Smaller Nations — and Italy — Are Valuable for Domain Hacking

Amy Thorpe, Rest of World: Three memorable addresses for three major websites that all have something in common: Their iconic URLs come from small island nations and territories.

I have not thought about domain hacking in a long while. But, thanks to this article, I ended up on Wikipedia’s list of country code top-level domains, and it turns out there are a bunch of these in other languages, too. Antigua and Barbuda’s .ag domain is apparently used by German businesses registered as Aktiengesellschaft corporations. Niue’s .nu is owned by the Swedish Internet Foundation because it means “now” in Swedish, despite Niue being a sovereign country located in the South Pacific; the Niuean government is trying to win back control. Michael Waters, writing in Wired in February 2020, called the use of these domains an expression of digital colonialism, and the use of Libya’s .ly domain by various URL shorteners was widely criticized while the Moammar Gadhafi regime was in charge.

Just a few things worth thinking about when inventing a great domain hack. A domain could be supporting a small nation’s budget, but it may be more troubling.