In a move that pleases anti-pornography lobbies but alarms advocates of free speech, it looks like pornographic sites will soon have access to their own ‘red-light district’ within the web.
It is reported that ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), the body that decides which Top Level Domain (TLD) names such as .co.uk or .com can be added to the internet, has announced that it will start the ball rolling on having the .xxx (dotxxx) domain name approved.
The company that wants to actually administer the domain and sell registrations is ICN Registry, which is run by Stuart Lawley a British Entrepreneur. ICM have been fighting a ten year battle to get the domain recognised and it looks like their wish will now come true.
New domains can be money-spinners as people rush to grab the best names and this domain may spark a bit of a bidding war for many site names. Sex.com and porn.com are currently two of the hottest names around and porn.com recently sold for $12 million. As well as this, according Internet Pornography Statistics over $3,000 is spent every second on internet pornography and a quarter of all searches includes the word sex, which is the most searched word.
Whilst many see this as a good move so people can get what they see and search for, many see this as the thin end of a censorship wedge. Many pornography site owners also see this as a negative move. This is because as soon as the domain is registered there will be moves by politicians to force sites onto the .xxx domain and there will also be a huge new industry formed in providing ‘anti-.xxx’ software for home and work computers. In fact it could become law that all computers be sold with the ant-.xxx filter switched on.
Then there is the question of what constitutes pornography, it would be hard to define and there would be many grey areas. Or would it be used more widely as a place to put sites the establishment does not agree with? Also, what would we call the new domain? Dotxxx, Dotx, DotSex, Dot3X, DotXcubed?
The fact that sex is such a widely searched term should tell its own story. Maybe our continual search for ways to segregate it from our general lives indicates that we still have not come to terms with that which creates us.