Just last week ICANN (International Corporations for Assigned Names and Numbers), who controlled the World Wide Web’s domain, started selling the .XXX domain names.
Some histories about the .XXX domain first.
ICANN wanted a special domain to differentiate the pornographic websites than regular websites so that regular users won’t stumble onto a pornographic website by accident, and parents, IT managers, and etc can filter these websites with .XXX domains easily to prevent the teenage child, workers and regular people can and will be blocked easily from these pornographic websites.
Very good intention. But seriously?
The AP reports that 80,000 XXX domains were sold in presale and many companies like Pepsi and Nike lined up to purchase adult domains. The University of Kansas reportedly just paid $3,000 for a variety of XXX URLs.
Nike will not want the domain Nike.XXX to be registered by some dubious companies and turn Nike into pornographic brand with a Nike porn site. Furthermore, universities will not want to allow pornographic websites to use their names, such as MSU.XXX or MSUGirls.XXX. So most of these 80,000 XXX domains were sold to legitimate corporations seeking to protect their names, brands and corporate images.
How about the real pornographic websites? From the information that we gather, there were just a few real pornographic companies registering them. A lot of these pornographic websites make their fortune when users stumble onto their websites, so the good intention of ICANN on preventing innocent people from stumbling onto a pornographic website is a moot point. Furthermore, with the .XXX domain, they can be blocked easily (just a simple *.xxx will do) so it is not a surprise anyone with half a brain that real pornographic websites will not take up the triple X domain.
A quick tour to GoDaddy website, one of the largest web hosting companies and domain registration companies in the world, showed that a .XXX domain is USD99 per year, while regular domain ranges from USD 11.99 to 19.99 per year.
According to the website, if I wanted to launch an adult website under that URL, I actually have to become an “Internet Community Member” and then confirm my status of “the sponsored adult entertainment community”. My guess is that this is how the ICANN polices the URLs, to ensure that someone isn’t registering someone else’s brand as a porn site. I have no plans to do so, which conveniently means I do not have to become a part of the “Community.” GoDaddy tells me this too, and is — fortunately, I guess — only too happy to help me park my URL for the same exorbitant fee.
Atop GoDaddy’s XXX domain registration page is this: “Let’s be adult about it. Create an adult Web presence or protect your brand.” This is followed by an explanation of why you’d want to register an XXX domain. Note what it starts with:
Secure your brand. Protect your reputation.
Perhaps you’d like to create an adult entertainment website. Or maybe you’re here to keep your brand from being registered as a .XXX by someone else. Whatever your reasons for wanting a .XXX domain, you’ve come to the right place. To check the availability of your domain, type the name you want into the search box above.
The message is clear: If you don’t want someone launching a porn XXX domain with your name or brand, you’d better let GoDaddy take your money and register it for you.
This scene was like during the early days of the web where companies and person rushing to snap up domain names to protect their own interest or making some quick money by selling the legitimate domain back to the companies. But this time there is a differce in one fundamental way: Those snapping up the domains for protection will never use them. No one outside the porn industry wants to run a live XXX domain website. These businesses and universities are simply buying them in what GoDaddy actually calls “Defensive Registrations” to hide them from view forever (and they’ll pay GoDaddy yearly fees to do so).
I think GoDaddy should send ICANN a flower, a box of chocolate with a Thank-You note while laughing all the way to the bank.