Schools, universities snap up .xxx domain names

Summary:Universities and schools are snapping up .xxx domain names to prevent cyber-squatting of domain names. But where does it end, exactly?

U.S. schools are becoming increasingly concerned that the new .xxx domain name, intended for pornographic and adult websites, will be cyber-squatted or taken by others who may misuse the domain name.

What better solution than for the universities and schools to buy them up for their own use?

This aggressively defensive move is part of ongoing worries among the academic community to prevent the new ICANN approved top-level domain from being associated with their institutions.

(Source: CBS News)

AP reports via CBS News that many academic registrars like the University of Missouri and Washington University, are buying washu.xxx and missouri.xxx, along with mizzou.xxx to be on the safe side.

The domain name regulator ICANN has allowed a 'sunrise period', allowing trademark owners to snap up the top-level .xxx domain name to prevent abuse when it comes into force later this year.

Many are taking a "better safe than sorry" approach. At $200 a pop for each domain, it is not a bad investment for these institutions, which could end up paying thousands, if not tens of thousands in legal costs later on down the line, in a bid to protect their trademarked university names.

It's likely that the .xxx domain when under DNS control will simply point to the legitimate .com or .edu web addresses instead.

But where does it stop, exactly?

While .xxx is associated with pornography and the adult industry, will universities consider buying seemingly more benign domain names, like .soda or .cola, or even .chocolate domain names as well?

Arguably, spending around $200 each time for web addresses that may be used for abuse against the university or school is wise, considering the negative impact that can be caused through damaged reputation or legal costs in clawing back the domain.

But with 'opening up' of the domain name system, the .xxx top-level domain could be one of many headaches for academic institutions to face, amidst even more purchasing power needed to counter-act the effect of cyber-squatting.

Related:

Topics: Networking

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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