Why Your Business Should Care About .XXX Domains

Last Updated Aug 12, 2011 11:12 AM EDT

.XXX domains are coming to the Web: ICM Registry will launch the new top-level domain (TLD) next month. ICM claims the goal is to protect kids while organizing pornography on the Web. In fact, .XXX domains are little more than a money grab by domain companies that will do little to actually keep children safe.
Regardless, it's happening right now, and the new domains could very well affect your business and cost you a significant amount of money -- even if you aren't in the adult industry. Here's what you need to know:

1. You have two months to scoop up your .XXX domain equivalent
From September 7 to October 28, the so-called Sunrise Period allows current domain owners to either:
  • Buy the domain for $99.99/annually with a one-time $100 processing fee. This is called "opting in".
  • Block the .XXX counterpart of your domain (walmart.xxx, for instance) so that neither you nor any one else can use it -- for a one-time $199.99 fee. The .XXX domain will be permanently inactive.
2. It pays to shop around
Keep in mind that these are the minimum prices, as the middlemen selling you the domain name can charge what they like. Today, the adult business pub XBiz (link not safe for work) says domain seller GoDaddy is charging $209.99 to lock in a .XXX name, while competitor Landrush is doing the minimum $199.99.

3. Be prepared to spend $200 (or more) for every variation of your domain name
There is no blanket plan or discount for multiple domains under the same umbrella. If you were running Warner Bros. (TWX) and wanted to defend all your websites, every Harry Potter movie minisite would have to be registered separately, and so on, and so on.

4. .XXX isn't the only new top-level domain on its way
According to Mashable, hundreds of potential top-level domains will be available soon:

ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the international authority over top-level domain names, has approved the expansion of generic TLDs which will allow companies and organizations to create domains for their brands (such as .coke) or simply create generic names (such as .car or .green).


ICM expects about 500 new top-level domains to arrive by next year. So if you think .XXX is fun, just wait.

5. If a porn company is using your .XXX name, you can report the abuse. The bigger your brand, the faster it'll get handled
Each case is researched by an outside consulting firm hired by ICM. If it involves a well-known brand, ICM itself will take the offending website down within 48 hours.

6. .XXX isn't going away
ICM is planning an $8 million .XXX advertising and awareness campaign. Might as well deal with the domain drama sooner rather than later.

Photo courtesy of PinkMoose
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