A domain hack is an unconventional domain name that combines domain levels, especially the top-level domain (TLD), to spell out the full "name" or title of the domain. Examples include del.icio.us (http://del.icio.us/), goo.gl (http://goo.gl/) and fold.it (http://fold.it/). In this context, the hack represents a trick (as in programming), not an exploit or break-in (as in security).
Domains such as .al, .as, .at, .in, .is, .it, .me, .us, or .co (Albania, American Samoa, Austria, India, Iceland, Italy, Montenegro, United States, or Colombia respectively) are easy to use as domain hacks because they correspond to short, simple dictionary words. Alternatively, a name is chosen so that the last few characters match an existing top-level domain, such as inter.net, so that every character is used in forming the common name.
Domain hacks offer the ability to produce extremely short domain names. For example, blo.gs has a total of only five letters (versus blogs.com, at eight letters), as every letter is taken into account as the site's title. Similarly, tweet in, a common Twitter mimic, is represented through the domain http://2et.in. This makes them potentially valuable as redirectors (like i.am, which redirects to FortuneCity's V3 service), pastebins, base domains from which to delegate subdomains and URL shortening services.
On November 23, 1992, inter.net was registered. In the 1990s, several hostnames ending in "pla.net" were active. The concept of spelling out a phrase with the parts of a hostname to form a domain hack is well established. On Friday, May 3, 2002, icio.us was registered to create del.icio.us.
On January 14, 2004, the Christmas Island Internet Administration revoked .cx domain registration for shock site goatse.cx, a domain which used "se.cx" to form the word "sex". The domain was originally registered in 1999. Similar names had been used for parody sites such as oralse.cx or analse.cx; in some cases, .cz (Czech Republic) or .kz (Kazakhstan) are substituted for .cx.
The term domain hack was coined by Matthew Doucette on November 3, 2004 to mean "an unconventional domain name that uses parts other than the SLD (second level domain) or third level domain to create the title of the domain name."
On 11 September 2007, name servers for .me were delegated by IANA to the Government of Montenegro, with a two-year transition period for existing .yu names to be transferred to .me. One of the first steps taken in deploying .me online was to create .its.me as a domain space for personal sites. Many desirable domain hacks, such as love.me or leave.me, were held back by the registry as premium names for later auction. One .me domain hack example is please.do.not.disturb.me.
In March 2010, National Public Radio launched its own URL shortener under the domain n.pr using the ccTLD of Puerto Rico. The n.pr domain is currently used to link to an NPR story page by its ID and is one of the shortest possible domain hacks in existence.
In late 2010, Apple launched a URL shortener at the domain itun.es, using the ccTLD of Spain, in a similar move to Google's goo.gl. Unlike goo.gl, which is public and can be used for any web address, itun.es is used only for iTunes Ping URL shortening.
In most cases, registration of these short domain names relies on the use of country code domains, each of which has a unique two-letter identifier.
For example, blo.gs makes use of the TLD .gs (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) to spell "blogs", fa.st makes use of the TLD .st (São Tomé and Príncipe) to spell "fast", chronolo.gy uses the TLD .gy (Guyana) to spell "chronology", s.am makes use of the TLD .am (Armenia) to spell the given name "Sam", sexyi.am uses TLD .am (Armenia) and goodluckwith.us uses TLD .us (United States) and sharing it for subdomains with free hosting, and tel.ly uses the TLD .ly (Libya) to spell "telly" (a popular British colloquial term for television).
The third-level domains del.icio.us, cr.yp.to and e.xplo.it make use of the SLDs icio.us, yp.to and xplo.it from the TLDs .us (United States), .to (Tonga) and .it (Italy) to spell "delicious", "crypto" and "exploit" respectively.
In some cases, an entire country code domain has been re-purposed in its international marketing, such as .am (Armenia), .fm (Federated States of Micronesia), .cd (Democratic Republic of the Congo), .dj (Djibouti), and .tv (Tuvalu) for sites delivering various forms of audiovisual content.
In Turkish, "biz" means "we", and can be used for emphasis at the end of "we are" sentences. So the domain www.anneyiz.biz could be translated as "We're mothers, we are." (This is the Hürriyet newspaper's family health and well-being site.)
Since the introduction of .eu domains (eu meaning "me" in Romanian and in Portuguese), these domains have become popular in Romania, with people registering their names with the .eu extension.
In French, Italian and Portuguese, « là » or « lá » mean "there". As the .la domain (Laos) is available for second-level registration worldwide, this can be an easy way to get a short, catchy name like "go there". In Italy some TLDs are identical to Italian Provinces' identifier, such as .to (Turin) or .tv (Treviso) and are thus extensively used for web domains in the area. The Canadian domain .ca is also trivial to use as « cá » ("here") in Portuguese or « ça » ("that") in Canadian French; local Canadian presence is required.
A fad amongst French-speakers was to register their names in the Niue TLD .nu, which in French and Portuguese means "nude" or "naked"; however, as of 2007[update], Niue authorities have revoked many of these domain names. The handful that remain are joke domains without actual nudity. French speakers often use the .je TLD, since "je" means "I" in French. In addition, .je is used in the Netherlands, as it can mean both "you" or "your", and "small", since the addition of -je to most nouns produces a colloquial diminutive for (e.g. huis.je, or the well known iPhone app feest.je (feestje meaning "party").
Likewise, Dutch, Swedish, and Danish speakers sometimes use .nu, because it means "now" in these languages. The TLD is still used by many Swedish sites, as prior to 2003 it was impossible for individuals (and difficult for organizations) to register arbitrary domains under the .se TLD.
In Russian, net (as «nyet») means "no", so there are many domains in the format "something.net" (e.g. redaktora.net meaning "no editor"). A similar use of .info (in many languages where the term signifies "information") is to use a negatory term and .info to yield local equivalents to "there is no information". In Czech, Polish and Slovak, to means "it", so there are many domains using Tonga's .to in the format "do-something.to" (e.g., zrobie.to, meaning "I will do it" the Polish language).
In Slovenian, si is a dative form of the reciprocal personal pronoun and a second person form of the verb to be. As .si is a Slovenian ccTLD, domain hacks are abundant. Additionally, the domain is attractive to speakers of Romance languages, because it is a conjunction, pronoun or an affirmative interjection in many. ARNES limits the use of the domain to residents and entities of Slovenia.
Many domain hacks are plays on words specific to one local language:
Domain Registry Translation English language blo.gs South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands curio.us United States del.icio.us United States go.to Tonga goo.gl Greenland instagr.am Armenia itun.es Spain its.me Montenegro who.is Iceland pep.si Slovenia youtu.be Belgium Croatian language, and also Serbian language pogledaj.to Tonga Pogledaj to (meaning "look at that") poljubi.me .me Poljubi me (means "kiss me") vidi.me .me Vidi me (means "see me") Czech language Uloz.to .to Ulož to (means "Save it") Zkoukni.to .to Zkoukni to (means "Look at that") Danish language findbolig.nu .nu Find bolig nu (means "find residence now") fri-o.st .st FRI OST (means "free cheese"—free as in free software), the name of a camp at Roskilde Festival Dutch language kijk.nu .nu Kijk Nu (means "look now") zoek.je .je zoek je (means "look for") huis.je .je huisje (means "little house") ontdek.me .me Ontdek me (means "discover me") French language aucun.info .info « aucun info » ("no info"), a base for FreeDNS subdomains. Defunct as of June 2011. benefice.net .net « bénéfice net » ("net profit"), a business-related news site gayet.net .net « gayet net » ("Quite net/clear"), a friend finder site c.la, cest.la Laos « c'est là » ("it's there") or « allez là » ("go there") are commonly used as redirectors ecriva.in India « écrivain » ("writer"), currently has a vague placeholder page. louez.ca Canada « louez ça » ("rent that"), a list of Montréal homes for rent moi.je Jersey « moi, je » ("me, I"), a home of personal pages operationmontreal.net .net « Opération Montréal net » ("operation: clean Montreal"), a city beautification site teu.be Belgium « teubé » ("dumb"), a collaborative blog voyez.ca Canada « voyez.ça » ("see that"), a collection of images German language geboren.am Armenia « geboren am » ("born on") bullypara.de Germany « Bullyparade » (a German comedy show) gibts.net .net « gibt's net » (local dialect form for "gibt es nicht!" ("does not exist") in the sense of "that's impossible!") klingt.org .org « klingt org » (Viennese for “sounds nasty/terrible”) raba.tt Trinidad and Tobago « Rabatt » ("discount") schokola.de Germany « Schokolade » ("chocolate") ueberwin.de Germany « Überwinde » ("overcome") Naturli.ch Switzerland « Natürlich » ("natural.ly") autom.at Austria « Automat» ("automat") fals.ch Switzerland « falsch » ("wrong", "false") koe.stli.ch Switzerland « köstlich » ("delicious") linuxbu.ch Switzerland « linuxbuch » ("Linux book") Hungarian language erdely.ma Morocco « Erdély ma » ("Transylvania Today"), since "ma" means today in Hungarian felvidek.ma Morocco « Felvidék ma » (means: Upper Hungary Today). kapd.be Belgium « Kapd be » (means: suck.it). magyarorszag.ma Morocco « Magyarország ma » (means: Hungary Today). semmi.se Sweden « Semmi se » (means: nothing at all). Indonesian language kro.co Colombia « kroco » ("small snail"), URL shortener Italian language vai.li Liechtenstein « vai li » ("go there"), a redirector Mandarin Chinese zul.in India zū lìn (means: rent, lease, hire) hen.huang.hen.bao.li Liechtenstein Hěn huáng hěn bào lì (means: "Very erotic, very violent"), a catchphrase spawned by a China Central Television news report kan.de.jian.me Montenegro Kàn de jiàn me (means: Can you see it?) Na'vi language skxawng.lu Luxembourg « skxawng lu » ("you are a moron") Persian language agahtar.in India « agahtarin » ("aware"), tejar.at Austria « tejarat » ("business"), currently redirects to Karsha eCommerce Group web-site Portuguese language notici.as American Samoa « noticias » ("news"), for Desciclopédia (an uncyclopedia) project "DesNotícias" ("UnNews" equivalent) bibliote.ca Canada « biblioteca » ("library"), for Desciclopédia project "DesLivros" ("UnBooks" equivalent) pesquisa.la Laos « pesquisa lá » ("search there"), for Desciclopédia per.to Tonga « perto » ("close, near"), for per.to, a local commerce search engine in Brazil vai.la Laos « vai lá » ("go there"), a redirector vem.ca Canada « vem cá » ("come here"), used as a secondary domain name by a search site grem.io British Indian Ocean Territory « Grêmio » is a football team, and grem.io is the team's official URL shortener Spanish language red.es Spain « redes » ("networks"), Spain's national domain-name registry operator educ.ar Argentina « educar » ("to educate"), the Argentine government's education portal pagina.de Germany « página de » (the page of), a web forwarding site. recorta.me Montenegro « recortame » ("cut me"), URL shortener. mexi.co Colombia « México » ("Mexico") Russian language gepatitu.net .net « Гепатиту нет » tr. gepatitu net means "Down with hepatitis", since "Нет" net means "no" or "down with" in Russian pisem.net .net « Писем нет » tr. pisem net means "No email". zaycev.net .net « Зайцев нет » tr. zaycev net means "No hares". zadolba.li .li « Задолбали » tr. zadolbali means "(You/they are) Such a pain in the ass". Slovene language Zadovoljna.si .si Zadovoljna si (means "Satisfied (fem.) /you/ are") Nym.fo .fo A play on the word "Nympho" (see Hypersexuality) Swedish language halvera.nu .nu Halvera nu (means "cut (the student union fee) in half now"; defunct party in the Uppsala Student Union) studera.nu .nu Studera nu (means "study now"; the official portal for university applications) nyweb.nu .nu NyWeb nu (means "new web now"; Swedish web design company) Turkish language anneyiz.biz .biz anneyiz biz (means "we're mothers") Welsh language cym.ro Romania Cymro (means "Welshman"), offers email forwarding addresses. See proposed TLD .cym Zulu language amand.la .la Amandla (a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning "power") The word was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid thu.la .la thula (a Zulu word meaning "Be quiet!")
- ^ Domain Hacks & Email Hacks (original domain hack article)
- ^ Whois domain search inter.net WHOIS record
- ^ List of coolest hostnames and domain hacks circa 1995
- ^ Council of Country Code Administrators - Acceptable Use Policy .cx - Christmas Island
- ^ Domain Hacks Information (original domain hack search)
- ^ Winstead, Jim. blo.gs: sold June 14, 2005.
- ^ Schachter, Joshua. del.icio.us: y.ah.oo! December 9, 2005.
- ^ Montenegro .me tld to attract interest for domain hacks
- ^ ME registry: .me is about you!
- ^ You Say NPR, But On Twitter We Say n.pr
- ^ http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2370354,00.asp
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