ICANN Moves Forward on .XXX sTLD

Matt O'Conner
TORONTO – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has announced that it has entered into technical and commercial negotiations with ICM Registry regarding the proposed adoption of the .XXX sponsored Top-Level Domain.

ICM Registry first submitted an application to act as official registry for the .XXX sTLD in 2000. ICANN has determined that ICM Registry's proposal meets the organization's criteria and can move forward.

ICM Registry is the only candidate under consideration and its approval is likely.

While ICANN Spokesman Kieran Baker called the negotiations a “significant step,” he added it is “only a step in an ongoing process.” He added that the ICANN board will make a final decision on the status of ICM Registry after negotiations have been completed. Baker declined to speculate on when the board will make its decision.

Nonetheless, Stuart Lawley, ICM Registry chairman and president, remained optimistic.

"I expect that we will begin registering the .XXX domain by the fourth quarter of this year,” Lawley said. "There will be a comprehensive intellectual property protection program tailored to support both the rights of existing adult webmasters and the wider IP community."

According to ICM Registry, the application for a .XXX domain is aimed at creating an identifiable area of the web that will help protect children from adult content while also enabling “responsible adult-entertainment website operators to self-organize and self-regulate on a voluntary basis.”

If selected, ICM Registry will manage the technical aspects of the domain, whereas the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR), a Canadian-based nonprofit founded four years ago, will act as the sponsorship and policy-delegating organization.

IFFOR also would promote the adoption and usage of the .XXX sTLD, as well as responsible business conduct within the adult community, communication between the community and other Internet stakeholders and business practices that safeguard children online and combat child pornography.

While the selling price for .XXX domains has not yet been determined, Jason Hendeles, ICM Registry vice president, said that $10 of each domain sale will be designated to IFFOR to contribute to issues facing the online adult industry, and of those proceeds, a percentage will be donated to the Association of Sites Advocating Child Protection and the battle against child pornography.