, the New York City-based startup that has created a Pandora Radio-like discovery engine for artwork, has attracted over the years because of its domain name — .sy is the official domain suffix for the Syrian Arab Republic, a currently which is the subject of .
Now, as violent conflict in Syria , it looks like Art.sy may be feeling some side effects — and making changes of its own.
Yesterday, Art.sy’s , and the company was redirecting traffic to a backup site at . At the time, a spokesperson confirmed the issues via email but could not provide details on whether the outage was related to the Syrian conflict. The spokesperson did say, however, that things would be back to normal soon:
“The only information we have now is that our domain, which was registered and paid for through the end of 2013, is incorrectly appearing as expired, but we should be back tomorrow.”
Now today, it does appear as if the domain has been re-registered — but , until January 6th, 2013. More importantly, Art.sy is serving an HTTP 301 response redirecting to Artsy.net. The key here is that a , not a temporary one — that is typically done with an .
Here is an image of that 301 redirect:
It bears mention that obtaining the Art.sy domain did not come easily. The company’s founder originally got into purchasing Syrian domain names at least three years ago a Syrian law firm power of attorney to represent him in the country. He also had to go through lots of little bureaucratic hurdles and legal red tape as regulations in the country changed: He had to get his signature authorized by the Syrian embassy, for example.
Since then, though, the country has descended into over the past year and a half, following the throughout the Middle East early last year. The United Nations said yesterday that Syria’s conflict, which has decimated , has now seen (which is 15,000 more than human rights agencies had previously expected).
Internet access has also been unreliable in Syria. In more than one instance, the government has in the country for several days. Renesys also reported that access in the first few days of the new year.
We’ve reached out to Art.sy today for more details on the situation, but have yet to hear back; we will update this with any information we do receive. But at the moment, it looks as if Art.sy, which has been steadily growing in stature with from some of the industry’s most serious investors, has decided that having a more dependable web presence is more important than a snappy domain name.