Our response to NIC.ly’s statement on the vb.ly domain deletion

NIC.ly, the domain registry for the .ly domain, have made a statement regarding their deletion of our domain vb.ly (prior coverage here, here, here (slightly NSFW), and across the internet)

Contrary to their assertion in their statement, we did NOT receive any communication from NIC.ly before they pulled the vb.ly domain.

We had received other emails from them previously including our domain renewal notice just a month and a half before so I know they had a working email address for us and that we were receiving their correspondence.

They’ve made out in their statement that we ignored their email – given how upset myself and Violet Blue have been over this I would urge people to consider whether these are the actions of two people who would intentionally ignore such a significant warning. Why would we do that?

It is disappointing that NIC.ly didn’t use the opportunity of their statement to discuss the issue of a domain registry regulating, and essentially censoring, the content of a website. They attempted to redirect the conversation by over-embellishing the nature of the site to suit their argument rather than dealing with the wider issue for everyone which is why is a domain registry proscribing editorially what is and isn’t allowed content-wise on a website that use its domains. I would urge the wider Internet public to consider the incredibly serious issues that raises.

I am also disappointed that NIC.ly didn’t respond to our concerns about how this essentially makes the use of .ly domains for user-generated content untenable.

I do, however, feel relieved that they will not be letting anyone else register the domain – we were concerned from a security perspective of someone else registering the domain and re-routing existing vb.ly links out there to insecure or spoofed websites. We hadn’t highlighted this concern previously because we didn’t want to give away such a vector for abuse but now they have said the domain is ‘locked’ I’m happy to mention it.

UPDATE: Post publication, I have a further thought with regards to NIC.ly’s statement on their recent change to their policy on short domain registrations. From their statement:

NIC.ly’s concern that the rise in popularity of URL shorteners from abroad taking up all these names has deprived locals of their right to register the important 3 letter abbreviations of their various businesses and interests. We as a Registry would prefer seeing art.ly used for a website about Libyan art for instance

I wonder what the current owners of the domain art.ly think about this statement? I find it shocking that having been happy to have previously sold art.ly the current owners, the domain registry is now saying that they don’t really want them to own it and would rather they had it back and could sell it to a local company.

I had previously questioned whether NIC.ly’s was under pressure to recover ‘valuable’ domains that have already been registered to foreign owners. This would appear to confirm I was correct. I therefore feel this further puts into question the commercial viability for anyone using a .ly domain that could be considered ‘premium’ as there is now an additional concern of NIC.ly aspiring to have the domain back.

10 thoughts on “Our response to NIC.ly’s statement on the vb.ly domain deletion

  1. I thought you painted a portrait of them being Islamic extremists. Looks more to me like a violation of TOS now.
    Its your word against theirs whether they informed you before taking action or not, but if I don’t think they’d go out and make such a bold statement if they didn’t have the evidence to back their claim.
    The Libyans showed that they were only applying the TOS that you supposedly agreed to, and were acting in the better interests of their community. I didn’t see any mention of Islamic Sharia there.
    The boy who cried wolf anyone…?

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  3. I am incredulous. And not for the same reasons you’re incredulous. Do you watch, listen to or read any international news? Perhaps you’ve heard of the Muslims. You know, Afghanistan, Iraq, oh, and Libya. Perhaps you’ve heard of Sharia/Islamic law. Perhaps you’ve heard about how it’s not very sex (or women) positive.

    If all of this is news to you, then I don’t blame you for being shocked and stunned.

    But if you’ve caught even a whiff of any of the above information since you crawled out of the womb, you should not be one bit surprised, no matter how ridiculous their laws (and their interpretation) appear or whether or not they’ve written them in a language you understand. If you understand that by doing business in another country (which is what buying a dot-ly domain is) you are subject to *their* laws (that’s only common sense, whether or not they were explicitly included by reference in the registry’s terms of service) and not the laws where you live, you should not be one bit surprised. Upset? Sure, but not surprised.

    I could say other more uncharitable things about the wisdom of your choice to set up a sex-positive website/service using the ccTLD of a Muslim country, but you’ve sufficiently embarrassed yourself by making the issue so public without starting off with, “Oops, did we ever screw up!” The same goes for anyone else using a dot-ly domain, or the ccTLD of any country. (I even avoid the ccTLD [dot-ca] of my own country because of the extra rules entailed and the fact that they can change.) In fact, it wasn’t so long ago that it would have been illegal (due to UN-mandated sanctions) for you to buy a dot-ly domain.

    And for those of you who think that this couldn’t happen in the USA to your dot-com or dot-us domain, have a look at “U.S. Uses Domain Names As New Way to Regulate the Net” at http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/5334/135/ , or the BBC story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8537771.stm about Microsoft shutting down 277 domains via a court order because of their “content”, so to speak.

    For the record, I totally support (including financially) and am involved in sex-positive culture (and I certainly am not a supporter of Libya or Sharia law), so I’m totally in favour of your sex-positive work. I’m also against domain registries censoring website content … although I do think they should be involved in the fight against spam, pulling domains that are only registered for the purpose of spamming. But whatever the motivation of the dot-ly registry (legal, moral or financial), you screwed up on your due diligence and cannot possibly paint yourself as the victim here.

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