".XXX" Domain Suffix Looks Promising for a 2011 Release

Palm Beach Gardens company, ICM Registry, was established in 1999 for the sole purpose of gaining approval for ".xxx" web addresses and subsequently selling them. After a 10-year battle, ICM took one step closer to its goal on Friday, when ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) voted to move forward with a contract that would sign ".xxx" into existence. Final approval is expected in February, and if all goes as planned, ".xxx" will be active in April.

ICM, whose slogan is, "Let's be adult about it," has already pre-registered almost 200,000 ".xxx" users, and Stuart Lawley, the company's chief executive tells The Juice he expects at least 500,000 sites to register. At $60 a year for a domain name, that amounts to tens of millions annually for the local company of about 15 employees.

"I'm not from the adult entertainment business at all," Lawley says. For him, it was a "fantastic business opportunity," as well as something he believes in -- not porn, necessarily, but this way of handling it online. Lawley calls "triple-x" a "win for the server" because people can find porn sites more easily, a "win for the adult providers" because visitors to the sites will have "extra consumer confidence", and a "win for the avoiders" because parents can easily block these sites and an "XXX" label will explicitly warn naive Internet users. To register for an ".xxx" domain name, ICM has a fairly extensive authentication and approval process to prevent images of minors and misuse of the websites.

".xxx" also has detractors, as pointed out by the AP which reported, "Conservative religious groups worry that an ".xxx" suffix would legitimize Internet porn," and some people in the porn industry feel that ".xxx" is an online ghetto for porn sites. If all goes as planned, April of 2011 will reveal whether ".xxx" is a million dollar idea or a porn ghetto. But with the amount of preregistrations ticking upward, the outlook seems more like the former than the latter.


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