Ddomain literals are handled specially during the rewriting process. If a domain literal appearing in the domain portion of an address does not match a rewrite rule pattern as is, the literal is interpreted as a group of strings separated by periods and surrounded by square brackets. The right-most string is removed and the search is repeated. If this does not work, the next string is removed, and so on until only empty brackets are left. If the search for empty brackets fails, the entire domain literal is removed and rewriting proceeds with the next section of the domain address, if there is one. No asterisks are used in the internal processing of domain literals; when an entire domain literal is replaced by an asterisk, the number of asterisks corresponds to the number of elements in the domain literal.
Like normal domain or host specifications, domain literals are also tried in most specific to least specific order. The first rule whose pattern matches will be the one used to rewrite the host or domain specification. If there are two identical patterns in the rules list, the one which appears first will be used.
As an example, suppose the address firstname.lastname@example.org is to be rewritten. The rewriter looks for [220.127.116.11], then [128.6.3.], then [128.6.], then [128.], then , then [*.*.*.*], and finally the match-all rule “.”.