Violet Blue Sex-Positive URL Shortener Cut Short by Libya

CYBERSPACE—Last year, writer Violet Blue and Ben Metcalfe started a sex-positive URL shortening service and decided to put it on the country code for Libya—.ly—which has becomes popular of late because of its “grammatical friendliness,” according to one website. The service was called Vbly, a shortened version of

Last month, however, Libya closed the site, claiming that it was in violation of “Islamic morality.”

According to a 2009 CNET article, “Blue, and Vbly creator Ben Metcalfe, encourage the use of this service for creating links to adult sites and other ‘NSFW’ links. They do not run their links through filters, as the market-leading Bitly (found at does.”

A Talking Points Memo story reports that after realizing that their service was offline, Blue and Metcalf contacted the registry in charge of the top-level domain,

"Our Country's Law and Morality do not allow any kind of pornography or its promotion," a representative of Libya Telecom and Technology told them in an email.

Blue and Metcalf insist that they violated no terms of service running the site. Now the question is whether Libya violated its own ToS in shuttering the site.

In a related story, after hearing about the closing of the site, former Massachusetts governor and possible 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney ditched the .ly site that belonged to his political action committee. He moved it to .tt, the country code for Trinidad and Tobago, which, unlike Libya, is not under Sharia Law.

It remains unclear whether Romney made the switch because of his opposition to Sharia, issues he has with Libya, or his solidarity with sex-positive URL shortening services.