XXX sites win web domain approval

The internet’s governing body has approved the new .xxx domain for porn web sites.

After a decade-long review process, the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) decided to grant final approval for the domain proposal for the porn industry. The whole affair shed light on both the politics and technology behind starting new domain names.

At its annual meeting in San Francisco today, ICANN voted 9-3 to approve the domain, which allows web sites to end their web addresses in .xxx, rather than .com or .biz.

The .xxx web sites will likely start appearing in the coming months. Sometime in the fall, a big land rush will take place for companies applying for .xxx domain names. The domain name application was originally submitted by Stuart Lawley, chief executive of ICM Registry, who said he wants consumers to make safe and secure transactions on .xxx sites. Lawley proposed the .xxx domain names in 2004, and he plans to make money selling domain names. A number of national governments, including the U.S., opposed the creation of the domains.

Adult sites won’t be forced to use the new domain. The Free Speech Coalition, which represents some of the adult industry, opposed the domain name on the grounds that it would raise costs for porn providers. The domain names cost $60 each, and the porn sites will have to register a lot of them to keep their brands from being hijacked. The FSC said the new domain would make it easier for filters to block adult sites and that it would appeal the decision to an advisory board consisting of government representatives.

Lawley said he has received requests to reserve more than 200,000 domain names. Here’s a partial chronology of the whole process.

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