Red Light Domain Gets Go Ahead

Dennis Faas's picture

The organization that oversees the distribution of Internet domain names has given final approval to ".xxx", a domain dedicated to adult subject matter.

The new domain is known as a generic top-level domain, meaning it is the final part of a website address and isn't country-specific (like .ca for Canada and). This is the first new top-level domain since 2004's .pro for professionals.

It could be the last to get specific approval, as there are plans to open up the system so that individuals and organizations can register and control their own top level domains using any word or phrase they like.

Triple-X Domain Represents Clean-up Operation

The idea of the new domain -- aside from being a source of revenue -- is that ICM, which will administer the registration of the new addresses, will keep close watch on all sites to make sure they follow rules banning misuse of customer details or spreading viruses.

The idea is to make the new domain an exercise in "cleaning up" the online industry in terms of behavior rather than content. Some of the money raised in registration fees will be spent on a campaign to block illicit youngster videos and images.

Some Web Operators Oppose of New Domain

Not surprisingly, many website operators oppose the new domain. Some suggest it could lead to increased censorship; for example, a government in a country with a more conservative attitude to illicit subject matter might simply decide to block all sites with the .xxx domain. (Source:

There's also a fear that sites could be pressured to use the new domain instead of, rather than as well as, mainstream domains such as .com. Distributors of adult material believe that pressure could constitute a restriction on their freedom of speech. (Source:

Cyber-squatting Fears Flourish

Another potential problem will come with the rush to grab names on the new domain. Existing rivals in the lewd market may be tempted to claim names already in use as .com sites in the hope of picking up business, which could lead to some interesting court battles over trademarks.

It's also very likely some people will attempt to register .xxx domain names resembling well-known companies that are strictly family-orientated (such as Johnson and Johnson, for example), in the hope that those firms will buy the domain names back, rather than go through a protracted legal battle over the rights of the domain name. This is more or less a a form of cyber-blackmail.

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