PVV – .xxx & some fun for Friday (the 13th!)

So many many moons ago (back in June when PVV was still on blogspot!) I wrote about .xxx, the hotly contested sponsored top level domain (sTLD) currently being pushed by ICM registry. In case you missed it, here’s a quick and not-so-dirty summary of what .xxx is.

Unlike generic top level domains (gTLD), sTLDs are intended to serve and/or represent specific communities. For a mere US$45K, a third party can propose a new sTLD to the government sanctioned non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). ICANN reviews the proposal, and, if approved, the same third party (not ICANN) manages the domain. Persons wanting a particular sTLD in their url must meet the criteria for “specific community served” set forth by whatever version of the proposal is finalized.

In the case of .xxx, the for-profit company ICM Registry (led by CEO Stuart Lawley) is the third party.  Because they were able to come up with the ginormous fee necessary to make an sTLD proposal in the first place, ICM Registry is currently developing language, etc that identifies who exactly is a member of the specific community that will be served by .xxx

First problem – Stuart Lawley gets to decide who and what constitutes porn?! And he’s responsible for monitoring and managing it?! Umm… what?!!

(pictured: Stuart Lawley)

Now, ICM Registry’s proposal has been shut down time and again by ICANN over the past six years, but Lawley keeps coming back with new and fantastic proposal edits. One consistent component to ICM Registry’s .xxx proposal though is the domain fee – each url will cost $60 a piece, and certainly that fee is annual. 

Thus, second problem – Stuart Lawley is going to make some serious cash from this little entrapment trick, dontcha think?  I mean, every adult company with a significant .com presence will be forced to purchase (and renew) their .xxx equivalent in order to protect their brand.  When you think about that, it’s no wonder Lawley’s been at this for so long.

Get it? If not, see some additional detail here.

As you can likely see, .xxx would cause some serious problems for the adult film industry; and needless to say they’re not taking Lawley’s plan lying down.

To these ends, the Free Speech Coalition organized a panel this past Saturday at the AVN show in Florida.  Industry leaders discussed the problematic proposal, explained key issues and potential effects, and updated the audience on new developments.

One interesting issue discussed centered on the lack of industry support for .xxx juxtaposed with ICM Registry’s claim that, as of this very moment, 174,432 .xxx domains have been pre-bought up (like hotcakes!).  If these two statements are in fact true, this may mean that industry insiders are not being honest about not supporting .xxx, that they are buying up domains in a panicked effort to protect their brands, or that others outside the industry are the ones doing the purchasing. (pictured: some members of last Saturday’s panel; for more details, click here

My sense is that it’s certainly possible that industry insiders may be buying the domains while simultaneously not supporting .xxx and/or that industry outsiders and newbies may be jumping in on .xxx the action. I say “may” because at this point it’s all speculative – Lawley hasn’t produced receipts or purchase orders to substantiate his sales claims, nor has he made it clear how he is filtering the domain requests on the basis of “specific community served” standards at this point.

Industry insiders have also begun their own informative truth-about-.xxx-type campaign at dotxxxopposition.com.  They screened the super-sassy satirical .xxx – The Movie! at Saturday’s panel.  Check it out –

ICM Registry, Stuart Lawley, and .xxx are likely not going the way of Google Wave anytime soon, and clearly much collaborative effort is needed to shut this get-richer-quicker charlatan and his entourage down. The adult film industry is mobilizing, but what I’m left wondering is – when will the mainstream companies join in?

“Why would a mainstream company care about .xxx?” you ask.

Well, presumably only entities peddling porno smut can get a .xxx url; mainstream companies do not have access to them. But when someone clever starts a mouse costume fetish porn site called Disney.xxx, I imagine quite a few other someones are gonna wish they had helped the industry out.

Questions? Comments? Email me!

You may quote anything herein with the following attribution: “Reprinted from Porn Valley Vantage, copyright © Chauntelle Anne Tibbals, PhD (www.pornvalleyvantage.com).”

Porn Valley Vantage – Critical Commentary on the Adult Film Industry

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