#HootSuite Offers Choice of URL Shorteners ~ From Libya to Liechtenstein

Tools for Twitter

New Shortener Address

At HootSuite, we often find our dashboard playing a role in the midst of world affairs; from the Egyptian revolution to earthquakes in Japan, the use of social media has proven to be a key communication tool in times of crisis.

Civil unrest continues in North Africa, and as we follow the developments, we also hear concerns that using the common Top Level Domain suffix reserved for Libya (.Ly) tacitly supports the current governing regime. We acknowledge these concerns and can assure you that your data is safe and not contributing to nefarious activities.

Meet Owl.Li

To best meet your needs and mitigate your concerns about perception, HootSuite announces 2 new options for URL shortening: Owl.li and Htl.li. The new domains (hailing from Liechtenstein) work the same way as Ow.ly and Ht.ly including tracking clicks for statistical analysis, plus, like Ht.ly, Htl.li offers the social bar to encourage your audience to share your content.

HootSuite URL Shortener Examples

You can begin using Owl.li or Htl.li immediately – here are 3 ways to set it up in the dashboard:

  1. Choose on-the-fly via the pull down menu under the compose window (see above)
  2. Set as your default choice by choosing Settings, then Preferences, then selecting in URL Prefs tab
  3. Customize your feeds with chosen domain when adding an RSS/Atom URL

.Ly Traffic Report

We’ve mapped out the relationship between the Libyan domain name servers and the rest of the Internet in an infographic to help clear up any confusion about how data travels from servers to your screen.

HootSuite Owly Libya infographicNotes:

* The .Ly domain suffix is ultimately controlled by ICANN who can revoke access from the Libyan government and assume a caretaker role if needed

* Our root name servers are hosted in North America, and the only way your data would pass through a Libyan server is if you lived in Libya

* HootSuite pays a very small fee (less than $50/yr) for the registration which means there is no significant material contribution to the government

Little About Liechtenstein

This small, wealthy and land-locked country doesn’t make the news much. Revered for mountainous beauty, this tax haven has more registered companies than people and is a political mix of “a parliamentary democracy mixed with that of constitutional monarchy.” (Wikipedia)

Any Liechtensteinian HootSuite fans in this small (and apparently rentable) country? We’ve got a #Hootkit to mail to your Liechtenstein postal address.

Short and Custom

Aside from the aforementioned choices, HootSuite offers custom/vanity URL shortening services. Using a unique domain is a great way to increase brand awareness while still utilizing powerful analytics.

Pro users can choose to purchase this option in Settings > Preferences > URL and following the instructions. Enterprise customers should contact their Account Executive or complete the form at: hootsuite.com/enterprise.

Seeking more knowledge about short URLs? Visit these HootSuite resources:

More info about Owly and Htly: http://blog.hootsuite.com/htly-owly/

Tips for choosing a short domain: http://blog.hootsuite.com/short-url-owly/

Info sheet about URLs: http://blog.hootsuite.com/library/working-with-urls-info-sheet/

Further Reading

Curious for more? Consider reviewing these articles for more about Libyan domain names:

Credit: Thanks to Dustin Borek (@dborek) at Invoke Media (@invoke) for designing the infographic.

Author: Dave Olson

Dave Olson has written 107 posts for the HootSource blog..

VP Community at HootSuite finding Owls everywhere and bringing them into our social programs. Also enjoy hotsprings, personal expression, art n crafts and literature.

22 comments
Thomas Kohler
Thomas Kohler

What's the current situation about .ly domains?

Andy Au
Andy Au

Hi Thomas,

I'm not sure what you're asking here. Could you please expand?

Jeff Pape
Jeff Pape

Can you use your custom URL shortener with a ipad2 app? I can't see the place to change it. I have to use a browser to access my URL shortener...or is there a different app to download? Or a different spot to set that up on the app?

Mike Abasov
Mike Abasov

Hello Jeff,

This option is currently unavailable, but will be added soon.

JC
JC

Is there a way to turn off the url shortener? I'm trying to post youtube links to facebook but when the links are shortened they don't auto embed on facebook.

Andy Au
Andy Au

Hi JC,

Thanks for dropping by. Head to our Help Desk for assistance with that. Our support team will be able to provide the best insight for any technical questions you might have.

John from Best Umbrella Strollers
John from Best Umbrella Strollers

Liechtenstein would be an obvious choice as Liechtenstein is the only country to be completely located within the Alps. The total area of Liechtenstein is 120 square kilometres.

The DNS servers would be a lot safer than in Lybia :-)

Heather
Heather

ICANN does not control .LY. Each country has sovereign control of its own TLD. While they *can* redelegate a ccTLD, it is usually only under the direction of a government official or with the guidance of the Government Advisory Committee (GAC). The only notable equivalent to this situation is .IQ and that was only redelegated after the US claimed victory in a full on war and after a very extensive process within the ICANN community and after an RFP for a new technical vendor.

ICANN only has direct contractual control over gTLDs (e.g.: com, net, org etc.). What ICANN does do that is relevant to this issue, is run IANA which publishes the master zone file of nameservers for ccTLDs like .LY. .LY can at any time direct IANA to change the address of those nameservers. In addition, to take out bit.ly, ow.ly or any other .LY domain, all the .LY administrator has to do is to remove it from the .LY zone file. Moreover, if they wanted to they could revoke your ownership of the domain under their registration agreement (say for instance if they determined you were sharing anti-governmental content) but keep the domain registered and simply change the nameservers, so that all of your existing links pointed to a site of their choosing. There are clearly ethical problems with that but it is technically in their power to do.

Dave Olson
Dave Olson

Thanks for the excellent clarifications Heather! It's a fascinating situation when politics and technology collide like this. Could we send you a HootKit of Owl treats to say "thanks"?

Quadri Kazeem
Quadri Kazeem

I expected a report on Osama Bin Laden's death.I mean a thorough analysis wether the US is justified to enter Pakistan and carry out the operation leading to his death.As for Gadaffi,he is sure going to go the way of Mubarak

Robert
Robert

I can't set it as default. There is nothing to select in Settings, then Preferences, then selecting in URL Prefs tab. It has a description of the url's but no option to select it.

Dave Olson
Dave Olson

In that amount of time, you could probably bicycle the entire length of the country!

Todd McClincey
Todd McClincey

How did I just lose 20 minutes of my time reading about the history of Lichtenstein?

Dave Olson
Dave Olson

@Todd In that amount of time, you could probably bicycle the entire length of the country!

markus maurer
markus maurer

invading a country is hard, when you don't have an army! :-) lichtenstein is very close to switzerland. no controlled borders, same currency, a contract with switzerland for military things and .li is .ch the ending for swiss domains is adminitred by the same company which is www.nic.ch . but lichtenstein has their own post stamps!

Dave Olson
Dave Olson

@markus - remarkable to see the economic similarities between postal stamps and domain suffixes - in both cases, small European countries and Micronesian islands have again found a revenue source simply by existing.

Dave Olson
Dave Olson

We'd better look into domains from Luxembourg just in case ;-)

Pieter Vlamings
Pieter Vlamings

@darylAndrews: that's a 22 hour flight so there would be enough time to switch to a new short URL. More than enough time....

Daryl Andrews
Daryl Andrews

But what if Liechtenstien decides to invade Australia? I'm not sure I'm willing to support such a thing.

Peter
Peter

Don't worry, the got no army.

Steven
Steven

I never thought of this issue before your article but can understand people's concerns. I will go with the Europeans!