According to Free Range Content, the company behind the service, they had plans to rebrand the service but “accelerated” those efforts after the Libyan domain registrar, NIC.ly, which controls the .ly suffix, revoked the domain vb.ly from sex columnist Violet Blue and her partner Ben Metcalfe, who was using it as a “sex positive” URL shortener where users could post adult links, though didn’t have to.
According to those involved, the reason cited for the seizure was that the domain violated Libyan law, namely by showing a photo of Blue sitting with bare arms holding a beer bottle on the site’s front page. Other reports said that the “adult friendly nature of the site was the issue. As a representative from Nic.ly said to Blue:
“Now, had your domain merely been a URL shortener for general uses similar to bit.ly (as you claim) there would have been no problem with it. It is when you promote your site being solely for adult uses, or even state that you are ‘adult friendly’ to promote it that we as a Libyan Registry have an issue.”
However, at least some find it suspicious that the seizure comes mere months after Libya announced that it was closing off registration of .ly domains with fewer than four characters to anyone other than those with a presence in Libya. This is made more suspicious by the fact that vb.ly had been in operation for some 13 months, including one registration renewal, before it was shut down.
Metcalfe, in his blog post, said “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 bit.ly, 3.ly, owl.ly and any other similar url shortener.”
Clearly Free Range content agreed.
What remains to be seen is if other short .ly domains will follow suit and jump ship as well. In the meantime, all existing clp.ly clips and links will work and are simply being redirected to the new domain. However, the company does encourage users to recreate any clips they have on their site using the new domain. This is to ensure that, should anything happen to the clp.ly domain, their sites are unaffected.