Adult industry welcomes .XXX domain rejection

Summary:Creating an Internet red light district goes against the adult industry's desire to make adult content more mainstream, says one insider. But the company that pushed for .XXX insists the idea had support

Adult companies have joined conservative groups in celebrating ICANN's decision to reject the creation of a domain for adult Web sites.

On Wednesday, the Internet regulator voted against the proposal, which would have led to the creation of a .XXX domain suffix for pornography sites. Conservative groups in the US, such as the Family Research Council, have welcomed the decision.

"This would have been a land grab for pornographers, and ICANN did absolutely the right thing,'' Charmaine Yoest, a vice-president of the Family Research Council, told Bloomberg.

Some in the adult industry are equally happy about the decision. Adult industry observer Scott McGowan said he "just couldn’t be happier", in an article on the EyeOnAdult Web site. He claimed that ICM Registry, which proposed the new top-level domain, was purely driven by the desire to make money.

"When conservatives and the porn industry actually agree on something, it kind of says something, even if their motivations come from different places." said McGowan.

"It’s my belief that everyone saw this for exactly what it was, a get-rich-quick scheme. ICM wanted to play God, recreate the online adult industry in their own image, and reap the benefits," he said.

Clinton Alexander, a US-based Web designer who has worked for a number of adult sites, claimed that adult companies had little to gain from switching to the .XXX domain.

"Out of all the parties involved with the decision, only one of them actually wanted the .xxx suffix: the ICM Registry. The only real reason they wanted it is they see it as a possible gold mine," he said.

"Adult companies do not want an .XXX domain because there is no additional profit in it (in fact, there is additional cost) and exposes them to possible future regulation. What’s the point of moving an extremely popular and profitable website from a .com to a .XXX domain?"

Alexander added that adult companies actually want to make content more mainstream and claimed the majority were therefore opposed to the .XXX domain.

"The idea in the adult entertainment industry is to mainstream adult content to the point where it is not different from selling any other commodity, such as groceries," Alexander said. "The more publicly mainstream porn becomes the more money the adult entertainment companies make...Creating an 'Internet red light district' goes against mainstreaming adult content, so most of the producers I know were against the .XXX suffix from the beginning of the debate."

Stuart Lawley, the chairman and president of ICM Registry, disagreed on Friday with the comments made by McGowan and Alexander.

Many of the worlds biggest adult providers had agreed to participate with the .XXX scheme voluntarily, as well as adult companies from over 70 countries, according to Lawley, although he was unable to provide the names of the companies as they are "confidential".

Lawley said it was in the interest of adult companies to participate as they could "clearly label themselves" and avoid being confused with the illegal child pornography industry.

"In layman terms, the porn and child porn industry get intermingled. Legitimate adult industry companies do not deal with child pornography," Lawley said. "This scheme would allow adult companies to step forward and clearly identify themselves as a legitmate adult entertainment site."

Lawley also disagreed that the .XXX domain was purely a "get rich quick scheme" pointing out that ICM Registry had offered to donate $10 annually per domain to charities that fight child pornography. "This could have been five or ten million dollars per year, which is a pretty good effort," he said. "Other [domain owners] give only $1 per domain per year."

Topics: Networking

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