Lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Web -

THE dot com do­main was 25 years old last year, with its first quar­ter-cen­tury cel­e­brated on­line by Sym­bol­ics ( who reg­is­tered the first dot com in March 1985), a 25Year­sof. com web­site and pres­ences on Face­book and Twit­ter.

The . com do­main was orig­i­nally run by the US Depart­ment of De­fence, then by Net­work So­lu­tions and Ver­sign in turn.

Dur­ing the dot com boom, it was fash­ion­able to in­clude the . com in com­pany names, with suc­cess­ful en­ter­prises like Sun Mi­crosys­tems even us­ing the tagline We’re the Dot in Dot Com. How times have changed. Or have they? Like. fm, Bit. ly and Tiny. url are con­tin­u­ing the trend of adopt­ing do­main lo­ca­tion sur­names still. But fash­ions fade fast on­line. With mem­o­rable names suf­fixed by . com now hard to ac­quire, many com­pa­nies are choos­ing to reg­is­ter their do­mains over­seas.

But be warned, West­ern com­pa­nies that buy do­main names of other coun­tries are vul­ner­a­ble to the laws of those do­main reg­is­tra­tions.

Web­sites with the trendy suf­fix ly, owned by Libya, are now won­der­ing if they have in­vested wisely by build­ing their busi­ness around the do­main suf­fix.

The abrupt en­forced shut­down of link short­en­ing site vb. ly by the Libyan Gov­ern­ment is a les­son to all.

The site was de­clared against Sharia Law af­ter post­ing a pic­ture of Vi­o­let Blue, co-owner with Ben Met­calfe, with bare arms, drink­ing from a bot­tle of beer.

The gov­ern­ment-owned Libya Tele­com and Tech­nol­ogy ser­vice ob­jected, ex­plain­ing that ‘‘ pornog­ra­phy and adult ma­te­rial aren’t al­lowed un­der Libyan law, there­fore we re­moved the do­main’’.

When buy­ing a . ly do­main, the own­ers were warned that they must com­ply with the coun­try’s laws. Sites con­tain­ing ob­scene, scan­dalous, in­de­cent or con­trary to Libyan law or Is­lamic moral­ity words, phrases or ab­bre­vi­a­tions are not al­lowed.

Nei­ther are sites link­ing to gam­bling, sex­ual ac­tiv­ity or crit­i­cisms of the gov­ern­ment; all of these can be banned or have their ser­vice sus­pended.

Libyan do­main reg­is­tra­tion is not the only sen­si­tive ter­ri­tory, ei­ther. Com­pa­nies are in­cor­po­rat­ing do­main suf­fixes into their brand, with Bit. ly, Ow. ly, Ad. ly and Good. ly rais­ing mil­lions of dol­lars in in­vest­ment.

Busi­ness in­ter­ests aside, the rise of global do­main host­ing shows how our ideas of na­tional bound­aries are chang­ing, par­tic­u­larly on the World Wide Web. When do­main names were new, na­tion­ally rel­e­vant suf­fixes such as . com. au and co. uk of­fered a sense of lo­cal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

But the in­ter­net has be­come more in­ter­na­tional with time and now na­tional iden­ti­fi­ca­tions are be­ing bought and sold, with­out any rel­e­vance to the coun­tries rep­re­sented by . it ( Italy), ly ( Libya) and fm ( Mi­crone­sia).

Per­haps more than ever, do­main names are all about . me ( Mon­tene­gro, for those play­ing at home).

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