Following years of debate, ICANN has announced the .xxx top level domain will be made available. While it could ease some friction over adult material on the net, advocates on both sides of the issue are not pleased. There is no compulsory requirement that adult oriented sites use the .xxx TLD exclusively. Anti porn activists complain that this legitimizes the industry’s presence on the net while adult content advocates complain it will balkanize their business. ICANN, registrars and domain name speculators are the only group that seem to be universally pleased.
For all practical purposes .xxx is just another new town on the wild west frontier of the internet. In the end things will remain very much the same. The debate will rage on for both sides with a dog in the hunt. The rest of us are not likely to notice any difference or be affected at all.
After yeas of debate, ICANN has blessed the .xxx top level domain as the exclusive identifier for adult sites.
The board of net overseer Icann gave initial approval for the creation of the .xxx domain at its conference in Brussels.
Icann’s approval will kick off a fast-track process to get the porn-only domain set up.
ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, said .xxx would make it easier to filter out inappropriate content.
The decision ends a long campaign by ICM Registry to win approval.
Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM, welcomed the decision and said it was “great news for those that wish to consume, or avoid, adult content”. (BBC)
This is a good idea that is long overdue in moving forward. Limiting adult content to a single TLD could cure many ills if managed well. There are plenty of caveats, and a large risk that .xxx will not work out as intended. I suspect that a big revenue blip motivated ICANN more than social responsibility. With the .xxx domain in place, there is a large vacuum to be filled regarding enforcement and there are sure to be “civil liberties” suits. While I like the concept, I have serious doubts that ICANN is up to the task of implementation and enforcement.
Hold onto your hat! The world of top level domains is about to explode. Oh yeah, the old .com, .edu, .org and 10 others will remain. But if the Paris round recommendations are approved soon we will have “.disney”, “.apple”, “.nyc”, etc. If you can pony up the $100k for the registration you too could have one. Heck there might even be a “.gates” domain, he can afford it. –
None of the new names is likely to dethrone “.com” as the world’s leader, and critics fear new suffixes will merely force companies and organizations to spend more money registering names such as “microsoft.paris” simply so others can’t. Legal battles are possible over common but trademarked names like “.apple.”
The other proposal before ICANN would permit addresses entirely in non-English characters for the first time. Specific countries would be put on a “fast track” to receive the equivalent of their two-letter country code, such as Bulgaria’s “.bg,” in a native language.
The ICANN board said it would seek public comment on the guidelines before its next major meeting in November.
Demand for such names has been increasing around the world as Internet usage expands to people who cannot speak English or easily type English characters. Addresses partly in foreign languages are sometimes possible today, but the suffix has been limited to 37 characters: a-z, 0-9 and the hyphen.
It had to happen. It was getting crowded as it was. I would have preferred a little more structure however. Having to know essentially a fully qualified domain name for a user to hit a web site might become a daunting task. The other observation is that this will be a corporate phenomenon. With a $100k entry fee it is going to be the retailing giants that go for this. The odd question not answered? If Coca-Cola buys a TLD, “.cola” does it mean they have to give up the .com address they are using?
More at Wired.
According to the minutes of their meeting on January 23, ICANN will stop the extremely questionable practice of domain tasting that has been standard practice for many registrars. Was it an act of Congress or in response to the public’s outcry? No, it was in reaction to Google crack down adsense accounts for tasted domains. While ICANN has done a horrid job of policing the less than ethical practices of many members since they left DARPA’s oversight, this is a step in the right direction. Moral to the story: if registrars misbehave, complain to Google first. They seem to be the most effective sheriff in the wild west of the internet.