May 12, 2006 12:41 PM PDT

Adult industry welcomes .xxx domain rejection

Adult companies have joined conservative groups in celebrating an Internet regulator's decision to reject the creation of a domain for adult Web sites.

On Wednesday, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) voted against the proposal, which would have led to the creation of an .xxx domain suffix for pornography sites. Conservative groups in the U.S., such as the Family Research Council, have welcomed the decision.

"This would have been a landgrab for pornographers, and ICANN did absolutely the right thing," Charmaine Yoest, a vice president of the Family Research Council, told Bloomberg.

Some in the adult industry are equally happy about the decision. Adult-industry observer Scott McGowan, in an article on the EyeOnAdult Web site, said he "just couldn't be happier." He claimed that ICM Registry, which proposed the new top-level domain, was driven purely by the desire to make money.

"When conservatives and the porn industry actually agree on something, it kind of says something, even if their motivations come from different places," said McGowan.

"It's my belief that everyone saw this for exactly what it was, a get-rich-quick scheme. ICM wanted to play God, re-create the online adult industry in their own image and reap the benefits," he said.

Clinton Alexander, a U.S.-based Web designer who's worked for a number of adult sites, claimed adult companies had little to gain from switching to the .xxx domain.

"Out of all the parties involved with the decision, only one of them actually wanted the .xxx suffix: the ICM Registry. The only real reason they wanted it is they see it as a possible gold mine," he said.

"Adult companies do not want an .xxx domain because there is no additional profit in it (in fact, there is additional cost) and exposes them to possible future regulation. What's the point of moving an extremely popular and profitable Web site from a .com to an .xxx domain?"

Alexander added that adult companies actually want to make content more mainstream and claimed the majority were therefore opposed to the .xxx domain.

"The idea in the adult entertainment industry is to mainstream adult content to the point where it is not different from selling any other commodity, such as groceries," Alexander said. "The more publicly mainstream porn becomes, the more money the adult entertainment companies make...Creating an 'Internet red light district' goes against mainstreaming adult content, so most of the producers I know were against the .xxx suffix from the beginning of the debate."

Stuart Lawley, the chairman and president of ICM Registry, disagreed on Friday with the comments made by McGowan and Alexander.

Many of the world's biggest adult providers had agreed to participate in the .xxx plan voluntarily, as did adult companies from more than 70 countries, according to Lawley, although he was unable to provide the names of the companies as they are "confidential."

Lawley said it was in the interest of adult companies to participate because they could "clearly label themselves" and avoid being confused with the illegal child pornography industry.

"In layman terms, the porn and child porn industry get intermingled. Legitimate adult industry companies do not deal with child pornography," Lawley said. "This scheme would allow adult companies to step forward and clearly identify themselves as a legitimate adult entertainment site."

Lawley also disagreed that the .xxx domain was purely a "get-rich-quick scheme," pointing out that ICM Registry had offered to donate $10 annually per domain to charities that fight child pornography. "This could have been $5 (million) or $10 million dollars per year, which is a pretty good effort," he said. "Other (domain owners) give only $1 per domain per year."

Ingrid Marson of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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14 comments

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.XXX hurt ICANN
everything about .xxx hurt ICANN greatly. It brought up censorship issues. It brought up the US government exerting control of ICANN. It created something for China to point their fingers at when they censor their "citizens" web access. What a debacle.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.domainnamewire.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.domainnamewire.com</a>
Posted by andrew999999999 (42 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There should be a .xxx domain
People who want porn go looking for it and people that don't want porn don't want to see it. A .xxx domain would create a place that those looking for porn can go and for those that do not want porn they can stay away from .xxx. Also for parents to block porn from thier kids it would be much simpler to build a .xxx block rather than try to add in keywords, specific domains, etc.

I think they need to create this, but they should offer free domain transfers and allow adult sites to use the same .xxx domain that they had previously. I disagree with ICANN wanting to make so much money on the new top level domain, but I think it's something that should be implemented.
Posted by sinis60 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
yes there should
I agree and fail to understand the problem.

It's not hard to find porn. It's more of a problem when you don't want to find it.

And the comment about .xxx creating a landgrab is silly. I assume these people have actually been on the net at some point. While it has gotten better, it is so easy to end up on a porn site by accident. It's impossible to protect children. And whatever you think of it, porn is never going to go away.

Having it in one place would be best for everyone. The only ones that should have a problem are the ones that try to trick people in going to a porn site.

Once again those that are dellusionaly enough to think they can stop porn pass up an opportunity that will help them just because of their all or nothing approach. And I'm sure there was some back room changes of money as well. The porn industry is very rich after all.
Posted by kxmmxk (320 comments )
Link Flag
I agree in theory
There is a slight problem. What is the definition of porn? Is it visual, text, only sexual, ect.

This could be used as a censorship tool to block ideas of a non-sexual nature. Have a site, critical of the government? What about a site that mentions sex offhand? People will say it is offensive and must carry a .xxx. Stuff like that.

Then there is sex ed. Is a site that explains how to use condoms and avoid AIDS porn?

I would love to see legitimate site be moved to thier own domian, but it is not possible without cause serious problems.

Besides, since when is sex shameful? If you don't want to look at it, it is easy enough to avoid it.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
And in the mean time
young children are accidentally exposed to some very disgusting stuff they shouldn't even know about until they are in their late teens.

But everybody is happy about that.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Doesn't need a new TLD
If you are concerned about what your kids see, try being a parent and monitoring their access, or you could just skip all of the prudery and have the kind of relatinship with your child where they truly feel free to ask you questions if they see something they don't understand.

The bloody right wing religious whackos want everyone to believe that porn is bad. I don't buy that argument.
Posted by PzkwVIb (462 comments )
Link Flag
Lame idea
Not only did they want adult sites to abandon their .com addresses, they wanted to to subject them to a bunch of regulations (age verification etc.).

Although few of them actually subscribe to these sites, I don't think I have ever met a single person that would not openly admit to viewing "adult content" online.

"age verification" likely means handing over someones credit card details to all of these web sites which in my opinion just opens the doors for fraud. ICANN gets rich while some other orginization has to sort through all the scams where the web site said free and people get a bill in the mail for something they didn't think they agreed to.

Besides, in my opinion if someone not 18 wants to look up sexual content online it may not be "good practice" but I am certianly not going to say I believe it should be against the law.

As for the child model claims (avoiding actually typing the term, who knows who would kick in my front door), it is just a strawman argument used to accomplish their agenda in much the same way a government agancy can get nearly any budget they want so long as their proposal has "terrorist" placed somewhere in every pararaph.

We need marble floors in our building - wrong.

We feel marble floors in our building would prevent a potential suicide bomber from compromising the structure of the building by detonating a shoe bomb in the lobby entrance - right

If they are having trouble blocking the content through filtering software, they should instead extend a simple, more standard idea like robots.txt to reflect presence of adult content. The problem is there is just no money in that for ICANN.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you kidding me!
'I don't think I have ever met a single person that would not openly admit to viewing "adult content" online'

You know why??? Because you have so many Adult Spammers that lay porn landminds by registering commonly mispelled domain names and embedding links into unrelated websites. When grandma types a word in the address bar instead of a search engine, she gets explicit porn. Many companies don't even bother to have a 'front door' that allows you to choose if you want to see this content! Rediculous... I understand the whole "censorship" argument. However, the '.com' space will never be a viable commercial infrastructure with no high-level regulations. Why do we have '.org' or '.edu' domains? Clearly, they were generated to organize content. Did universities protest and refuse to support the Internet efforts in fear of being regulated and profiled? Of course not! The only reason that the Adult Industry does not want to be restricted to a specified domain is so they can continue to deceive and mislead web surfers. People have no way to block porn sites today if they do not want to see it. It just frustrates the consumer and deters them from using the Internet to its full commercial potential. Other industries should be in full support of such an effort.

If the adult sites will not voluntarily move into the '.xxx' domain, then they should at least register their domain with a resource record to identify them as such. That way, browser software can be used to flag content in the '.com' domain and allow consumers to block the content.

Certainly we do not want the government to limit freedom of speech. You don't see the NY Times or Wallstreet Journal with pornographic add scattered throughout the newspaper. I wonder why? Does that hurt the porn industry? Because when people want to look at the newspaper for stories, they are not expected to run into explicit images and stories. Either the Internet is going to continue to mature into a viable industry, or its going to be a mechanism to deliver unreliable content. Unfortunately we have gotten to a point where we expect to be bombarded by pornography like random landminds scattered across the landscape.

No one said that people should not have the 'right' to look at porn. However, we should all have the 'right' to 'choose' whether we want to see the content. Keep in mind that a large percentage of the content is not found by direct search. Ask the average non-techincal person how often they run across adult material by typing an address that they think is valid in the address bar...
Posted by mlewisok (1 comment )
Link Flag
Of course they don't want it...
20%-24% of porn (or, if you're trying to hide it, 'adult entertainment', give me a break) income is generated from those below the age of 18, which is illegal. The porn industry loves having the ubiquitous .com quarter of the market becau$e of $omething, I'm ju$t not $ure what it i$. How else is little Johnny gonna get access to his porn? It's a 1st amendment issue, right...
Posted by jedwards77 (6 comments )
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Men who need second chances will never need a woman for less.
Get a life. Better still buy a Ducati motorcycle and a disc rotor lock.
Posted by Stalin Hornsby (60 comments )
Link Flag
Five Years and Still Nothing
After five years of trying to get a practical solution to porn filters it looks the Credit Card industry lobbyists have won another round.

Lobbydozer com
Posted by Lobbydozer (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I totally agree, people are just too power hungry willing to control everything. Too sad.
Posted by Adultionary (1 comment )
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