ICANN Approves .XXX Domains

Derek Vaughan
April 08, 2011

Derek Vaughan

Derek Vaughan is a web hosting and domain name industry veteran and expert. Mr. Vaughan has architected the marketing growth of several prominent web hosting success stories leading to acquisition including Affinity Internet, Inc., Aplus.Net and HostMySite.com. Prior to his entry into the web hosting industry, Mr. Vaughan was responsible for online marketing at The Walt Disney Company where he marketed ecommerce for the ESPN.com and NASCAR.com brands. Mr. Vaughan received his M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University and currently serves on the HostingCon Advisory Board.

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The Internet Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) recently had a meeting in San Francisco for the purpose of carrying out its mandate to manage the top-level domain name space and to consider the introduction of a new top level domain - .xxx. The .xxx top level domain was originally proposed in the year 2000 and then again in 2005. Both times the controversial domain extension faced considerable resistance from politicians - and ironically - from the adult entertainment industry.

As the .xxx domain was originally intended as a voluntary extension to segregate sexually explicit material on the Internet, presumably to make it easier to block. The adult entertainment industry, however, simply sees this as ''ghettoizing'' the adult content marketplace online. It seems obvious that as a volunteer action only, not every adult oriented website would choose to use the .xxx extension. Therefore, the concept that having a .xxx domain extension to make it easier to filter adult content is sure to be rendered void.

Despite any reservations or previous objections, ICANN officially voted 9 to 4 in favor of creating the .xxx domain extension on March 18, 2011. The vote to approve the .xxx domain extension went against the recommendation of ICANN's Government Advisory Committee as well. ICANN's board ultimately appointed ICM Registry, a Florida company to oversee the domain and manage the wholesaling of the domain name to registrars.

According to the ICM Registry website, 311,246 .xxx domain names have already been pre-registered. Since the ICM Registry wholesale price is $60 that means the company will stand to earn $18.7 million in already committed registrations. No doubt the real bonanza for ICM Registry will be the ongoing registrations - particularly those from brands that want to preemptively protect their brand name on the Internet from hijacking on a .xxx extension.

The new domain extension will shortly be available through ICANN accredited registrars - possibly as soon as the next several weeks. There is currently no ''look up'' tool to see which .xxx domain names are still available. Since the wholesale price has been set by ICM Registry at $60, the end price paid to a registrar to secure a .xxx domain will most likely be in a range of around $70.

According to ICANN certified UK domain registrar 34SP.com, .com domains continue to be the strongest performers in the domain registration marketplace. You can see detailed statistics on active domain registrations at DomainTools. The statistics show that there are currently over 93 million active .com domains as compared to the second most popular extension, .net which has 13.8 million active domains.

If you represent a domain registrar and wish to obtain further information on participating in promotional opportunities related to the .xxx domain extension please visit: http://www.icmregistry.com/apply.


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