Domain name hack

A domain hack is a domain name that suggests a word, phrase, or name when concatenating two or more adjacent levels of that domain.[1] For example,,, and suggest the word groups, the phrase fold it and the name google, respectively. In this context, the word hack denotes a clever trick (as in programming), not an exploit or break-in (as in security).

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. This makes them potentially valuable as redirectors (like, which redirects to FortuneCity's redirection service V3), 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 became well established.[3] On Friday, May 3, 2002, was registered to create[4] 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".[5] 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."[6]

Yahoo! acquired[7] on June 14, 2005, and[8] 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.[9] Many potential domain hacks, such as and,[10] 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.[11] 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 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 top-level domain (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 name of photo-sharing service "Instagram", makes use of the TLD .it (Italy) to spell "help me learn it", 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,, and use this hack.

The link shortening service was created as a reaction to Libyan authorities yanking a .ly link shortener.[12]

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. A domain belonging to Hürriyet newspaper's family health and well-being site, could be translated as "We're mothers, we are."

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.

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 (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 was founded in 2007, and its name "ulož to" means "save it".

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.

In Spanish, ar is the ending of the infinitive of many verbs, so hacks with Argentina's TLD .ar are common (e.g., meaning "to educate").

See also


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