Frager Factor

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Guest Post: Mike Mann — Sex.com Investor on The .XXX Domain Drama

After six years of effort from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers of trying to put porn in its personal space online, it took only months after the actual release of the adult .xxx domain for those in the domain market to expose something else: its failure. With time, the tale being told about .xxx domains has less to do with corralling the porn industry and more to do with protecting brands. Sure, newer porn sites snatched the new domain for opportunity, but legitimate porn sites have little to no interest in ever making the transition—and the companies who happen to be actually purchasing the domain are just safeguarding their good name. It is becoming apparent that these “dirty” domains are being registered for defensive purposes.

The Domain Defense

Although not ICANN’s intent, critics argue that the adult domain market has become a costly measure for those not in the adult entertainment industry. A lot of buyers for .xxx domains have turned out to be cautious companies looking to prevent others from ruining their reputation. Back in December during a presale for the designated porn domains, companies like Nike and Pepsi purchased a variety of domains that could be associated with their products in order to preserve their brand. With a .xxx domain, users even have to literally type in the triple ‘x’ in order to get to the URL. No companies truly believe Internet users will directly search for www.Nike.xxx, but it has been a $200 per domain safety measure.

Even more popular, universities who are adamant about shielding their school from smut jumped on purchasing these domains. Companies, people, and universities alike have brainstormed potential naughty addresses and bought them just to block them. The thing is all those who fall in the previous categories plan to do nothing with the site other than ensure the safety of their images.

The Porn Predicament

While some companies scramble to save their sites, the online porn industry remains concerned with censorship. Having a .xxx domain can make it easier for people to identify and block porn, which is precisely the point of the ICANN’s plan. However, as an industry that flourishes based on users who unintentionally find themselves on a porn URL, the potential censorship problems can take a serious toll on business.

While companies not in the adult entertainment industry are forking out cash to protect their name, a lot of big names in the porn industry are not interested in spending the extra dough to cross over. Some big wigs in the adult entertainment industry own thousands of domains in the .com realm, and when purchasing a .xxx domain is about $99, these same companies think the switch is pointless and costly considering the potential restrictions. This does not, however, completely stop others seeking opportunity from taking advantage of the new extension.

The Future .XXX Forecast

Because the .xxx domain is still relatively new, ICANN and others are still waiting for the extension to gain real traction, but regardless of differing opinions on the matter, experts at DomainMarket.com said the new territory has undoubtedly brought in controversy that may continue. The adult entertainment industry cries about potential censorship today, but there is also the chance that this is one step toward stronger regulation. The future could also include mandatory adult domain name registration, in which case owning a number of adult entertainment website domains could be a solid strategy to consider.



About Mike Mann:
Philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Mike Mann founded BuyDomains.com, a very valuable domain company, as well as numerous other companies through his WashingtonVC Internet business incubator. Mike also founded and launched GrassRoots.org and The Make Change Trust. He also authored the popular EBook, "Make Millions and Make Change for Entrepreneurs and Non-Profits." Today he's working on Phone.com, a next gen telecommunications company based on the name he acquired in the aftermarket. He was an investor in Sex.com and recently featured here as one of Domainings Most fascinating Players for 2011

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