Will The .xxx Suffix Be Available For Adult Web Sites Soon? - Technologist
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Will The .xxx Suffix Be Available For Adult Web Sites Soon?

FindLaw columnist Eric Sinrod writes regularly in this section on legal developments surrounding technology and the internet.

To date, approved Web site suffixes have included the omnipresent .com, and also the commonly used .gov, .edu and  others.  Is .xxx on the imminent horizon for adult-oriented Web sites?

Well, according to press reports, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the organization that oversees approval of top-level domains, has finally given in and granted conditional approval of the new .xxx domain.  ICM Registry, which apparently would manage and sell this new domain suffix to adult Web sites, for quite some time has tried to convince ICANN to accept the .xxx as a top-level domain, only to be rejected on prior occasions.

ICM previously argued that having .xxx available would provide an easy way to separate adult entertainments sites from other Internet sites.  Conservative and religious groups have opposed .xxx on moral grounds and suggest that a .xxx designation would make it all the easier for people to gain access to online pornography.  Some members of the adult entertainment industry also have opposed the .xxx suffix, fearing that being grouped by that designation could lead to censorship.

Press reports indicate that ICM has received 110,000 pre-reservations for sites seeking to implement the .xxx designation.  Use of the .xxx designation would be voluntary, not mandatory, for adult Web sites, and each such domain name would cost about $60.


There is no question that online pornography is big business.  Press reports suggest that there currently are 370 million pornographic Web sites, and that "sex" is the number one Internet search term - comprising 25% of all online searches.  If a good number of adult Web sites adopt the .xxx suffix, it could potentially become one of the most common top-level domains, perhaps someday even rivaling .com.

As they say, sex sells, and always has, whether at the advent of still photography, then in moving pictures, and now online.  Whether the .xxx designation will facilitate and expand online adult content, or will simply segregate it from other content remains to be seen.

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Eric Sinrod is a partner in the San Francisco office of Duane Morris LLP (http://www.duanemorris.com) where he focuses on litigation matters of various types, including information technology and intellectual property disputes.  His Web site is http://www.sinrodlaw.com and he can be reached at ejsinrod@duanemorris.com.  To receive a weekly email link to Mr. Sinrod's columns, please send an email to him with Subscribe in the Subject line. This column is prepared and published for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.  The views expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the author's law firm or its individual partners.