They could quite literally become the hottest domains on the planet if the internet governing body Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) give the go ahead tomorrow to a new top level domain – the .xxx.
Back in 2005, ICANN gave the nod to the creation of the domain but two years later reversed that decision following large scale protest on moral grounds from conservative groups, mainly within the USA.
Now an independent review by the American Arbitration Association’s International Centre for Dispute Resolution has declared that decision unfair and has the issue back for re-consideration by the ICANN board at their meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
ICM Registry who put the plans forward for the .xxx domain and would oversee the sale of the addresses, suggest that if the go-ahead is given, the domain names could be on sale before the end of the year. However, ICANN is unlikely to make a snap decision and are expected to throw the issue back for consultation with its members and the internet community as a whole.
The .xxx domain proposal started long before ICANN’s first approval. Back in 2001 it was proposed as a way of filtering pornography on the internet with an immediate identifier of the content. Although any scheme would be voluntary – porn-sites could still be registered under other domains such as .com too – it might help to re-organise the internet and in particular search engines, becoming clogged by content that is less than family-friendly.
Ironically, the ICANN deliberation comes less than a week before sex.com – seen by many as one of the most valuable domain names in the world – comes up for auction in New York with a starting price of US$1 million. The domain was reportedly purchased for US$14 million back in 2006 by a group of private investors under the guise of Escom LLC but the company appears to have defaulted on the loan used to secure it, leading to the lender forcing sale.
Update (22 March): the future of any possible .xxx domain extension is still unclear, as ICANN elected to delay making any decision last week, and instead opted to produce a document outlining the proposals. It’s now likely the proposal will be voted on in June. More from the Telegraph.
What are your thoughts about a new .xxx domain?
Could it help clean up the internet?