short-domains

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short domains are commonly used on the IndieWeb for personal URL shortening, or clever domain hacks. This page documents the short domains in use (or previously) by IndieWeb community members, analysis of each short domain's reliability/dependability, and just overall experience.

Contents

Why personal short URLs

Backlinks from syndication

A key part of owning your own content that you publish first yourself and syndicate elsewhere (POSSE) is providing backlinks (permalinks) to the originals from syndicated copies on social silos.

Some silos have post length limits (e.g. Foursquare checkin notes are limited to 200 characters). Better to provide short URLs (permashortlinks) instead so you can syndicate more of your content.

Just like your content, your short URL shouldn't be sharecropped, thus you need your own personal short URL domain rather than using bitly or some other vulnerable shortlink service.

Permashortcitations

Permashortcitations are permashortids in the form of a classical parenthetical summary citation.

Short domains enable constructing of permashortcitations of the form:

  • (example.me t1234)

This is particularly useful for providing less distracting citations. E.g. Twitter does not auto-link standalone ccTLD short-domains, thus making it possible to embed unlinked permashortcitations at the end of your notes which fit completely (including said permashortcitations) within Twitter's 140 character limit.

See also: POSSE entire note to Twitter

Original post discovery

Both permashortlinks and permashortcitations themselves enable original-post-discovery, for others to easily automatically find your original posts on your site purely from your syndicated tweet copies. Such automatic discovery in turn enables more indieweb-friendly reply-to behavior, whereby an indieweb user can write a post "in-reply-to" a tweet for example, and have their blogging system automatically post a rel-in-reply-to link to the original post instead (while still threading the POSSE'd copies together on Twitter).

Entry length limitations

Many systems either place absolute length limits on the text that can be entered into a field such a comment box, or have practical limits, that when exceeded lead to fragility, both of which provide incentive for shorter URLs, to allow more space for readable text.

Absolute length limitations:

(Previously: Twitter has a 140 character length limit, but URLs posted to Twitter are https t.co'd and thus count for exactly 23 characters for http(s) URLs no matter what the actual number of characters in the URL)

Practical length limitations:

  • 70 characters: email - some systems wrap at 70 characters, thereby forceably truncating what of a link is auto-linked in a client, thus hyperlinking to a URL other than what the author wrote.

Easier to use

Short URLs also enable, and/or better encourage additional URL sharing scenarios where you are unable to either click the URL, or even copy and paste the URL, and instead have to type it in by hand:

Additional Why Short URLs

For more on this, see: why short URLs and why do you need your own.

IndieWeb Examples

aaron.pk

Short URLs at aaron.pk send a 302 redirect to a route at aaronparecki.com which expands it to the full post URL. This way there is no server-side code required on aaron.pk other than a web server that can send redirects.

Example:

http://aaron.pk/4W8a
-> http://aaronparecki.com/r/4W8a
-> http://aaronparecki.com/2014/05/18/1/
-> http://aaronparecki.com/2014/05/18/1/imessage

jmb.so

The root domain jmb.so simply redirects to jonnybarnes.uk. The only type of short URL set up so far is for notes. The URL scheme for notes used on jonnybarnes.uk is very simple. They take the form jonnybarnes.uk/note/{id} where {id} is a NewBase60 encoding of a decimal number. The associated short URL is jmb.so/t/{id}.

cted.us

Redirects to colintedford.com, which uses the Custom Shortlink Structure plugin for WordPress.

di5.us

Redirects to david.shanske.com with a shortener.

...

add notes on your own implementation here.

Criticisms

  • I’m indifferent about short URLs. it’s rare that I’ve felt I really need one, and for me the value doesn’t outweigh the pain of maintaining/paying for another domain, hosting, writing more code --Waterpigs.co.uk 14:05, 3 September 2013 (PDT)
  • 2014-11-07 Feedly shuts down its short URL service http://blog.feedly.com/2014/10/28/feedly-url-shortener-retired/
  • if someone have a short domain – why not just use it as a main one, and rewrite url-scheme to always be "short urls"? -- DYM 05:15, 26 April 2016 (PDT)

Domains

Alphabetically sorted domains:

eu

.eu is the ccTLD for the European Union.

Registration is extremely cheap with many providers, however, those are usually only for the first year and is open for organisations and residents of EU member states.

Even though there are millions registered .eu domain, it's still awkward to tell people you have a website ending in .eu; it seems like the generic public is either unaware of it's existence or they simply don't expect a personal site to be on a .eu domain. (Based on personal experience in Hungary and in the UK. -- Peter Molnar )

gs

.gs is the ccTLD for South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

There are no known content restrictions on .gs domains, and the South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (SGSSI) is a British overseas territory, thus we can consider it as stable as .uk domains.

IndieWeb folks using .gs short URLs:

gy

.gy is the ccTLD for Guyana.

IndieWeb uses of .gy short URLs:

hr

.hr is the ccTLD for Croatia, and controlled by CARNet, the academic and research network of Croatia.[1]

Croatian private citizens can use their ID number (OIB) to register a single free .from.hr domain containing their full name. Free Wordpress hosting is also offered, but as it doesn't allow installing or enabling any plugins, this is currently unsuitable for IndieWeb. Businesses can likewise register a single free .hr domain, provided it contains the registered name of the business or an abbreviation thereof.

A begginer-friendly guide through the (fairly obvious) process can be found at:

Examples:

im

.im is the ccTLD for the Isle of Man.

IndieWeb uses of .im short URLs:

Like .io, .im is rather expensive. The registrar is fairly easy to use but the number of resellars for .im are limited so people often use secondary nameserver services like FreeDNS to resolve their domain.

io

.io is the ccTLD for British Indian Ocean Territory

Experiences with .io?

.io is comparatively expensive ($39 on gandi.net at the time of writing), but easy to set up, and perhaps valuable as a novelty TLD for IndieWeb purposes because of IO's input/output double meaning. There are no known administrative problems establishing .io domains.

The .io TLD has been criticized for generating profits for the British government instead of the people of the Indian Ocean Territory (unlike other ccTLDs for small island nations like .me or .tv).
"[P]rofits from the sale of each .io domain flow to the very force that expelled the Chagossian or Ilois people from their equatorial land just a generation or two ago: the British government."
from The dark side of .io: How the U.K. is making web domain profits from a shady Cold War land deal.

IndieWeb folks using .io short URLs as their primary site:

  • werd.io: Ben Werdmuller
  • bret.io: Bret Comnes

as a secondary / utility site:

  • p3k.io: Aaron Parecki - and subdomains quill.p3k.io, monocle.p3k.io, ...

is

.is is the ccTLD for Iceland.

As of 2015 it costs $250 to renew!

    • $250 was a guess based on my fuzzy recollection, not sure what the actual number was, but it was exorbitant Kylewm.com

IndieWeb folks formerly using .is short URLs:

ly

.ly is the ccTLD for Libya.

.ly domains are subject to content restrictions, including but not limited to "obscene and indecent names/phrases, including words of a sexual nature" and "may not contain words/phrases or abbreviations insulting religion or politics, or be related to gambling and lottery industry or be contrary to Libyan law or Islamic morality."

The Libyan government is a dictatorship and "the most censored country in the Middle East and North Africa". In addition Libya is an ongoing armed civil war.

There has been at least one case of a .ly domain name seizure / shutdown based on content restrictions:

For these reasons we recommend you AVOID USING ANY/ALL .LY domains.

me

.me is the ccTLD for Montenegro.

There are no known content restrictions on .me domains, and the government of Montenegro is a democracy.

.me domains can be registered through many major domain registrars. We suggest you get a recommendation from a friend.

Thus we consider .me domains to be reasonably stable.

IndieWeb folks using .me short URLs:

pk

.pk is the ccTLD for Pakistan

There are no known content restrictions on .pk domains, and the government of Pakistan is a democratic parliamentary federal republic.

.pk domains can be registered directly from PKNIC for $24 per year with a minimum registration of two years.

Updating the registrant info for a domain (transferring ownership, or even just updating the address or phone number of the same registrant) requires sending a notarized letter by mail to the registrar.

IndieWeb folks using .pk short URLs:

ro

.ro is the ccTLD for Romania

There are no known content restrictions on .ro domains, and there are no registration restrictions for second-level domains. The .ro domains can be registered directly from RoTLD for $51.26, which is a one-time fee with no annual renewal fee at present. However, there is a note on the payment page that indicates they may charge an annual fee in the future.

The registration is 51,26$+VAT(24%), one-time payment. There is no yearly fee at present. When yearly fee will be introduced, you will be informed.

No VAT is required when payment is sent in USD. If payment is sent by wire transfer, the wire transfer fees for sending and receiving are paid by the customer. The RoTLD bank does not charge a fee to receive USD as of 2011-03.

Payment must be made by wire transfer or by faxing a copy of your credit card and photo ID to the registrar.

IndieWeb folks using .ro short URLs:

so

.so is the ccTLD for Somalia.

Issues:

  • $102 / year (?!?). As of 2015-05-28, the renewal fee increased to $102 (for a year) in at least one instance:
    … my .so domain. Renewal fee going from $19 to $102.
  • $99 / year. iwantmyname informed Jonny Barnes by email, mentioned on IRC:
    received an email recently from iwantmyname that .so domains are increasing in price from $14.99 to $99!
  • 2015-06-09 no more registrations. as noted:
    No new registrations after June 9, 1 yr renewal periods afterwards, higher fees. …

tc

.tc is the ccTLD for the Turks and Caicos Islands.

This TLD is going through pricing turmoil, raising prices from $50 to $120 per year in some cases. The new manager of the registrar, Meridian TLD, is offering current domain owners a domain transfer and a year renewal for $44 USD, effectively forcing domain owners to change registrars. More information on this racket can be found on the iwantmyname.com blog.

IndieWeb folks using .tc short URLs:

  • Bret: http://bre.tc - I do not recommend this tld. It has been nothing but pain and agony. using .io now.

tech

.tech along with many of the other new similar TLD:s often have "premium" domains that are open for registration, but which have special "premium" pricing that can be above $10k/year at times.

When using a tool like Domainr such domain names can often be suggested as short, easy to spell alternatives for terms that one searches for, but unless one spots that the domain is premium it can become a very expensive buy.


uk

.uk is the ccTLD for the United Kingdom.

Originally Nominet UK only allowed domains to be registered under certain subdomains, such as co.uk or org.uk. They have recently opened up the top-level domain itself. There is a potential difficulty in registering short domains though as people who have already registered the .co.uk variant get priority I believe.

Note The registrar requires that your WHOIS mailing address be a valid UK address, for details see section 7.

us

.us is the ccTLD for the United States.

Registration is cheap, a couple dollars less than than .com. Registrants must be US citizens/organizations or foreign entities with a US presence. Aside from the registrant requirements...there are few controversies with .us compared to country based tlds.

IndieWeb folks using .us short URLs:

  • David Shanske uses di5.us as a short redirect for his main site, david.shanske.com, and runs a development server on n9n.us
  • Colin Tedford uses cted.us as a short redirect for his main site, colintedford.com.

Add more short URL domains here

...

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