ICANN Rejects .XXX

Matt O'Conner
MARINA DEL REY, Calif. — The ongoing saga of .XXX may finally be closed as ICANN’s Board of Directors today voted against the proposed agreement with ICM Registry for the adults only sponsored top-level domain.

According to ICANN, ICM Registry had requested that the Board vote on the issue at a Wednesday meeting, and the Board voted nine to five against the proposed agreement.

ICANN posted news of the decision on its website early Wednesday evening, but offered no details, other than to say the Board’s discussion focused on “the criteria for the sTLD, especially for sponsorship, and the terms of the contract proposed by ICM, including compliance issues related to key terms associated with public policy concerns.”

The Internet oversight group said additional details regarding the vote will be forthcoming later in the week.

ICM Registry began its bid for the .XXX sTLD six years ago, and ICANN had initially approved moving forward with the proposal last June, but quickly reversed the decision after the U.S. Commerce Department, which oversees ICANN, requested further review of the application. It was a poorly kept secret that conservative groups had asked the Bush Administration to pressure ICANN to reconsider the idea of creating an online red light district and legitimizing online adult entertainment. In an ironic twist, the government inadvertently answered the wishes of many adult webmasters, who worried that the domain would open the door to mandatory migration of all adult websites. In March, Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., and Mark Pryor, D-Ark., introduced legislation that would establish a mandatory .XXX top-level domain. The FSC has raised questions about the constitutionality of the bill.