The start-up Letter.ly also announced that it had gone down because it had let its domain registration expire, and it could not establish contact with the registrar to renew it’s contract. “Sorry for the hassle,” they wrote in an email to their users. “it’s amazing that a physical war has affected our service in this way.”
Aerial view of one of the islands, Diego Garcia, showing military base.
“.io is a place, but you can’t go there,” Bridle writes , “unless you’re serving in the military, sailing your own yacht, or in chains. The only way the rest of us can reach it is through the Internet.”
Like Libya, the British Indian Ocean Territory is another example of how a cool-sounding abbreviation in a URL can mask a complex situation in the real world. And there are dangers to that. The more obscure countries of the world are selling their names away as branding tools. In such a system, it’s easy to lose sight of the very real geographic and political dimensions to a domain name.