If you haven't followed the .xxx saga, it's been a bit convoluted. While it's still not at all clear why we need top level domains at all any more (or, if we must have them, why they should be limited to the ones chosen by ICANN), for many years, ICANN has been in charge of reviewing various proposals to expand the available top level domains (things like .com, .net, .org, etc.). That's how we got other such useless TLDs like .info, .jobs and .mobi -- which have mostly just turned into money grabs for the companies that operate them, rather than anything that was really needed. .xxx is the same story. Obviously, it's a huge money grab, because whoever would operate it would stand to rake in the cash
from porn operators looking to set up new sites. While ICANN initially rejected the proposal at the beginning of the decade, the guy behind .xxx tried again, and in 2005, ICANN agreed
that .xxx met all the criteria and should be allowed.
So why doesn't the internet yet have this official redlight district?
Well, what really happened was that "protect the children"-type family groups freaked out about admitting to the fact that (gasp!) porn exists on the internet. Amusingly, some of those same groups and their favorite politicians had pushed for .xxx anyway
, in an effort to force
all porn to be located there. But, for some reason, after
.xxx was approved, they suddenly freaked out that this somehow meant porn was okay, and started causing trouble. Suddenly, months after ICANN had already approved .xxx, the federal government (under whose umbrella ICANN kinda-sorta belonged) suggested rather strongly that .xxx was not a good idea
. Suddenly, everything was put on hold, and in 2007, ICANN officially said no
This infuriated the folks behind .xxx, a group called ICM, and they asked for an independent dispute resolution, which was released last Friday. So, after all these many years, the review found that ICANN totally screwed up
, and it never should have backed down after its 2005 approval of .xxx. It's also demanding that ICANN pay up for this review process, in the range of half a million dollars. Of course, the ruling is non-binding, so it doesn't necessarily mean that ICANN now does need to approve .xxx, but it makes it harder to explain why it hasn't. Also complicating matters is ICANN's more recent decision to let pretty much anyone with a ton of cash to throw away create their own TLD
. So, perhaps the .xxx guys can just do that...