Why the .xxx web domain rush is a scam

Are you a 'celebrity'? How would you know? Would the general public flock to a porn site with your name on it?

What if you're Coke? Would the existence of a website called donkeycoke.xxx harm your brand? What about tenimaginativeusesforacokebottle.xxx? Googlebang.xxx? cometogetherandshoutyahoo!.xxx?

Here's one you can't have: angelinajoliedoesdallas.xxx. Some 15,000 names and unwanted words have already been blocked from featuring in .xxx domain names, including some attached to celebrities such as Jolie and Pitt and the likes of (prepare for mental image), Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair.

"We didn’t want to have the embarrassment of AngelinaJolie.xxx coming up at the launch," ICM Registry's chief executive Stuart Lawley explained.

Everyone else will have to stump up the protection money necessary to stop your name, or your brand name, being expolited by those filthy pornographers who are about to be let loose in a new patch of the internet all of their own.

Like those few terraced streets in any English town that the locals and police turn a blind eye to, the Internet now has its own 'red-light district. There's no excuse for finding yourself in an xxx domain by chance, so the reasoning goes. Minors won't be let in.

The price of keeping your name out of the gutter is between $100 to $300 dollars. If you've ever been on Big Brother, slept with someone who has or think your may do in the future, you'd better go protect yourself.

He added: ‘We banned the celebrities’ names because it’s very difficult for them to be trademarked.

So far, about 1,500 .xxx domains have been allocated to 35 porn companies ahead of the October 28 deadline.

Existing adult entertainment sites can also submit their application to reserve a spot on .xxx

The "red light" suffix is intended to make it easier to find or avoid sexually explicit material online.

ICM Registry, which is administering the launch, said it hoped to "promote a responsible approach to adult content".

Brand and IP holders wanting to register now have 50 days - a so-called "sunrise period" - to submit their application.

Companies and individuals that do not want their name associated with pornography will be able to pay a one-off fee of between $150 and $300 (£100 to £200), depending on which company they register their domain with.

Conflicts over exact matching names will go through an arbitration process.

From a business point of view it's kind of good for us because there are new names available, and that makes branding and site naming more interesting”
Jerry Barnet Adult Industry Trade Association

Companies are under no obligation to go .xxx, according to ICM Registry's chief executive Stuart Lawley.

But those that did would contribute to an overall "win, win, win" situation, with benefits for adult content providers, web users in search of pornography, and those wishing to avoid it.

"Regardless of what your personal views are on the existence of pornography on the internet, at least .xxx will give people the information they need to make a choice," said Mr Lawley.

However, Jerry Barnet, chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association, warned that anti-pornography activists would likely increase their efforts to block online adult content.

"I have mixed feeling about it," he told BBC News. "From the industry and freedom of speech point of view, I'm concerned that pro-censorship and morality campaigners will use this as an excuse to try and introduce some form of censorship.

"But from a business point of view it's kind of good for us because there are new names available, and that makes branding and site naming more interesting," he added.
Malware issues

ICM Registry does not process the applications directly. Firms must first approach a standard domain registrar in their home country, such as Go Daddy or Enom.
Red light district The .xxx is meant to become a virtual red light district

To ensure the registered porn sites do not harbour malware or present any other cyber security-related threats, ICM said they will be scanned daily by security firm McAfee - something that would make them safer to visit than many non-xxx sites.

The websites will be overseen by the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, and will be fitted with an electronic label to allow parents to adjust their browser settings and make sure children do not have access to certain sites.

After the sunrise period is over, a "land rush" period will run for 17 days, allowing prospective adult sites to register for the remaining .xxx addresses.