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The .xxx domain gold mine is open for business

14 Dec

Looking for a good business to invest in? How about ICM Registry, the Florida-based company that’s in charge of managing the new .xxx domain name. If the past week’s news reports are anything to go by, the company is operating a newly opened gold mine.

General availability of the .xxx domain name – the suffix that rounds out a website’s internet address – went live on Dec. 6. Since then, universities have been stampeding into buying up any addresses that can be associated with them so as to prevent smut purveyors from abusing them. As a spokesman for the University of Michigan said, “This is viewed as a rational and practical step to protecting our image.” It’s true – the school certainly doesn’t want some porn company launching a GirlsOfMichiganUniversity.xxx website.

The new domain suffix is the result of a long and contentious battle between ICM and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) on one side and the adult industry on the other. The porn companies long resisted having ICM manage the new domain on the grounds that it was an outsider. They also weren’t very keen on having to be put into what they said is a digital ghetto.

Nevertheless, ICANN decided it might be prudent to allow the .xxx because it will be easier to block – parents can simply prevent their kids’ computers from accessing any sites that end in the suffix. The one problem with that plan is that adult companies are not required to use the .xxx domain as of yet. They can keep hosting their sites at .com or other addresses.

So how effective will the new domain be at filtering adult sites? At this point, not at all.

What it is particularly effective at so far, given the news stories, is exactly what the adult companies said it would be good at: raising money for ICM by forcing legitimate non-sexual businesses to grab domain names to prevent their abuse. At $70 each, which is more expensive than a regular domain, ICM stands to make a mint. One estimate expects the company to pull in $200 million a year, largely on companies acting defensively. Not bad for a completely ineffectual attempt to filter porn.

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1 Comment

Posted by on December 14, 2011 in internet, sex

 

One response to “The .xxx domain gold mine is open for business

  1. Marc Venot

    December 14, 2011 at 12:23 am

    It’s a gold mine but ICANN is a non profit corporation and that will serve to finance other implementatiions.
    I guess this parental blockage will spill to the general users sooner than later.

     
 
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