Art.sy Becomes Artsy.net,
Because Syria

January 4, 2013 | Marina Galperina

When Art.sy first emerged as a start-up, there were several attention grabbing points, including their Pandora-like Art Genome Project to guide your cruising (and purchasing) experience of 21,000+ artworks from over 4,500 artists, as per your personal taste pegged to 1211+ characteristics (“genes”). And, of course, that name. Such a cute name — “the shortest spellable English language domain that begins with the word ‘art'” — but…

The “Art.sy” URL troubles began last year when the Syrian domain’s legality was disputed. Putting the .sy into art edged towards breaking the US sanctions against the Syrian Arab Republic and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Artsy.net explains:

Subsequently, as the conflict in Syria escalated, we realized it might not be possible to renew the domain again due to U.S. sanctions. We also did not want a domain that could be construed in any way as supporting the Syrian government.

Art.sy had a back-up plan — they purchased Artsy.net and planned to move when their contract ran out at the end of 2013, but plans are moving ahead of schedule. The start-up would like to avoid any more incidents like this week’s the 36 hour site outage “due to an issue with DNS servers in Syria.” And reportedly, the Syrian government itself had repeatedly blocked access to the internet.

The old domain is working and all content and syndicated articles will be seamlessly redirected. As cute as “Art.sy” was, it’s less cute now anyway, that with the unendingescalating violence of the Syrian Civil War.