back to article Governments stonewall interwebs porn domain

The bid to create .xxx – a top-level domain just for web porn – will be tied up in red tape for at least a few more months after national governments pressured ICANN to block its approval. At this week's ICANN 39 meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, ICANN's board of directors signalled its intent to approve ICM Registry's .xxx …


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  1. Trollslayer

    A mess

    Actually more of a debacle when opposing sides want it block because it will have opposite effects.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Baptists and bootleggers

      It's called Baptists and bootleggers, meaning two wildly unlikely allies pursuing the same goal for their own reasons.

  2. Uplink

    Porn inflation... not

    "The bid has faced substantial opposition from outraged religious groups, which believe .xxx will lead to more porn."

    Because I just came from the ECB website, playing the "Economia" game, I have to say this: Do they say that there will be porn inflation? Porn will grow so fast that people won't be able to keep up with every new release? Or even better: THEY won't be able to keep up with every new release.

    "Many US-based pornographers, who believe that having a "red light district" for internet porn will lead to higher prices and invite government censorship, continue to oppose the proposed domain."

    No one makes you take up a .xxx domain for your business. .com is perfectly fine if ICANN doesn't force all the porn sites to move to .xxx. And if they filter you, learn from Wikileaks: let the Internet mirror you :D

    So the bottom line is: 1. .xxx will inflate porn; 2. .xxx will deflate porn; 1. and 2. cancel each other out, so... all good, right?

    1. Heff

      the word you are looking for here is 'yet'

      "No one makes you take up a .xxx domain for your business."

      Yet. in the Greater Sphere Of Things™ net neutrality is taking a fucking beating. content-ISPs in the Us and across Europe want to charge more for certain content. they lobby their governments and their governments lobby ICANN..e.g;

      "we refuse to invest in the infrastructure necessary to roll out 8mps/max lines to every home in the UK unless you give us a reacharound with allowing us to charge for access to the BBCs' iPlayer tech, and youtube, and let us nerf torrent traffic."

      The government doesnt want to pay for infrastructure, so its going to do its best to deal. non-internet-liberal governments (turkey, china, the islamic bloc) would love porn to be migrated to its own little ghetto online, so they can demand that their ISPs refuse to handle connections to that portion of the internet.

      its much, much easier to blacklist *.xxx than "everything with fleshtones".

      Your other, ZOMG .xxx will result in an explosion of porn are just behind the times in thinking that .xxx legitimises pornography online. I dont know what to say to these people; The internet is for porn, dude. perhaps some of their outrage is secretly borne of them living in a place where they might find their personal access to porn shuttered, so its less "there'll be an explosion of porn" and more "I'll have to justify why I should have access to a restricted service!!"

      Bottom line: .xxx shouldn't be introduced. its a cute idea. it would have been cuter to have it with the original TLD stack and have those stacks enforced; .orgs for organisations .net for network providers, .com for commerce, .gov.AA for government/country websites, and so on and so on and so on... but if ICANN isn't going to regulate the 'proper usage' of TLDs, (something which is now an effectively impossible task) ICANN should NOT introduce one solely for pornography as all they would be doing is handing individual governments and ISPs a method for blacklisting and charging for extra content, as well as creating a problem in the future when governments start to lobby for "this porn problem to go away" - squeaky wheel gets the grease, and all that.

      seriously ; you're creating a ghetto online for porn; for what purpose? where is the need? a sector of the marketplace and the people who lobby you find it objectionable? whats next, china wants a .dem TLD for pro-democracy websites? well, they have what, 2 billion people, you should totally treat that request seriously, right?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They don't want mirrors

      "Let the Internet mirror you" isn't really a solution for those who want to make money by selling porn (or selling ads next to the porn), and they're the ones who are worried about being blocked.

  3. Paul Hatch

    Will lead to more porn NOT

    How did they work that one out.

    I doubt even the porn industry wants a .xxx TLD

    As If some pied piper is going to migrate most of the porn onto its own TLD as pressure would then be applied to ISPs to block the TLD.

    So I doubt will be selling large coffee mugs or Tankards anytime soon

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: wants a .xxx TLD

      Agreed. Soft porn already has a home under .com, protected by US laws on free speech, and hard porn comes from dotted decimal addresses, protected by the authorities inability to keep up. The only plausible business model for this .xxx proposal is institutionalised blackmail.

      Consider: Steve Jobs spends two nanoseconds deciding that a porn domain isn't part of Apple's business plan. Someone else then buys and starts punting "I Touch" products. Steve then regrets spending $10 to avoid all the bad publicity. Other trademark holders learn from his experience.

      Maybe this will be the TLD where owners finally learn that you don't have to buy MyTradeMark.TLD every time a new TLD comes out, and where the general public finally learn that MyTradeMark.TLD isn't necessarily owned by whoever owns that trademark in their country.

  4. skeptical i
    Thumb Down

    Prefer truth in advertising?

    I would assume, naively, that it would be in everyone's best interests to have porn on the .xxx domain, leaving the other domains free of it (i.e., so that '' will not give unwanted surprises to those looking for ... although there ain't much daylight 'twixt politicians and whores, is there).

    Wouldn't those who piously wring their hands over /the children/ prefer a separate clearly- labelled playroom on the 'net for porn instead of having it interspersed throughout the other TLDs for young minds to accidentally trip over? History clearly shows us that wishing something away does not work very well.

    1. Franklin
      Thumb Down


      "I would assume, naively, that it would be in everyone's best interests to have porn on the .xxx domain..."

      Nobody can even decide on a definition for what the word "porn" means, so having all porn use the .xxx domain is a bit ambitious.

      What would it mean to have all porn use an .xxx domain? Who would decide what sites should and should not? Would it then be considered some sort of offense if someone hosts porn on some other domain?

      What if someone hosts a sex blog on WordPress or Tumblr? Will those services now be obligated to punt it over to a .xxx domain? What about sites that have educational content on human sexuality or medicine--some folks, mostly among the religious right, consider that to be "porn." To a .xxx for them? Would the fact that a particlar Web page is hosted on an .xxx domain be proof that the page is in fact pornographic?

      And who would be expected to foot the bll for this? The .xxx domains will reportedly cost about $65 per year. If I host a site that some religious activist believes is pornographic, is it now my responsibility to punt up the $65 to keep registering it?

      How many folks would have to agree that a site is pornographic before it gets moved over to a .xxx? If folks in Mississippi think that a site is pornographic but folks in Connecticut disagree, or of folks in Saudi Arabia think that a site is pornographic but folks in Great Britain disagree, does it need to be moved or not? Or is it strictly voluntary, and only the owner of the Web site determines whether or not it's on a .xxx domain? And if that's the case, given that a .xxx costs six times more than a .com, why would a Webmaster want to host under a .xxx?

    2. Frantisek Janak

      Porn is not a problem

      It's a strange world when a naked breast is considered more obscene than a naked blade. I, for one, demand a .gore domain. Porn's not a problem- I was exposed to porn as an early teen and I grew up just alright. I didnt rush things and started having sex when I was really ready..and hey, porn is good education!

    3. Heff
      Thumb Down


      those pious hand-wringers would be better served by accompanying their children online, perhaps realising that absentee parenting and leaving the children to be raised by television and the internets isnt such a supersmart plan anyway.

      I'd point them in the direction of windows* 7 and Vistas UAC controls, or any of the well promoted 'internet nanny' programs. of course, that would require that these whiny, spineless responsibility-averse mouth breathers take 10 minutes out of their day to learn something about how PCs and the internet work, rather than writing a whiny letter to the Daily Fail.

      *lets not kid ourselves. if you bitch about your kids getting access to porn on the internet you probably dnt even know alternate OS's even exist

    4. Tom 35


      Wouldn't those who piously wring their hands over /the children/ be out of a job?

    5. Graham Marsden

      @Prefer truth in advertising?

      Once again I have to point out the flaw in this argument.

      I run a business making bondage gear. I don't have "porn" on my site, but I do have "adult content" (the difference, if you want to make one, being that it's not designed to encourage you to wank over it, but to buy the products)

      I already have had to register and pay for a bunch of domains based on my Affordable Leather Products business name (the only one I don't have, .com, is currently sitting parked and doing nothing because someone wants to sell it for over three thousand dollars!) if there's an .xxx domain as well, I'm going to have to register *another* one and probably, because it's .xxx that's going to be at a premium price because, "well, it's porn, so we can charge more for it, can't we?" and that's presuming, of course, someone doesn't try to cybersquat on it before I can buy it!

      I'm not being "untruthful" by having a domain instead of a .xxx domain, but it's certainly going to cost me more even though I already have a "Warning - Adult Content" front page and the site is registered with Cyber Sitter, Net Nanny and so on.

    6. Mephistro

      Ahhh, the irony!

      So the prudish types want to prevent the .XXX domain even though it could provide an easy way to protect children, clergymen, public servants and company employees from watching porn.

      My take is that it would also prevent access to porn also for the higher echelons of said prudish types. Hence they had to find ANY excuse to prevent it from happening. :)

      And the online porn industry just wants to be able to show -or inflict- their product to as many prospective users as possible, without regarding their age or beliefs. It reminds me of the Tobbacco Companies a few decades ago, targeting their advertisements at children and teenagers by 'casually' placing big tobacco advertisements near every school.

      Yeah, in the end this is a story about tossers, not about porn. :-)

      1. Graham Marsden

        @Ahhh, the irony!

        First of all you make the mistake of thinking that the "online porn industry" is the same as the online *adult* industry (it's not) and secondly trying to compare the tobacco companies who *knew* that their product was harmful to people to either is utter nonsense since despite many years of trying, *nobody* has provided any scientifically verifiable proof that porn or adult content actually causes any harm at all.

        The vast majority of the adult industry has no desire to "inflict" its product on anyone who doesn't want to see it, unlike the "moral minority" who want to inflict *their* views on everyone by saying that "we should be the ones who decide what is or isn't safe or acceptable for you to view".

        If you want to make sure that you don't see porn, invest in the free blocking software that is available. If you want to make sure your children don't see it, take some RESPONSIBILITY for the upbringing of your offspring.

    7. BioTube


      Pornography's unlikely to disappear from TLDs, especially since the pron industry doesn't like the idea.

    8. JDC
      Thumb Down

      Very naive

      It's very naive to assume it's in "everyone's best interests" - given there's no hard and fast (oo'er) international definition of "porn" there's no way to decide what should and shouldn't be forced on XXX domains.

      To take a simple example, nudity is no great problem on Spanish TV or cinema - yet in the US or Saudi any website showing a topless woman would quite possibly be considered porn. Are you going to force a Spanish director like Almodovar to use an XXX site to promote his latest film?

    9. Anonymous Coward

      you are correct that you're naive

      as all it will do is make it easy for governments and ISPs to arbitrarily exclude you from a part of the internet

      what next? all political parties to be forced onto a single TLD?

      all media outlets?

      1. Kevin Reader
        Thumb Up

        Thats a great idea...

        All politics should be relegated to ".lie" or for the more conspiracy minded ".nwo".

        This would also prevent me having to read exhaustive complaints about the "cuts", (nb. i abore the cuts, but wonder where the money would come from to avoid them - oh that's right more tax), without the same complainers wondering how our previous "socialist (sic)" government a) bankrupted the treasury and b) so quietly bailed out the bankers....

        "socialists rescue international merchant banks and bankers".... not the headline I remember seeing, nor any riots in the street. Guess that's why the banks gave up _before_ the tories got in.

      2. Vic


        > what next? all political parties to be forced onto a single TLD?

        An excellent idea. I recommend .local... :-)


  5. -tim

    This is a solution to the wrong problem.

    This will cause all kinds of problems for everyone with a .com address since someone will register the .xxx version (look at how many www[nodot] domains exist). There is also the issue of what is porn since that varies even between towns in the USA and there are radical differences when countries get involved. Also what happens to the material that is legal in some areas and not others? The only way this can exist is if every .com owners is given a .xxx and told they have to turn off one of the two but they will hold both forever.

    1. mark l 2 Silver badge

      giving the xxx

      the only problem with giving the .xxx away to the owner of the .com is what happens when you have and and if they are owned by 3 seperate companies. who gets the .xxx domain?

      Any sort of legislation to force porn onto xxx domain would take at least a decade to come in but then as others have pointed out where do you draw the line on whats porn and what isnt. Is a topless page 3 model porn? Not in the UK but in other countries it would be. then of course you have got the russian and eastern european webmasters who really aren't going to give a toss and put their porn out on whatever tld they want

  6. Anonymous Coward

    So, if that flies, can we move all world legislatures

    ...over to .bs and be honest about that much, then?

    Anonymous, even though the pen may be mightier than the gunpowder - when adequately applied, albeit.

  7. James Katt

    Religious Right and Pornographers both oppose it

    If both the Religious Right and Pornographers oppose having a porn domain, then there should be no porn domain. Period.

  8. Dazed and Confused

    Think of the kids

    Why not have a .kids domain and make it an offense for anyone under the age of 18 to be allowed to access any site not in the kids domain? You'll need to make us parents responcible for not allowing our offspring to wonder outside the santitise playground.

    I suspect that the idea of a .xxx domain would be just as popular.

    Sounds like the only people in the world that want it are those looking to make a business out of selling domains in it.

  9. blackworx

    Q: What have .xxx and shit soft porn got in common?

    A: People who hate porn hate it and people who love porn hate it.

  10. Atli

    Pointlessness 4tw! (Kind of like requiring this title!)

    This is kind of pointless, as the .xxx TLD would be optional (how the hell would they enforce it if it weren't?) and there is already so much porn out there that I doubt even the religious groups have managed to watch it all.

    All this would do is allow people to find porn more easily (because its SOOO difficult as it is) and give over-protective parents some false peace of mind. ("I blocked the .xxx TLD and thus prevented my kids from watching porn. How smart am I?!")

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    There's porn on the Internet?

    Who knew?

  12. Jim_2

    titles are annoying

    I see no major benefit or drawback to .xxx. You can't force porn sites to migrate to it, and even if some did, the only benefit I can see is that it makes a net nanny's job slightly easier. Then again, when people set up non-porn .xxx sites the blocklist will still have to be on a per site basis.

    I hope anti-porn people know that porn is like food. You eat what you want but there is a limit, and I'm sure those that want to meet that limit are already there.

    Please don't think of the children. Watch adult porn instead ;)

  13. ratfox
    Thumb Down

    Bad idea

    Essentially, this is only a good idea for the the domain registrars who are going to be able to sell some more domain names...

  14. Real Ale is Best

    Ha ha ha ha!

    "The bid has faced substantial opposition from outraged religious groups, which believe .xxx will lead to more porn."

    More porn? Are these religious groups really so stupid to realise that the Internet is awash with more porn than anyone can watch, right now? I mean, even right now, its not exactly difficult to find, is it?

    <sings>The Internet is for porn. The Internet is for porn. Why you think the web was born? Porn, porn, porn!</sings>

  15. Russ Tarbox

    This is such a load of bullshit.

    Like a .xxx domain is going to make any difference to the amount of porn on the Internet. If anything it'll make it easier to block from work/kids etc. Morons the bloody lot of 'em.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No need

    Nobody has to use the current root servers they are only offered up as the default. Anyone wanting freedom can run their own and start the whole domain rush all over again..

    ARIN/RIPE however have no such simple alternatives but they are doing a simple job professionaly and anyone who wants to can sit on top of it or start their own from scratch. Getting a big ISP to trust you would be difficult.

  17. LaeMing


    We be wantin them barrels of rum on tha XXX domain.

  18. poohbear

    Trees and forests


    Once again the masses can't see the forest for the trees. The problem is not .xxx. The problem is that the 3-letter domains are not restricted to US owners/sites which was originally implied (just like every other country except UK prints their name on postage stamps, the UK does not because they invented them...)

    Every other country in the world has their own domains under their country code except for the US, and that is where the problem is. (Yes I know there is a .us but there is no or as etc)

    If the US had to restrict their activities to .us domains then this problem would largely go away... if they wanted a then let them have it, it would not affect the rest of the world.

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Why, this really is a -BAD- idea...

    I really have been involved in addressing this issue for years, and if you support free-speech (including "sexual content/information" being, realistically, accessible to "adults")... then this really is a bad idea.

    The simple fact is that those that support this ".XXX" TLD the most, almost invariably end-up devolving into a diatribe, railing against such material at the most basic levels. Their goal is clear. And, it isn't protecting any "material" THEY find "objectionable", OR, defending adult choices and freedoms.

    Put simply, if, such a TLD ("ghetto") were created, it WOULD soon be legislatively required that "adult content" must be parked within its borders (despite the technical, and social, impossibilities of ever actually attaining such a final goal). However, the push WOULD be made (to "...protect children", and placate those that live in dire fear of having to deal with reality... and other people's freedoms).

    And, once any of this type of material was identified, and isolated, it really would be the simplest matter (for PRIGS, PRUDES, and POLITICIANS) to pressure (both legislatively, and economically)... those (free adults) that wish to access it... restrict those (commercial, and private, interests) that produce it... AND, punitively-control those (ISPs, and backbone-providers) that merely provide access to it. And, it would almost inevitably spiral into an ever expanding web of censorship, manipulation, and re-purposing. That's just the way these things always end-up working-out.

    Frankly, in my opinion, there is NO upside, and the only bright-spot in this whole situation is the knee-jerk reaction of the most narrow-minded, self-righteous, twits... that literally cannot see past their-own noses... long enough to realize the true motivations, and censorship-goals, for this entire charade.

  20. Shonko Kid

    I just don't get it

    The only people that stand to gain from a .xxx TLD are ICANN, so they can fleece existing providers (again) in the goldrush migration. But are the old, existing domains, suddenly going to vanish? I doubt it. If a site owner finds He is being blocked from a .xxx domain, they'll just focus on the exiting .com ones. You can't effectively censor on domain names, they're only good for black/whitelists. If a punter finds he's always getting 'not found' errors from typing .xxx into his browser, he'll either google to find out his ISP has configured their DNS to not serve them up, and switch DNS server, or go elsewhere for his pr0n.

    If this was going to clean up the internet, then I'd suggest we quickly adopt other TLDs such as .spam, .trojan, .warez, etc.

    "The bid has faced substantial opposition from outraged religious groups, which believe .xxx will lead to more porn."

    More porn??!? *pffft* Do these people think that there's only a few saucy pictures on the net? Where have they been hiding the past decade?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All the good porn.... on usenet anyway, so who f*cking cares about a web .xxx domain?!

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Lets filter porn via the ISP.

    On the application form ask for the users religious beliefs. If a religious belief is stated, they get sandboxed!

    Sorted, normal people can continue to use the web as they see fit, and the religious types get the biased, censored view they deem acceptable.

    A .xxx domain is then not needed.

  23. a_c_g_t

    What about the children

    Will someone think about the children.

    I really don't see a problem with .XXX domains I mean easy to filter at your own router easy to fine those who use .other to peddle adult entertainment.

    If I as an adult want to wander the virtual redlight district I should be allowed to. Even then like other posters have said there's always to have my tube sock fun on.

    so I as an adult don't care but will make it easier for me to filter it out of sight of my kids until they are old enough to enjoy a bit of gentlmans relish.

  24. a_c_g_t


    Hummmmmm I posted without thinking. What is porn

    maybe we should have a number of domains







    Wait a godam minute it's starting to look a lot like usenet tree list ROFL

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