Media

Floodgates open for .XXX domains, ushers in new era of Internet porn

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After a decade-long battle, adult entertainment sites today can start bidding for their own .xxx top-level domain, which will make porn sites easier to find for lonely souls.

Today marks the beginning of the domain’s “sunrise” period, a 50-day long stint in which companies and brand owners can apply for a .xxx domain, reports the Independent. It’s the start of a new era of porn on the web, as adult websites will be more easily recognizable, which will be helpful both for adult entertainment customers and for parents who want to keep naughty things away from their kids.

Registration for the domain will be handled by Florida-based ICM Registry. Stuart Lawley, who heads ICM, has been fighting to get the .xxx domain approved since 2000. It was finally given the go-ahead last year by the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The site Casting.xxx was the first to be approved in August, and since then 1,500 additional sites were approved as part of ICM’s founders program. Lawley expects that the domain will attract over 500,000 sites within the next few months.

Access to the domain will slowly relax over time. Starting November 8, a “land rush” period will give adult sites premium access to remaining domains. 17 days after that, the .xxx domain will open up for anyone to register, making it no different from registering a typical .com or .net domain today.

In addition to being easier to find, .xxx domains will make porn sites safer to visit. ICM has contracted antivirus company McAfee to scan all .xxx domains for malware, viruses, and other malicious content. Typically, porn sites are known to be breeding grounds for malware (Lawley notes there’s little evidence for this claim though).

The fight for the .xxx domain has cost ICM $20 million so far, but Lawley tells the Independent that it hopes to raise around $30 million in its first year. Its founders program has already made ICM around $4 million. ICM charges $60 a year for .xxx domains, but average folks will have to buy them via other registers who charge more: GoDaddy will sell the domains for $99 a year, while Domainmonster will charge $77.

Trademark owners can remove their names from the .xxx registry entirely, but they will have to pay $200 to do so. Still, the cost will likely be worth it to prevent cybersquatting.

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