Reflections on startup life: Week 67

There’s not a great deal to say about the last week — plugging away at features, working hard, keeping on with the networking. You know, startup life as per usual.

A couple of things of note however. For those that don’t know, the .ly part of is the domain for Libya. With all of the problems in Libya, it’s lead to some concern in tech circles about “what happens to all the .ly domain names”. It’s worth pointing out we don’t care about the technical aspect, people are dieing for their freedom, what happens to our internet address is very insignificant compared to this question. We understood the risk from day one, and consequently have always owned as well. Let’s hope the people of Libya find the freedom they are seeking without further bloodshed — what happens to our domain won’t bother us much either way.

Still, others are asking the question (endless news cycle I guess, find something topical and tie into it from many angles). This lead to a very small mention in Time magazines technology blog Although we don’t care about the question, we did think it pretty cool that when the writer at Time was thinking of .ly examples, was up there front of mind. As I mentioned to Alex at the time, this is all about share of mind — we’re building a brand and the fact that when someone asks the question “shit, what happens to … .ly” we’re up there, is a great sign.

In a similar vein, I got a phone call from Bloomberg in the Valley to interview us about — the reporter heard about us because he was chatting to a colleague who’d made the comment they were using Google less now they could rediscover content more easily in Share of mind!

But before I get too cocky… I found that very minor reference to in Time because we started to get a noticeable amount of Traffic coming through from (another big internet blog). The article in Gawker made the same point I did above, it’s the people, not the domain names that matter. To illustrate their point they quoted the time article:

It might be the 1,000th-least important thing about the Libyan protests — but that is not going to keep people from worrying about it. See, uses the “.ly” top-level domain controlled by Libya, and the Libyan government has the final say in what’s allowed to use the .ly domain. Timespeculates that if Gaddafi is overthrown, a new government could place stricter restrictions on .ly, “and in so doing create headaches not only for the and Twitter (which uses as its default link-shortening service), but also for sites such as,,,” — Techland.Time article

And then said

Dear God… Not, whatever that is! Send in the Marines! It’s amazing that Obama didn’t even allude to the number of shortened links that are in jeopardy during his speech today about Libya. Maybe he’s going to do a whole one just about tomorrow.

Gawker article —!5768787/how-will-the-chaos-in-libya-affect-your-favorite-link+shortening-service

I laughed. Although clearly tongue in cheek, I refrained from responding because it IS a sensitive issue, and I felt responding on their blog was too prone to misinterpretation. Here’s what my (very) tongue in cheek response would have been: “I really just wanted to point out that as we are Australian it’s not really that amazing that Obama didn’t mention us, however we do have high hopes that Julia Gillard will by mentioning us soon and deploying the SAS to protect the domain root servers for us.” Sometimes you just have to have a laugh — it’s the Australian way.

I think that quote “Dear God… Not, whatever that is! Send in the Marines” is going on the front of my monitor. Actually it’s great, while they had a small dig at our expense, they also linked to us which seems like a very fair trade — we got quite a few people clicking through to work out whatever it is that we are.


  • Public tags deployed.
  • Some coverage.
  • Couple of good social meetups.

Lessons Learnt

  • An appropriate measure of success for any internet property should be “have spammers and porn sites discovered you yet?”. The answer to both of these is yes. How much of an issue this becomes we’ll have to wait and see. The porn thing in particular makes me uncomfortable (although we don’t host the content, just links to it), mostly because I worry about the impact it will have on search quality in our new search engine (which will let you search all content).

Goal this week

  • New search engine to be launched.
  • Review and prioritise next feature set.