Porn sites to get a new Internet address: its .xxx
The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, says it will now start the process of registering ".xxx" by making checks on ICM Registry LLC, the company that wants to run it.
ICM's founder Stuart Lawley says he thinks the new address could attract at least 500,000 sites, making it after ".mobi", the second biggest sponsored top-level domain name, or TLD, the name for web address suffixes .com or .org.
Lawley expects to make $30 million a year in revenue by selling each .xxx site for $60 -- and pledges to donate $10 from each sale to child protection initiatives via a non-profit he has set up, the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, or IFFOR.
He already has 110,000 reservations, he says, and could get .xxx up and running within six to nine months after ICANN checks that ICM has the financial means and technical know-how to run it. "I think we could do a million or more. There are several million adult TLDs already out there," he said before the ICANN board meeting.
Lawley also says he will make it easy for web blocking software to filter out ".xxx" sites by requiring them to carry a machine-readable metatag marking them clearly as porn. "It will promote more labeled content," he said. "People who want to find it know where it is and people who don't see it or want to keep it away from their kids can use mechanisms to do so." Sceptics note that porn sites
would likely keep existing ".com" storefronts to allow their businesses to be found more easily.
ICANN has rejected the ".xxx" domain three times since ICM first proposed it in 2000, but an outside panel earlier this year criticised the board's rejection in 2007, saying it did not deal fairly with the application.
The board of the non-profit company that controls Internet addresses acknowledged on Friday that its refusal to accept ".xxx" was "not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy." It agreed to re-examine the ".xxx" application.