Porn sites can now register for .xxx domain name

Approved by ICANN earlier this year, the .xxx domain is now available for porn sites--and for nonporn sites that want to block the use of their names.

Lance Whitney/CNET

Porn and adult entertainment sites can now officially register under the .xxx domain, the domain's operator, ICM Registry, announced today.

The new .xxx top-level domain is open not just to porn sites but to nonporn sites that want to block the use of their names on the .xxx domain. Located in Florida, ICM is managing and supporting the new domain but will work with 50 individual registrars around the world to handle the actual registrations.

Promoting the advantages of .xxx to potential customers, ICM said that holders of the domain name will be able to tap into global marketing campaigns and greater awareness of their sites. ICM is also establishing a search portal for .xxx sites that it believes will generate more traffic.

Each .xxx site will be scanned daily by McAfee to prevent the spread of malware. These sites will also offer a Metacert "electronic label" as part of an effort to help parents better block access for their children, ICM said.

Related stories:
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• ICANN postpones decision on .xxx domains
• ICANN OKs .xxx domain name for porn sites
• Porn-friendly .xxx domains are a go

ICM CEO Stuart Lawley called the new domain a "win, win, win" situation.

"With all the sites malware scanned daily and properly labeled, it's a win for consumers of adult content who are now able to identify and select the sites they wish to visit more easily and safely," Lawley said in a statement. "It is also a win for the adult entertainment industry as .xxx helps to ensure that responsible adult content is easily identified online, leading to greater and more predictable revenues. And finally it's a win for those who want to avoid adult content online, with Internet users in no doubt about the underlying content of the sites and having the tools to help avoid them."

Registrations for a .xxx domain will begin with what ICM calls a 50-day "sunrise" period, which gives companies both in and outside the porn industry 50 days to register for or block themselves from the domain. Specifically, Sunrise A will handle registrations from adult sites, while Sunrise B will be geared for companies outside the online porn industry.

After that, a "land rush" period will start on November 8 during which time businesses will have access to any remaining .xxx addresses for 17 days. Following that, .xxx addresses will move into general availability, ICM said.

After several years of rejecting and postponing an ultimate decision on the .xxx name, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) gave the domain the initial stamp of approval in June 2010 . The domain received ICANN's official OK this past March.

But some groups are unhappy about the new domain, including the Free Speech Coalition, a trade group that represents the adult industry.

The group is concerned about the risk of legal actions over trademark infringement, while many of its member companies have complained about the high cost of the domain registrations, according to a story in Sunday's Washington Times.

Application fees cost between $80 and $110, while each .xxx domain will cost around $100 a year. Companies that want to block their names from being used with a .xxx address have to pony up an "opt-out" registration fee of $200 to $300, the Times added.

An ICM representative told CNET that the cost for companies that want to block their names from the registry is a one-time fee, which she said no other top-level domain offers. ICM makes no profit on these types of registration fees, added the rep, as the price covers only the cost of verifying the company's trademark.

On its Web site, ICM also noted that domain name prices are set by each individual registrar.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. PT with comment from ICM representative.

 

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