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April 20, 2006

It looks as if we won’t be seeing porn sites with .XXX domains any time in the near future. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has put the plan to launch the adult-specific domain on hold. There has been a big push for its creation, largely from conservative Christian corners, so that it would be easier to protect minors from accessing content. The thought is that filters would easily pick up the domain extension but it certainly doesn’t speak to the issue of having so many adult sites already on other domain extensions. So what’s the big holdup?

As it turns out, there is a lot of opposition to the plan from countries around the world. ICM Registry is the US-based company that is sponsoring the .XXX domain push. ICANN has been slow to introduce new extensions to this point and countries are looking to have new domains that speak to their interests and/or serve other languages. This is largely seen to be the biggest issue holding up the launch of .XXX domains. However, ICANN has stated that ICM Registry hasn’t followed through with provisions such as creating programs that would ensure the domain would better protect minors and protect trademarks of website owners. There is also the question as to whether the domain would be mandatory or voluntary. A mandatory ruling for adult content would mean years of court battles, bogging down the purpose and effectiveness of the domain. However, if the domain was only voluntary, it could be ready to launch in a matter of months.

The idea of a specific top level domain for adult sites has been around for some time but was only formally accepted by ICANN in June of 2005. Should the domain ever go live, ICM Registry would be responsible for the top-level domain. It has no ties to adult companies and maintains that it is a completely independent entity. The company says consumers will benefit from the domain by having greater confidence in what they’re getting from .XXX sites, businesses will have a less volatile stream of revenue and increased customer retention. The biggest payoff would be for families looking to protect children from viewing material that isn’t suitable for minors.

Whatever the decision happens to be on the domain, it will make little difference for the average porn fan. Businesses will continue to produce content. Websites that have become fan favorites will still to be accessible. You will still be able to find X-rated material on the Net, no matter how man X’s do or don’t appear in your address bar.

Posted by Wolf at April 20, 2006 7:25 AM

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