Monday, June 11, 2012

Because .XXX Wasn't Enough of a Boondoggle, We Now Might Get .Sex, .Adult, and .Porn

Posted By on Mon, Jun 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

_xxx.jpg
  • Business Insider
The .xxx top-level domain, which debuted in December and which everyone loathes, might get some equally-loathed buddies, .porn, .adult, and .sex.

The new TLD was seen as primarily a cash grab from ICANN and ICM—porn sites had to buy up new domains to protect their real estate, and non-porn sites had to pay to keep someone from parking on the .xxx version of their url. Now that even more new domains are being opened up, ICM, the registry company behind .xxx, is gunning for .sex, .porn, and .adult. But not because they want to make more money, no no. Apparently, ICM is interested in these new TLDs because they want to help "protect" their current .xxx customers:

ICM is the back-end "registry" that operates the .xxx domain. To actually buy a .xxx domain, customers go through a front-end "registrar" like GoDaddy or Moniker. Those sites pay ICM a $62 annual fee per .xxx domain and add their own markup, bringing the typical cost for an individual registering an .xxx domain to around $100 per year.

Lawley is worried that if other companies snaps up TLDs like .sex, it will erode both the appeal of .xxx and the security methods ICM is trying to make an industry standard.

So ICM wants to buy .sex, .porn and .adult. If the company is successful, it plans to "grandfather" in domains that already have a site at .xxx. For example: the owner of women.xxx would automatically have a site reserved at women.sex, women.porn, etc.

Lawley expects that "only a small fraction" of the 200,000 current .xxx registrants will actually run their sites at new TLDs like .sex.

"It's not a profit center for us — it's more of a defensive block," Lawley says. "A lot of our customers have said they don't want these names to be created. But if they are — and there's no guarantee they will be — we feel we'd be a suitable custodian and do this in a responsible way." [CNN Money]

Wow, how thoughtful! Only a nominal fee to protect their brand, that was already protected until someone went around forcing them to buy expensive .xxx domains. Sounds great! I can't foresee any problems at all with that.

Lawley will have to wait until reveal day, June 13, to find out if he has competition. And with popular words like "sex," it's likely he will.

If two or more applicants want the same domain, they can first try to negotiate between themselves and come to an agreement — one that will probably involve cash. Otherwise, the name goes to auction, which could end up costing millions for the winning bidder.

Either option is likely to be expensive, but Stuart says ICM is prepared.

"It's a serious business, and we have deep pockets," he says. "We have a long-term mission of presenting adult entertainment in a responsible way. We'll do all we can to make sure no new TLD interferes with that."

Sigh.

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