Porn Tuesday: Colleges, universities 'not prepared' for .xxx domains

Porn Tuesday: Colleges, universities 'not prepared' for .xxx domains

Summary: Many leading U.S. and UK colleges and universities show lack of preparedness and resilience to the now publicly available .xxx top-level domain name.

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So, it's finally here. Porn Tuesday, where the controversial .xxx top-level domains come into play.

More than 100,000 domains have already been pre-registered, with more expected from today's public release.

The extensive media coverage has analysed every benefit and pitfall the 'porn' domain name brings, amidst extreme controversy from seemingly 'both sides' of the fence.

Both the adult entertainment industry and religious groups have been up in arms over the permission granted by ICANN to register the top-level domain name. Colleges and universities also began to snap up their .xxx domain name counterparts, in a bid to prevent cyber-squatting, and the potential expensive legal battles to wrestle their trademarks back in the future.

But how prepared are colleges and universities to the domain name changes?

I decided to conduct a search to see what names of these universities I could, in theory, purchase with the right means.

Competition for bidding has been fierce. While browsing for common university names, I found many registrars offering "no win, no fee" options for .xxx registration.

Companies and individuals that do not want to be associated with the .xxx domain name can purchase these as a safety measure, with prices ranging from $150 and $300 depending on the registrar's set fee, and simply have the domain redirected to their regular site.

I chose to research the top ten colleges and universities in both the UK and the U.S., to see how many colleges and universities were prepared for the changes.

The three types of domain I chose to 'buy' included:

  • The direct name: from harvard.edu to harvard.xxx
  • The trademark approach: such as harvarduniversity.xxx
  • The tagline name: often shortened to 'uni', such as harvarduni.xxx

Out of twenty leading global colleges and universities, how many domain names were available?

(Source: ZDNet)

The results appear to show that U.S. universities are not only more aware of the .xxx domain name than their UK counterparts -- with every U.S. university in the top ten registering their full name under the scheme -- but therefore more resilient to cyber-squatters and trademark infringement.

For colleges and universities in particular, however, there are apparent flaws in the system.

In theory, if you can acquire the right email address -- depending on the security checks on the domain name provider -- you may be able to purchase your university's .xxx counterpart. A regular student address may suffice, if the systems in place simply check the domain name attached to the email address for verification

Only 60 percent of the top ten UK universities have done so, with these top-level domains released for general purchase today.

The majority of colleges and universities on this list have not registered their university's name or trademark with the domain name provider.

Simply put, anyone can now register the aforementioned available domain names, and exploit the associated university with content of their choosing.
This could spell disaster if domain registrars do not protect businesses or academic institutions from being used by either the adult content industry, or even enterprising students themselves.

It's not just universities that appear to have been caught unprepared.

The possibilities are potentially endless, and unless these top-level domains have extensive security measures in place to prevent abuse, any trademark in some way could be a target.

Anyone for cambridgeuniversity.xxx?

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Topic: Tech Industry

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