Barack Obama on Twitter: Using Libya ccTLD for URL Shortener

Barack Obama on Twitter

I am not someone who is interested in politics or discussing politics. In fact, I strongly dislike political conversations with polarizing topics – it’s just not my thing. That being said, I came across President Obama’s Twitter page this afternoon and saw something that I think is pretty ironic.

Just about all of the URLs that are linked to from the President’s page use Bitly to shorten the URL. Although Bitly owns, it primarily uses Bit.LY for its shortened URLs, and .LY is the ccTLD for the country of Libya. For instance,,, and were all recently used on President Obama’s Twitter page.

As you are may be aware, the country of Libya, along with Cuba and Syria was described by John Bolton as “Beyond the Axis of Evil.”   The government of Libya isn’t exactly on the friendliest of terms with the US government, so it’s somewhat humorous in an ironic way that the President’s Twitter staff would choose to use Bitly to shorten URLs.

From what I understand, it’s fairly simple to create a URL shortener on any domain name. There are plenty of short .US domain names that would make the perfect URL shortener for our President. Just some food for thought.

Elliot Silver
Elliot Silver
About The Author: Elliot Silver is an Internet entrepreneur and publisher of Elliot is also the founder and President of Top Notch Domains, LLC, a company that has closed eight figures in deals. Please read the Terms of Use page for additional information about the publisher, website comment policy, disclosures, and conflicts of interest. Reach out to Elliot: Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. is also the main Twitter URL shortener now. They used to use tinyurl, but allows some analytics plus shorter urls. As with many of the social networking / newer sites, many people are interested in having a custom domain name than whatever the TLD is.

  2. Eliot,

    FYI John Bolton is warmongering George W. Bush man. He is described by critics as the worst UN ambassador. Remember the phrase “weapons of mass desctruction?” Bolton was one of the instrumental person behind the war in Iraq.

    Thank goodness that Bolton is now The FORMER ambassador, working for the right-wing American Enterprise Institute, and commentator for right wing propaganda Fox News TV.

  3. Furthermore,

    One of the reason why Obama won is because of his international support.

    President Obama shook the hand of Libya’s Qaddafi. Obama tries to reach out to controversial world leaders in an attempt to improve the United States’ standing around the world that he says was damaged by former President Bush’s unilateral diplomacy.

    It was Bush in 2007 who removed Libya from its list of terrorist countries, restoring US full diplomatic relations, when Libya announced it was ending its weapons of mass destruction program.

  4. It might have carried some weight if Bolton was part of the Obama administration. Anyway, hopefully the right wing conspiracy theorists will run with it and the story will go viral 😀

  5. Politics aside, Elliot has a point, and I will take it one beyond about short URLs in general.

    Just as you don’t truly own a GMail address or a subdomain for a service like WordPress or Posterous, you don’t own a short URL either. In some cases, they are in place as “throwaway” URLs to keep under the 140 characters of a Twitter message, but at the end of the day they are still a valuable URL nonetheless.

    I built my own URL shortener application and use it quite frequently for myself as well as for clients. For example, the link – – goes to one of my blog posts witha picture of me and Donald Trump from over 20 years ago. I am also able to change this URL to point to, say, another blog post if I choose. I can also have complete control if I want to add a toolbar, header, etc.

    Regarding the .ly TLD, this is something most everyone I talk to is unaware of, though when I mention it to them they do pause to think about it.


  6. is first and foremost a web tracking racket. It’s whole purpose is to act like one big 3rd party cookie to get around users who disable 3rd party cookies.

    In other words,’s whole reason for being is to violate your privacy.

    I take top-level domains literally. I often use them to restrict web searches to reduce the number of false hits. When I first saw the first thing I thought was, “Oh no, that’s Libya. I’m not clicking on that.”

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