, nyti.ms, pep.si, n.pr)? That’s at least shows an understanding of the current market beyond seasonal knee-jerk alarmist journalism. Plenty of countries have seized control of or refused to assign domains that go against their policies (note: read the wikipedia entry for the Cook Islands). At the end of the day, all domains are leased, not owned, so the risk you’ve described is a universal one. That vb.ly violated clear usage ToS constraints by becoming a vice laden service, shortening or otherwise, was a risk they took alone. To compare the two companies is like saying an elephant should be afraid because an ant got killed by a shoe. Ridiculous.

  5. Andy @ FirstFound October 12, 2010 at 9:52 am #

    I thought the vb.ly domain was pulled as it violated clear policy limitations?

  6. Andy Sernovitz October 12, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    “Earl” – that’s an awfully well-informed and angry comment from an anonymous poster. Do you by any chance word for bit.ly?

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. SERPD - October 11, 2010

    Would you bet your business on the whims of the Lybian government? Bit.ly did….

    This is always tempting when a new TLD becomes available and all those short domains present themselves to you. Just be sure to remember there are risks; even those that don’t seem obvious at first….

  2. Why Is So Hard To Choose Colours For Your New Modular Corner Sofa? And How To Make It Dead Simple? | Cottage Decorating - October 24, 2010

    […] Would you bet your business on the whims… […]

Get My Newsletter!

Subscribe to Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! for a weekly email full of unusually useful ideas for smart marketers. Great marketing is about brains, not bucks. The best business ideas are easy to do, inexpensive, and fun. Learn to simplify your business, earn word of mouth, and thrill your customers:

Never display this again