Muammar Qaddafi More or Less Owns Your Links

Cool Web kids are fighting the plague of long Internet addresses "URL shrinkers" — quirky names like TinyURL and Is.gd. One of them, Bit.ly, just raised $2 million. Great news for Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi!

Sassy programmer Rogers Cadenhead points out the giant, Libya-shaped hole in Bit.ly's business plan: Libya controls all Internet domain names ending in ".ly". Right now, Bit.ly is only paying $75 a year to keep the address, but in theory, the Libyan government could reassign bit.ly to anyone it chooses.

Moreover, .ly domains are required to comply with Islamic sharia law. What Bit.ly does is take an existing web address and shorten it to a unique, random URL on bit.ly. It wouldn't be a stretch to imagine imams protesting Bit.ly linking to porn or gambling sites. And then where's Bit.ly's $2 million? Shortened indeed.