Domain hack

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.[1] Examples include (, ( and ( 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, so that every character is used in forming the common name.

Domain hacks offer the ability to produce extremely short domain names. For example, has a total of only five letters (versus, 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 This makes them potentially valuable as redirectors (like, which redirects to FortuneCity's V3 service), pastebins, base domains from which to delegate subdomains and URL shortening services.



On November 23, 1992, was registered.[2] In the 1990s, several hostnames ending in "" were active. The concept of spelling out a phrase with the parts of a hostname to form a domain hack is well established.[3] On Friday, May 3, 2002, was registered to create is a whois server, indicating the registered ownership information of a domain. It was established June 12, 2002 and registered to an address in Reykjavík, Iceland.

On January 14, 2004, the Christmas Island Internet Administration revoked .cx domain registration for shock site, a domain which used "" to form the word "sex".[4] The domain was originally registered in 1999. Similar names had been used for parody sites such as or; 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."[5]

Yahoo! acquired[6] on June 14, 2005, and[7] on December 9, 2005.

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 as a domain space for personal sites.[8] Many desirable domain hacks, such as or,[9] were held back by the registry as premium names for later auction. One .me domain hack example is

On December 15, 2009 Google launched its own URL shortener under the domain using the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) of Greenland.

In March 2010, National Public Radio launched its own URL shortener under the domain using the ccTLD of Puerto Rico.[10] The 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, using the ccTLD of Spain, in a similar move to Google's Unlike, which is public and can be used for any web address, is used only for iTunes Ping URL shortening.

International names

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, makes use of the TLD .gs (South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands) to spell "blogs", makes use of the TLD .st (São Tomé and Príncipe) to spell "fast", uses the TLD .gy (Guyana) to spell "chronology", makes use of the TLD .am (Armenia) to spell the given name "Sam", uses TLD .am (Armenia) and uses TLD .us (United States) and sharing it for subdomains with free hosting, and uses the TLD .ly (Libya) to spell "telly" (a popular British colloquial term for television).

The third-level domains, and make use of the SLDs, and 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.

.ly (Libya) has been used for English words that end with suffix "ly", such as Popular URL shortening services, (namely) and use this hack.

The link shortening service was created as a reaction[citation needed] to Libyan authorities yanking a .ly link shortener.[11]

Other languages

In Germany, Austria, and Switzerland the domain .ag for Antigua and Barbuda is used by corporations in the legal form of Aktiengesellschaft (commonly abbreviated as AG).

The American Samoa domain .as is popular in the handful of countries where A/S is the legal suffix for corporations.

Some organisations situated in Switzerland use TLDs to specifically refer to their canton (like the Belgian TLD .be for the Canton of Berne).

In Turkish, "biz" means "we", and can be used for emphasis at the end of "we are" sentences. So the domain could be translated as "We're mothers, we are." (This is the Hürriyet newspaper's family health and well-being site.)

Family names in many Slavic languages end with ch (i.e. -ich, -vich, -vych, -ovich), so .ch (ccTLD for Switzerland) are very interesting to them.

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.[citation needed]

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.

Hungarian domains sometimes use the Moroccan top level domain .ma (meaning "today").

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, 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., or the well known iPhone app (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 "" (e.g. 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 "" (e.g.,, 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 South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands United States United States Tonga Greenland Armenia Spain Montenegro Iceland Slovenia Belgium
Croatian language, and also Serbian language Tonga Pogledaj to (meaning "look at that") .me Poljubi me (means "kiss me") .me Vidi me (means "see me")
Czech language .to Ulož to (means "Save it") .to Zkoukni to (means "Look at that")
Danish language .nu Find bolig nu (means "find residence now") .st FRI OST (means "free cheese"—free as in free software), the name of a camp at Roskilde Festival
Dutch language .nu Kijk Nu (means "look now") .je zoek je (means "look for") .je huisje (means "little house") .me Ontdek me (means "discover me")
French language .info « aucun info » ("no info"), a base for FreeDNS subdomains. Defunct as of June 2011. .net « bénéfice net » ("net profit"), a business-related news site .net « gayet net » ("Quite net/clear"), a friend finder site, Laos « c'est là » ("it's there") or « allez là » ("go there") are commonly used as redirectors India « écrivain » ("writer"), currently has a vague placeholder page. Canada « louez ça » ("rent that"), a list of Montréal homes for rent Jersey « moi, je » ("me, I"), a home of personal pages .net « Opération Montréal net » ("operation: clean Montreal"), a city beautification site Belgium « teubé » ("dumb"), a collaborative blog Canada « voyez.ça » ("see that"), a collection of images
German language Armenia « geboren am » ("born on") Germany « Bullyparade » (a German comedy show) .net « gibt's net » (local dialect form for "gibt es nicht!" ("does not exist") in the sense of "that's impossible!") .org « klingt org » (Viennese for “sounds nasty/terrible”) Trinidad and Tobago « Rabatt » ("discount") Germany « Schokolade » ("chocolate") Germany « Überwinde » ("overcome") Switzerland « Natürlich » ("") Austria « Automat» ("automat") Switzerland « falsch » ("wrong", "false") Switzerland « köstlich » ("delicious") Switzerland « linuxbuch » ("Linux book")
Hungarian language Morocco « Erdély ma » ("Transylvania Today"), since "ma" means today in Hungarian Morocco « Felvidék ma » (means: Upper Hungary Today). Belgium « Kapd be » (means: Morocco « Magyarország ma » (means: Hungary Today). Sweden « Semmi se » (means: nothing at all).
Indonesian language Colombia « kroco » ("small snail"), URL shortener
Italian language Liechtenstein « vai li » ("go there"), a redirector
Mandarin Chinese India zū lìn (means: rent, lease, hire) Liechtenstein Hěn huáng hěn bào lì (means: "Very erotic, very violent"), a catchphrase spawned by a China Central Television news report Montenegro Kàn de jiàn me (means: Can you see it?)
Na'vi language Luxembourg « skxawng lu » ("you are a moron")
Persian language India « agahtarin » ("aware"), Austria « tejarat » ("business"), currently redirects to Karsha eCommerce Group web-site
Portuguese language American Samoa « noticias » ("news"), for Desciclopédia (an uncyclopedia) project "DesNotícias" ("UnNews" equivalent) Canada « biblioteca » ("library"), for Desciclopédia project "DesLivros" ("UnBooks" equivalent) Laos « pesquisa lá » ("search there"), for Desciclopédia Tonga « perto » ("close, near"), for, a local commerce search engine in Brazil Laos « vai lá » ("go there"), a redirector Canada « vem cá » ("come here"), used as a secondary domain name by a search site British Indian Ocean Territory « Grêmio » is a football team, and is the team's official URL shortener
Spanish language Spain « redes » ("networks"), Spain's national domain-name registry operator Argentina « educar » ("to educate"), the Argentine government's education portal Germany « página de » (the page of), a web forwarding site. Montenegro « recortame » ("cut me"), URL shortener. Colombia « México » ("Mexico")
Russian language .net « Гепатиту нет » tr. gepatitu net means "Down with hepatitis", since "Нет" net means "no" or "down with" in Russian .net « Писем нет » tr. pisem net means "No email". .net « Зайцев нет » tr. zaycev net means "No hares". .li « Задолбали » tr. zadolbali means "(You/they are) Such a pain in the ass".
Slovene language .si Zadovoljna si (means "Satisfied (fem.) /you/ are") .fo A play on the word "Nympho" (see Hypersexuality)
Swedish language .nu Halvera nu (means "cut (the student union fee) in half now"; defunct party in the Uppsala Student Union) .nu Studera nu (means "study now"; the official portal for university applications) .nu NyWeb nu (means "new web now"; Swedish web design company)
Turkish language .biz anneyiz biz (means "we're mothers")
Welsh language Romania Cymro (means "Welshman"), offers email forwarding addresses. See proposed TLD .cym
Zulu language .la Amandla (a Xhosa and Zulu word meaning "power") The word was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against Apartheid .la thula (a Zulu word meaning "Be quiet!")

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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