ICANN rejects .XXX domain

Summary:Update: There will be no dedicated domain suffix for adult sites, although the regulator of the Internet's naming system denies it caved in to conservative lobbying

Internet regulator ICANN has voted down a proposal to create a domain for adult Web sites.

ICANN's board  on Wednesday voted nine to five against the proposal, which would have led to the creation of a .XXX domain suffix for pornography sites.

The scheme has drawn considerable controversy over recent months, with conservative groups campaigning against the domain due to concerns that it would legitimise pornography. Advocates of the scheme have denied this, claiming that it would make it easier for Web users to avoid porn.

Håkon Haugnes, president of Global Name Registry, a domain name registration organisation which oversees the .name domain, said ICANN's decision was not unexpected, given the political opposition to the domain name.

"I don't think it's surprising for anyone in the industry. It's been a very, very contentious issue and very politicised," he said. "The discussion moved away from technical considerations to becoming politicised."

Despite ardent political interest in the issue, Paul Twomey, the chief of ICANN, told the Associated Press that the decision "was not driven by a political consideration".

ICM Registry, which proposed the .XXX domain, was unable to comment in time for this article. Haugnes said he empathises with ICM Registry, as it has gone through the application process when it submitted the .name domain. Even when a domain is agreed by ICANN, it can take a considerable time to launch it to the market, he added.

"It took us five hard years to get .name into portals so people can use it within their email address," he said.

ICANN has twice abandoned plans to vote on the creation of a .XXX  domain, most recently last December.

Topics: Networking

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