PSA: Is Down! Is its Syrian Domain Name to Blame? isn’t having the best start to 2013. On Tuesday afternoon, the online image repository went, well, offline. staff still aren’t sure what caused the outage. By Wednesday, engineers had successfully transferred the website over the, a domain name the company conveniently already owned. 

“An error message mistakenly says the site’s domain has expired, but we’ve paid for it through December 31, 2013,”’s President and COO Sebastian Cwilich told ARTINFO. The site should be back up and running by tomorrow, he noted. But does the length of the outage have something to do with’s Syrian domain name?

The suffix of’s domain name — “.sy” — is the top-level domain suffix for the Syrian Arab Republic, against which the United States enacted trade sanctions in August 2011. The website registered the name from the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment via a third party in October 2009, well before the sanctions were put into place. (As a representative told Slate earlier this year, renewed the domain via the same third party in April 2011 and paid up front for 24 additional months, and therefore has not encountered the current sanctions.) Domain glitches are usually cleared up in a matter of hours — perhaps’s Syrian provenance slowed down the process?

It suffices to say, if you’re gunning to access an art genome this evening, head to With all this pesky domain business, maybe the site will eventually end up there for good.

Julia Halperin