.xxx owner ICM for adult domain monopoly?

Posted: June 14, 2012

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, has now published the full submission list for new top-level domains (internet address endings, also known as TLDs), prompting speculation as to who will snag the big adult moneymakers.

ICM Registry already operates the .xxx top-level domain, which was approved by ICANN in 2011 after an 11-year campaign by ICM, making them the most obvious candidate for the .sex, .adult and .porn domains.

There are currently 22 generic top-level domains – the best known of which being .com and .org – and approximately 250 country codes such as .uk and .fr. While many of the applications are for brand names by the trademark owners, such as .bbc and .ferrari, numerous others are for generic terms like .home and .diy, for which there are often multiple applicants. The application cost for a top-level domain is only £116,000, with annual maintenance fees of £16,000 so the potential for return is excellent. Allocation in the case of multiple applications is to be decided by way of an auction process so the competition is expected to be intense.

“We’ve been very careful and responsible in what we did with .xxx, and we don’t want someone to take over what we’ve done as the incumbent,” said ICM CEO Stuart Lawley. “We’re trying to produce clearly identified content that doesn’t confuse consumers.”

ICM developed regulatory standards for the .xxx domain, such as bans on illegal content, trademark dispute policies and daily malware scanning, for which reason they claim they would be a “suitable custodian” for the newcomers.

More information on the forthcoming expansion of generic top-level domains can be found at http://newgtlds.icann.org/en/

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