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Libya, Gaddafi And The .ly Domain Extension

Published April 9, 2011

The continuing unrest in Libya has led to concerns being raised in regard to the stability of .ly domain names.

Libya's .ly domain extension has been a popular choice outside the troubled country for parties wanting to register a domain name with the "ly" suffix. One of the best known examples is the URL shortening service, 

According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, the .ly extension is controlled Libya's General Post and Telecommunications Co. The chairman of the organisation is Mohammed el-Gaddafi, the eldest son of Col. Moammar Gaddafi. 

Libya Telecom and Technology (LT&T), the country's only Internet Service Provider with international connectivity, is also run by the Gaddafi family. As conditions in Libya deteriorate and the Internet connection to and from the nation continues to be suspended, some sources have reported the situation could worsen and lead to domains with the .ly extension ceasing to work altogether.  

Libya's largest domain registrar, Libyan Spider has sought to quell these fears. The company says the .ly top-level domain works operates five .ly root servers. Two are located in Libya, two are in the United States, and one is in Europe - all five must be offline in order for domains to cease functioning.

The registrar points out that "shutting down .ly zone would not only affect international domain owners, but also the Libyan domain owners including the Libyan government."

With many countries now opening up registration of their extensions internationally, the Libyan situation does provide a reminder that doing business in other countries can pose some potential hazards - and for Australian businesses, the safest bet is to register names for core online activities.

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