The Lileks Zone


If you’ve had your link shortened – and we all know how painful that can be, as David Letterman once said – you probably used, one of the services that takes links the length of a freight train and turns them into something Twitter can handle. If you’ve wondered where .ly comes from, the answer is Libya. Gaddafi-land owns the top-level domain through which millions of links pass through. Now they’re getting persnickety about just the sort of Western Filth (TM) they’ll allow. A website owner whose .ly domain was used to pass along links one might describe as “NSFW” or “sex-positive” or “Ooh-la-la giggity giggity,” had his domain taken over by the Libyan government. He explains:

I would like to warn current and future owners of .ly domains of a concerning incident regarding the deletion of one of our prime domains ‘’ by (the domain registry and controlling body for the  Libyan domain space ‘.ly’).

In short: The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue. We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.

The site’s “obscene” image was cited as a reason for the deletion; I’ve seen it, and it has no nudity. Has a woman with bare arms drinking a beer. You could even see her CHIN. One of the site’s proprietors quoted the letter from the Libyan authorities responsible for yankage:

“The issue of offensive imagery is quite subjective, as what I may deem as offensive you might not, but I think you’ll agree that a picture of a scandidly clad lady with some bottle in her hand isn’t exactly what most would consider decent or family friendly at the least.”

First: “Scandidly” is a perfect new word for something scandalous, scanty, and candid. Second: you’d think someone who set up an url-shortening site for NSFW links would think twice about using a Libyan service. Third: you’d think anyone would think three times about using a Libyan domain, wouldn’t you? Granted, .ly is short and has a zingy, adverby vibe, but have we forgotten the lessons of “Back to the Future?” Who shot Doc Brown? LIBYANS! Well, that was then, and now Libya is playing nice, I guess. It’s been years since they sent a van full of guys with RPGs tearing around mall parking lots at night seeking revenge.

Doesn’t mean they should be trusted. If anyone wanted to do some rudimentary intelligence, setting up a giant whale-mouth to strain the krill is an excellent idea. Something useful might be hiding in one of those links. Would you trust a link-shortener that uses .ru?

So use with care and foreknowledge, then. One other thing. The fellow says:

For these reasons I believe the .ly domains should be considered unsafe. Anyone running a business or relying on a website with a one, two or three letter .ly domain should be incredibly cautious. This obviously includes anyone who uses,, and any other similar url shortener.

I cannot see how the deletion of our .ly domain couldn’t happen to the owners of these domains too. In fact is hosting many, many links that depict the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), extreme pornographic subject matter, etc.

At first I thought the PBUH was sarcastic, but the rest of the article is so earnest and careful it seemed he was erring on the side of not-getting-a-death-threat, previously known as “caution.” Someone in the comments noted it, and he responded:

Someone above made a crappy remark about me including PBUH after referring the prophet Muhammad (PBUH)… I always do that because I’m educated about the Qur’an, Islam and very respectful of people of faith.

I want it to be clear this is not against Islam or the Libyan people.

Even though Islam is the doctrine which, in this case, determined the scandidly-clad Western Hussy to violate the terms of service? It’s a glimpse into a particular mindset that can’t bring themselves to criticize Islam even though its practitioners can’t abide Western-style open-minded discussion about sex. One wonders if the reaction would be the same if a Christian-owned hosting service booted the site. You can’t quite imagine the fellow saying he understands that his work may offend those who believe in Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He would look at you funny if you suggested he should. PBUH is one thing, but let’s not get ridiculous.

Login to Listen

This content is available to Hughniverse members only.

Become a member today to gain full access to everything Hughniverse has to offer.

Join Hughniverse Today!

Commercial Free Audio

Commercial Free Audio

Access to a commercial free archive of The Hugh Hewitt Radio Show Podcast.

Listen On-Demand

Listen On-Demand

Listen to the show anytime you want.
24 hours a day / 7 days a week. Whenever and Wherever.

Podcast Archive Calendar

October 2010