Internet Bosses Set to Approve .XXX for Porn Sites

At least pornography industry will have its own top-level domain, dot-XXX, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided Friday.

Adult sites are going to get their own domain name. What do you think about it?! Photo: Flickr

At least pornography industry will have its own top-level domain, dot-XXX, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers decided Friday.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Internet on behalf of the U.S. government, has in the past resisted creating a .xxx generic domain name system akin to those for .com and .net.

ICM Registry Inc, the company that proposed the dot-XXX domain, welcomed the vote. “It’s been a long time coming,” ICM Chairman Stuart Lawley said in a statement, adding that he is “excited” by the move.

“The decision should soon bring to fruition our six-year effort to create a specific Web address for online adult entertainment, and comes on the heels of an independent review that declared that ICANN’s previous decision to deny dot-xxx was wrong,” he said. ICM Registry says it is a “completely independent entity with no affiliation, current or historic, with the adult entertainment industry.”

Members of ICANN’s board have argued that in order to maintain neutrality in dealing with domain name assignations, it should create .xxx and allow websites with sexually explicit content to start using the suffix on a voluntary basis.

“If expedited due diligence results are successful, then staff will proceed into contract negotiations with ICM (over .xxx),” ICANN’s general counsel John Jeffrey told delegates at a week-long ICANN meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Dot-XXX domains won’t start appearing right away. ICANN must first conduct a “due diligence” study of ICM’s business plan for the domain, and then the board will review the contract proposed for the operation of the domain.

That may involve referring the matter to ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, which is next scheduled to meet in December in Colombia, said board member Bruce Tonkin. “There is a potential that this is a prolonged process,” he added.

ICANN has considered introducing a top-level domain reserved for adult-oriented Web sites before. It failed to reach a decision on the current proposal at a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, in March, and rejected similar proposals in May 2006 and March 2007. Dot-XXX and another supported by ICM, dot-kids, were among a long list of TLDs rejected by ICANN in 2000.

Online pornography is a huge industry. Figures collated by Internet Pornography Statistics suggest more than $3,000 is spent on Internet pornography every second, with “sex” the number one search term in the world, accounting for 25 percent of all Internet searches.

With an estimated 370 million pornographic websites on the Internet, .xxx could become one of the largest domain name repositories, as big if not bigger than .com, according to the Reuters.

But some members of the adult entertainment industry oppose .xxx, saying it will invite censorship and harm their business. Members of the American religious right also oppose its creation on moral grounds. [via PC World and Reuters]

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