.xxx Back Again: Registrar Promising Lots Of Porn, But No Spam

from the .$$$ dept

The idea of a porn-only .xxx domain has been an on-again, off-again tale that’s stretched over several years, and the last we’d heard about it was back in May, when ICANN rejected it following complaints from both conservatives and porn-site owners. While support for a porn domain has teeter-tottered back and forth while people and politicians try to decide if it’s good or bad for kids, one thing has remained constant: the fact that .xxx really is a pretty pointless idea, because ICANN can’t and won’t force porn sites to use the .xxx domain, and it’s foolish to think porn sites will move there voluntarily. This undermines much of the reasoning for a porn-specific domain, since it won’t corral pornography into an online red-light district, it just adds another address at which it might be found. The only potential way around this would be to mandate adult sites use only .xxx domains — which is a pretty bad idea, since what exactly is and isn’t pornography is a subjective decision.

Apparently for ICANN, though, the real concern with .xxx was how sites using the domain would be policed, and the company pushing the proposal now says it will “ensure” sites won’t hit users with spam or spyware, as well as keep child porn out and prevent kids from being able to see anything naughty. We have a hard time believing it will actually be able to do any of those things, but the claims about spam and spyware are particularly silly. Not that they’d care, but shady porn site operators could just keep on spamming and planting spyware from their existing domains. Also, it seems a little odd that ICANN would care so much that .xxx sites act responsibly, while sending the implicit message that it’s perfectly fine by them to spam people and distribute spyware as long as you’re doing it from a different top-level domain. These sorts of empty promises from companies proposing new TLDs — that they’ll set content standards and enforce them — appears to be a new trend. The company behind the pointless .mobi TLD for mobile content did the same thing, but apparently they’ve been too busy counting their money to bother enforcing them.


Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “.xxx Back Again: Registrar Promising Lots Of Porn, But No Spam”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
17 Comments
PhysicsGuy says:

ugh

The only potential way around this would be to mandate adult sites use only .xxx domains

which would only be possible for sites hosted in the US. thus one of the major downfalls of this concept (among many others). even if you were to mandate, by law, that adult sites use a .xxx domain, how would you enforce that outside of the country?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ugh

actually enforcing it can be pretty simple, its carrot and stick.

move your site to .xxx and you in an area flagged as ‘unregulated’, i.e. buyer beware etc.

essentially play ball (so to speak) and the regulator type orgainisations leave you alone.

as for how do the various international domains get decided.. e.g. who gets blah.xxx out of blah.com & blaj.co.uk.. easy blah.com.xxx & blah.co.uk.xxx

not everyone will move, many sites would have *both*, but enforce any regulations on the non .xxx and allow .xxx to be anything goes and pretty much it will sort itself out.

active regulation won’t work due to hosting outside the us & eu, but provide a free incentive and away you go.

Monkey Man says:

WOP

Another feeble attempt by some right wingers to control what that do not understand.

It’s not about regulating the internet. It’s about regulating our children; as well as teaching them to be proactive in the search for online content that is appropriate.

SPAM and unwanted solicitation is already illegal. Why not take the laws we have and focus on them? I think if we ended the SPAM, it would take care of much of the debate in this issue.

drjones says:

Re: WOP

Not even the right wingers are unified on this issue. Its interesting, because no one can quite decide if it helps or hurts porn, left or right wing. One thing usually seems to be sure.. the more technically saavy and knowledgable the people seem to be, the less favor you will find for adding another TLD (with the exception of those who stand to make money from it).

Half the right wingers seem to think it will “legitimize” porn that they want outlawed. Any thing such as this that makes “concessions” to the industry or acknowledges it as a legitimate industry is bad. On the other hand you have nutcases thinking this is actually a good way to “quarentine” adult content to a specific place on the web. Politicians love this, because they get to run around saying they are trying to “Protect the Children”.

I wish this whole thing would just go away, but it will never die. To many opportunities for money grubbing registrars hoping for a new TLD landrush, and opportunistic politicians looking for a few extra votes.

s says:

$$$

The company proposing this domain doesn’t actually believe they can accomplish the control and regulation. They are just providing a nice-sounding argument to get the proposal through because of the lucrative money-making there is to be made. No doubt there is tens/hundreds of millions to be made off this in the next 5-10 years, so what’s a few million being pumped into the proposal now.

I doubt anyone believes the regulation can be accomplished, there’s just a lock of backroom deals going on here, nothing to look at, move along.

The infamous Joe says:

The other other other white meat.

Unfortunately, Mr. Monkey Man, spam is not illegal. It’s still more or less in an “undecided” area of the law.

That being said, as physicsguy has already stated, laws for your country only work in your country.. so any server outside the country wouldn’t have to obey. It makes no difference if it’s a IP law, Copyright Law, .xxx law or spam law.

Rich Kulawiec says:

The big winners are...the registrars

Sponsoring registrars want to see this because — whether it
does what they say it’ll do or not — they’ll make a LOT of
money from it very quickly.

The money will come from three sources: (1) owners of
porn domains who will want to grab the same domain under
the .xxx TLD. This includes those porn domain owners who
have registered thousands of different combinations of
appropriate words. (2) owners of non-porn domains who
want to make sure someone else doesn’t register their
name under .xxx. (3) domain squatters trying to beat those
in (2) to the punch.

We’ve just seen this with .mobi, by the way, an absolutely
worthless, useless TLD that nobody actually needed.
The registrar has been bragging about the number of
registrations as if that’s a valid metric, when in fact all
it means is (a) they made a lot of money (b) from domain
registrants in categories 1, 2, and 3.

We’ve also seen this with .info, now so completely infested
with spammers that this morning — after blocking over 88,000
domains by hand – I finally got tired of it and blacklisted the
entire TLD. (I’ll make exceptions if and when necessary.)
I’m not alone. .info is now essentially scorched earth, following
in the footsteps of .biz (which is so useless that even most
spammers are avoiding it now). Owners of domains in those
TLDs are sitting on worthless invesments, and can thank their
own registrars for it — because it’s the registrars’ greed that
has created this problem.

So, this is another instance where Deep Throat’s admonition
to “follow the money” leads quickly to the heart of the matter:
this is nothing but an attempt by registrars to cash in
on the hysteria about porn, line their pockets, stick domain owners
with completely worthless useless junk that they either don’t
want or don’t need or both, and then repeat with whatever the
next idiotic TLD proposal is.

Anonymous Coward says:

.xxx really is a pretty pointless idea, because ICANN can’t and won’t force porn sites to use the .xxx domain, and it’s foolish to think porn sites will move there voluntarily. This undermines much of the reasoning for a porn-specific domain, since it won’t corral pornography into an online red-light district

I totally disagree. I think it’s obvious that porn sites would snatch up the xxx domains, and people would know to visit them or not (according to their preferences). What it wouldn’t do is get porn out of the .com’s entirely … but still many site owners would realize their sites are far more recognizable as the desired goods when they’re at a .xxx rather than a .com/net/org/us/co.uk/de or whatever.

James Pearce says:

Is .mobi pointless?

Yes, I can see you’re upset that dotMobi is a commercial venture, and yes, it has yet to begin its compliance programme.

But is .mobi *pointless*? It might provide the missing link that will make the mobile web become a mass-market proposition. For that reason alone, it is worth giving the benefit of the doubt to.

(Disclaimer: I’m the CTO 🙂 )

Perhaps .xxx will be a failure. Perhaps it will be a success. We can leave these things to play out through the power of market forces alone.

If .xxx works, great. If it doesn’t, I’m sure the human race will learn to move on.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...