.xxx for adult content?

By Matt Bynum

he Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has again voted against an .xxx top level domain string (TLD) for adult-entertainment sites. This is not the first time that the ICANN has rejected the domain string as a similar proposal from ICM Registry was brought to the ICANN in 2000, again in 2004, and finally in January of 2007.

ICM Registry is a company that allows customers to apply for a top level domain name, much like the services that www.godaddy.com and www.networksolutions.com offer.

The reasoning behind the ICANNís decision to reject the .xxx domain was because the ICANN would have been forced into regulating the content on the sites that applied for an .xxx domain. ICM Registry resubmitted the proposal stating that the ICANN would not be responsible for content regulation. Yet the ICANN found that aspect of the proposal to be vague and the task could possibly come back to the ICANN. In the final proposal by ICM Registry, a separate organization would be responsible for monitoring the adult entertainment siteís compliance with the rules for the .xxx domain but the proposal was pulled from the Government Advisory Committee (GAC) meeting to give the committee time to review the ICANNís 350 page report on the domain.

The GAC is made up of approximately 30 national governments, distinct economies, and multinational governmental organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization and the International Telecommunication Union. The GAC provides advice to ICANN regarding public policy and governmental concerns surrounding national and international laws and agreements.

ICM Registry feels that an .xxx domain would benefit providers of online adult entertainment in the sense that aligning themselves with Best Business Practices would generate more predictable revenue streams, fewer complaints, and greater customer retention. ICM Registry also feels that the addition of a .xxx domain would benefit families and individuals who do not wish to view the content on those websites.

The US and Brazil administration are the only governmental opposition to the domain.

ICM plans to take the proposal as far as they can with the support of public policy leaders, internet technology experts, free speech, privacy, and security advocates, voluntary participants from the adult entertainment industry, family safety groups, and the European Union.




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