Further .XXX rumblings

Posted: April 4, 2011

It seems that the .XXX TLD is really going to happen as ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) have signed a .XXX contract with ICM Registry to run the Top Level Domain. The announcement was made on ICANN’s blog in a post by ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey on April the 2nd. In it, he said: “ICANN’s Board of Directors approved entering into the agreement during our recent Silicon Valley-San Francisco Public Meeting. We have now finalized negotiations and executed an agreement that’s posted at http://www.icann.org/en/tlds/agreements/xxx/. It includes some new and revised provisions that follow on from the agreement that we last posted for public comment in August 2010.”

Meanwhile, the California-based FSC – Free Speech Coalition – has announced that the organisation’s campaign against the .XXX domain is being stepped up. The FSC is urging adult online businesses to ‘Just Say No’ to the newly-approved TLD.

FSC Executive Director Diane Duke said: “Collectively, adult businesses understand that ICM’s .XXX is bad for the adult entertainment industry. FSC is launching this campaign, thus continuing its effort to rid the industry of this hazard. We are encouraging adult businesses to Just Say ‘NO’ to .XXX.”

Duke continued: “But FSC acknowledges and respects that, when push comes to shove, businesses need to do what they think is best for their company. That is why adult companies need to know the implications of purchasing .XXX domain names and why buying .XXX could be the worst investment they’ll ever make.”

In a press release, FSC explained the potential issues with .XXX for adult online businesses with a series of bullet points intended to highlight why, in their view, the domain should be avoided:

• .XXX costs at least 10 times what your .coms cost (recent numbers thrown out are $70-$75/per domain name).

• Just 5 days after .XXX passed, India blocked .XXX with the promise of more countries like Australia, Germany to follow—instantly de-valuing your costly .XXX domain names.

• sTLDs have a proven history of failure—even ones that are not blocked by entire countries and have their industry’s support (.travel, anyone???).

• High traffic websites will be leery of linking to your site, fearful of themselves being blocked or having dead links in blocking countries.

• All registrants of .XXX must agree to third-party automated monitoring of their sites for compliance with IFFOR policies—AND you will have to purchase your domain name before you even know what those policies are.

• Aliases (.XXX and .com going to the same site) require that related .coms adhere to IFFOR policies.

• IFFOR Policies will be determined by a council hand-picked by a Board chaired by ICM’s CEO Stuart Lawley—NOT the industry .XXX is supposed to represent. Moreover, ICM Registry has ultimate veto power over policy development.

• Businesses who register with .XXX make their alias .coms an easier target for censorship and blocking—do you really want to put your .coms at risk?

• Do the math—it doesn’t add up. Even if ICM’s claims of new consumers who “trust” .XXX ring true, for a company like Kink.com, which has approximately 10,000 domain names, it would have to bring in three-quarters of a million dollars in new revenues annually JUST TO BREAK EVEN!

The FSC went on to say: “Regulatory organization ICANN approved ICM Registry’s application for the .XXX domain… despite protests from its own Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), the US Dept. of Commerce, and strong opposition from leading adult industry businesses. FSC will continue to keep its members updated on this important issue. As the [US] adult industry trade association, FSC will continue to support the better business interests of all adult businesses, and will lead the opposition to .XXX domains because we believe that buying into the .XXX online ghetto is harmful to the adult industry and to individual adult businesses. The .XXX domain will serve only to fragment the Internet, make adult online businesses an easy target for anti-adult filtering and censorship, and also make it easier for under-age users to access adult material online.”

The UK equivalent of the FSC, the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA) has publicly stated that it shares the FSC’s concerns about the potential dangers of .XXX to the global adult industry, but has yet to offer specific advice. A meeting of AITA committee members on Wednesday the 6th of April will see the question debated. Essentially, do the risks of allowing someone else to take the [your website name].xxx URL and trading on your good name outweigh the financial implications of registering the domain for yourself, even if you then don’t populate it with a website.

This AITA meeting follows an earlier one in London – on March 23rd – at which Vaughn Liley of ICM Registry spoke to around 45 interested parties about .XXX.

A 39.5Mb MP3 audio file of the speech and Q&As is available via http://ukap.yourchoice.nl/xxx/DOTXXX.mp3, thanks to UKAP.

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