Help me register a domain for URL shortening
September 1, 2012 1:26 PM   Subscribe

How can I discover a short URL that is available to register?

I would like to register a domain that can be used as a URL shortening service (I want to roll my own). Obviously, the obvious ones and cool ones don't seem to be available.

I want 6 or less characters. I want a stable TLD, so no .ly domains (besides, they have cut off the short domains to non-Liberians).

I've spent the last hour or so entering in ideas and having them all be taken. Seriously, at this point I'll take a nonsense URL as long as it's short.

My biggest issue isn't coming up with ideas, but rather a search strategy. Every time I enter in an idea I get back, "We're sorry, is taken. Would you like to register" I would like to get back suggestions on only short domains.

I'd take suggestions on open ones in memail. Or suggestions on how to find them here (my bigger concern).

Bonus if the domain can be registered at Double bonus if the domain doesn't cost more than your average domain. Triple bonus is I don't end contributing to global unrest by funding terrorists.
posted by cjorgensen to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Here ya go. "When you want a short URL or something big, Domainr will find it, fast. Some of our favorites:,, and"
posted by TheNewWazoo at 1:30 PM on September 1, 2012

not an answer to your question but FYI .ly is Libya not Liberia.
posted by mulligan at 1:37 PM on September 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Domainr isn't finding open domains. When it does I get "Can't register."

Same boat. Even in the examples none are short.
posted by cjorgensen at 1:55 PM on September 1, 2012

dyyo used to find 4-letter domain names, but now their website says, "4 letter dotcom domains, also commonly referred to as, were bought out in November 2007. That means all of them are continuously registered all the time. Or sort of."
posted by bentley at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2012

Yeah, basically three-letter domains were sold out a decade or more ago, four-letter domains have been gone for years, and I suspect five-letter domains are close if not gone. There's no single clearinghouse of registered domains that are available for purchase, so suggestion engines can't suggest those. As a result, you can only reasonably expect suggestions that are not yet registered. Domainr flags domains that are (or likely are) available with a little green box. A half-green box means it may be for sale, but they can't (programmatically) determine that.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 2:07 PM on September 1, 2012

Try Domize, it has a powerful search (Options) with meta variables. Lots of domains available if you look beyond the .com TLD.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:12 PM on September 1, 2012

I've had pretty good success with a number and two letters on .us.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 3:03 PM on September 1, 2012

Just get the shortest, most stable one you can afford, regardless of phonetics. It's just a shortener, an ephemeral click target, so it doesn't matter if it's or whatever. Everything else is taken.
posted by rhizome at 3:09 PM on September 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

.net domains are run by Verisign. Arguably the most stable registry operator out there. Nice nad generic, etc. Available, somewhat easy to remember 4 letter .net domains:

If those get registered by another Mefite drop me an email and I'll generate more. Sorry, I have to protect my few remaining resources. Same if you'd prefer something in .com, but they you have to bump up to at minimum of 5 letter.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2012

If you're talking six characters including the TLD extension I did find some 3 letter .us and .me domains. Let me know if you'd rather see those.
posted by FlamingBore at 4:18 PM on September 1, 2012

.ky domain owner / .ky resident here.

Not really a general answer to your question, but there are few short ones left in .ky that could be fun

.ky domain advantages
- free to register and no annual fees
- not sold or available by any third party registrar so the domain space hasn't been auto-owned
- I'm told approx there are only about 10,000 domains total in .ky which is pretty small/lots of good names left

.ky disadvantages
- have to give a Cayman Islands address on the form ( least make it sound like you have one....or maybe know someone/a mefite there)
posted by inflatablekiwi at 8:02 PM on September 1, 2012

Yeah, due to "Registration is limited to residents and registered companies in the Cayman Islands, and a local address and phone number is required for the registrant and administrative contact." I'd be afraid of having it taken away.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:09 PM on September 3, 2012

Hi folks,

This is Eric from, sorry for chiming in late — it looks like you've covered the basics already. A few TLDs you might try and explore, as they've been popular on lately:

- .co — there's more info about it at

- .io — for some reason people are registering these left and right these days

- .me has also been popular

And if you're curious about registration requirements, has lots of info on their site at{tld}.htm

So for example, has requirement info for .at (Austria).

posted by case at 8:34 AM on September 5, 2012

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