Learn All About the New .XXX Porn-Only Search Engine

09/26/2012 9:30 AM |

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  • Guardian UK

ICM, the company that brought you the .xxx top-level domain, is launching a .xxx-exclusive search engine this week. I spoke with Stuart Lawley, the chairman and CEO of ICM, about the search engine. Or, it was supposed to be an interview about the search engine, but it started off with him scolding me about my previous reporting. I, like many people, have been less-than-complimentary about .xxx in the past.

SOME people felt that ICM was being given an excuse to shake a bunch of companies down for money, because they would be forced to purchase the .xxx versions of their non-porn sites, to keep someone from opening up, say, disney.xxx and sullying their precious brand. Even lots of porn folks felt like they were being pushed into paying up for the .xxx versions of the .com sites they already owned. It’s also slightly more expensive to buy a .xxx than a .com, though, as Stuart says, you’ll “spend more on inkjet cartridges for your printer” than any single domain name in a year, no matter how much it cost.

What Stuart asked me to share with you is that there was an error in my reporting here. In fact, the nice people at ICM aren’t going to charge non-porn people who own the .xxx versions of their sites an ADDITIONAL fee if they launch .porn, .sex, and .adult. They only had to pay that fee one time. Per url. Seems fair. Who doesn’t want to pay to register a bunch of urls they’ll never use? I hope we’re clear now.

In any case, whatever your feelings about .xxx are conceptually, search.xxx is ICM’s next step toward attempting to make the .xxx world a safe haven for the porn producer and consumer. All .xxx sites are going to be scanned daily for malware, and any site not up to snuff won’t be indexed by the search engine. To me that seems like the most useful part of this product.

They’re also saying it will be easier to block kids from seeing porn, which seems a bit silly. I don’t think the .coms of porn are going anywhere any time soon. Search.xxx does have the ability to be customizable, which I think is interesting. You can set your sexuality (though of course the effectiveness of that is reliant on good metadata), and you can customize the look of the search page, which is sort of adorably dorky. I picture Steve Carrell lighting candles and turning around a picture of his mother before attempting to masturbate in The Forty Year Old Virgin.

I haven’t tried it yet, so I don’t know how good the actual search engine part is, but the other advantages he mentioned—that it won’t leave embarrassing jack-off-related autocompletes in your google search box, that you don’t have deal with non-porn search results in your quest for dirty videos—seem like not that big of a deal to serious consumers of porn. I think erasing recent history is pretty s.o.p. after a personal browsing session. And of course, you can easily filter a google search to only .xxx urls. Still, the concept of a dedicated browser for your porn needs isn’t a bad one, and if they can get porn consumers to start using the .xxx-exclusive search, that would be a huge boon to smut peddlers on .xxx.

It does sound like search.xxx is just the first of several .xxx-exclusive products ICM is planning to roll out. Stuart also mentioned a universal payment system in the near future. That sounds exceedingly useful. I think a safe, one-click way to make the often-small payments porn sites require (without it showing up on your bank statement or paypal, especially), would really be key. Like I said before, it sounds like ICM is attempting to create a porn island in .xxx, and to ensure that the island conforms to best practices for users on both sides. We’ll see how it goes.

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