As the name suggests, the .xxx top level domain is planned as a virtual red light district, the idea being that by grouping adult oriented material into a single TLD it would be easier to block and control access to these sites. As per the proposal, use of the .xxx TLD would be entirely optional, and it is more than likely that existing adult oriented .com sites would keep their existing .com domain names in addition to any new .xxx domain names.
Or rather, that was the idea. At the request of the U.S. government, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has postponed the launch of the TLD in response to almost 6,000 letters and e-mail received by the Commerce Department expressing concern about online pornography and the setting aside of a dedicated domain for adult oriented sites.
So, the big question now is this. Who are the bigger morons?

  1. Is it ICM Registry Inc., the primary backers of the .xx TLD, who seem to believe that a new domain will encourage the adult entertainment industry to clean up its act and adhere to new best-practices? (Although, in truth, they may not believe this at all, and may just want the registration fees associated with the new domains, which would make them entrepreneurs rather than morons, I think).
  2. Is it parents, and conservative organizations (like the Family Research Council), who apparently think that the creation of a .xxx domain would somehow make online pornography more accessible than it is today?
  3. Is it the U.S. government who, one again, have shown themselves to be purely reactionary, needing to show that they are doing something, even if that something is actually a big fat nothing?

Like it or not, online adult content is not going away any time soon. Being able to better control access to this material is an absolute necessity. As is ensuring that adult content is not unintentionally seen by those who don’t want to (or should not) see it. The amount of adult content in .com, .org. net, and any other TLDs will continue to grow, and blocking will remain just as necessary as before. As for the new domain, those seeking adult content will be able to find it just as easily as they do now, and those wanting to block it, well, those will be the easiest sites to block.
The bottom line is that a new TLD is not going to change anything one way or the other in the grand scheme of things.

11 thoughts

  1. I’m sure no one thinks that the porn sites will migrate to the .xxx TLD and leave .com and .net behind. They’ll just hoard up on the .xxx names and keep using the others. In a way that makes the conservatives right when they say it will make porn more accessible. I don’t think that is a valid reason to be against the .xxx TLD, though. So, I guess that makes choice #1 the morons with #3 coming in a close 2nd.

  2. I am a conservative, and ever since I heard about .xxx many years ago, I’ve been excited for it to become real. Again, it won’t clean up the other TLDs. But it is a LOT easier to block porn by filtering out all .xxx sites than it is to do content analysis on the other TLD sites. And I don’t believe this will make porn more available. There are literally hundreds of TLDs available out there (counting all the country specifics), so adding one more TLD is just a drop in the bucket.

  3. This makes it pretty clear that the Christian right wants to take the porn away from the grownups, not the kids.
    A government that wanted to regulate and segregate porn — rather than wage war against it — could do so very simply. Just pass a law that any web site which self-rated as adult (or registered in an xxx domain) could choose its own venue for any obcenity prosecution.
    But where’s the fundraising appeal in that?

  4. From what I have heard, the basis behind no. 2 is that by creating a special place for pornography on the internet it recognizes and perhaps validates those sites and new sites as welcome to the internet. While I don’t think that the xxx domain will increase or decrease the amount of porn on the internet, I will say that anyone with children should be very afraid to let their kids use the internet. Personally, I think if you have an adult web site that does not at least observe the basic content settings of IE then you should be charged with a crime. I’m sure if a guy on the street handed kids porn tapes or magazines, he would be swiftly prosecuted. What makes the internet any different?

  5. It’s late 2005. We now live in a world of .xxx sites. What’s new?
    1. It’s easy to block all .xxx web sites, so I can make the internet look exactly the same as it did before the advent of .xxx. It’s not better or worse. It’s the same.
    2. We need to update our search engines, configure our routers, and upgrade our browsers to block .xxx domains. So for a while, it’s actually worse.
    3. Because every techie in the world is talking about how easy it is to block .xxx, the average man on the street thinks the internet porn problem is solved – at least to an extent.
    4. Adults (and resourceful kids) have an easier time finding porn by typing “Paris Hilton site:.xxx” into Google. Or maybe they just go to google.xxx.

  6. Passing a law is a silly notion, no matter what that law is. Who’s going to regulate the company working out of Romania or the Islands who’s breaking US law?
    That being said, I agree with Yacoubean and Ben. Adding a .xxx domain isn’t going to change a thing. Just a great way for the government to spend our money on crap that doesn’t really matter.

  7. Ray,
    You would not regulate Romainia but the domain control companies.
    Also… everyone appears to be missing the point that you don’t need a domain name to address a web site, the IP will work just as easy. Note… someone has to have the IP… but using redirects and other techniques (which these guys lead the industry at channeling web traffic) seems to me that this a best partial solution only if they regulate all sites are migrated. (And who is going to come up with the "acceptable time span") Suggestion: Rather than just time to move… let the "foward" from old domain to new one for a time. Then as of say 3 or 6 months (what ever time) make fowarding to porn sites illegal.
    P.S.
    Larry… you could start a liberal John Birch society about goverment conspiracies! Get real, the government who can’t decied if same sex marriage is the right thing to do isn’t regulating ponography for adults.

  8. It’s not a conspiracy theory. Read the Family Research Council page, and you’ll see that they want the government to smash pornography, not segregate it.

  9. Did you give them a hearing to see if they have a reason for this "conspiriacy"… or is it just that you have a right and they are threatening your pursuit of happiness?

  10. This is one area where I don’t mind the Govt getting involved, making adult content available only on .xxx.
    It’s worthless as it’s written. The Govt. should say "you must use .xxx only, or pay heavy, heavy fees.

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