Bi curious

8 June 2009

This has to be the candidate for the shortest web URL evah. I clicked on a heavily truncated link in Twitter to be delivered to a site with a working web server with the internet's own version of the programmer's Hello World message: "It works!"

Nothing very special about that other than the fact that the address was just two letters: bi. Curious as to how you could get to a working website without a single dot, I had a look around to see who owned the 'bi' top-level domain. It turns out to be Burundi, which seems to have a single web server that directs accesses to addresses like '' to the same curt but cheery page.


Burundi's not very well off, so maybe they should give Bitly and TinyURL a run for their money (if there is any) in the URL shortening business.


Hmmm, I keep getting "BI Corp", a company selling substance monitoring and GPS tracking bracelets. Must be my browser's helpful URL suffixing function. Hopefully it's not just me.

I'm using Safari and Omniweb on the Mac. I'll give it a go under Windows to see what happens. gives me BI Corp.

Firefox does seem to want to send you to IE7 is even better: it starts off trying to do a search on Bing. Then it says it can't find a site there, but does take you to the "It work!" page. (I checked again in Safari and that page still comes up with just the 'bi' address).

Browsers, eh?

Stick a dot on the end of the domain name and the helpful browsers should get the point: