Third Time No Charm: ICANN Rejects XXX Domain - A Lot Happens in Two Years
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The pro-family and religious organizations haven't changed their position, even in the face of numbers from comScore Media Matrix showing that more than a third of U.S. Internet users visit porn sites every month. As time went on, though, these organizations found themselves with some very strange allies -- namely, the pornographers to which they so strongly objected.
And why would honest pornographers object to the .xxx domain? Well, as it stands now, getting a .xxx domain would be voluntary. But porn sites feared that governments would begin to mandate use of the domain once it became established. This would push porn sites into an online ghetto of sorts.
This group of dissenters had a very strong effect on ICM's application in the eyes of ICANN. ICANN has a number of criteria that a proposal for a top-level domain must meet before it can be approved. "One of the criteria is that it [must] have general support among the industry it's supposed to serve," notes Mark Kernes, a board member with the Free Speech Coalition, an industry trade group. "I have not met one single webmaster or adult video producer that is in favor of '.xxx,' and I've met a lot of them."
ICM Registry points to pre-registrations of 76,000 domain names as evidence of support. ICANN apparently found this less than compelling. Kernes believes that many of the registrations were done by site owners who simply wanted to reserve the names to prevent someone else from getting them in case the .xxx domain was approved after all.
That doesn't mean ICM chairman Stuart Lawley lacks a proper grievance in this case. "ICM has done more to demonstrate the existence of a strong community than any other application the [ICANN] board has approved," he said. "We have been singled out for special treatment. From the word 'go,' ... we were put in the slow lane." But there's more going on here than lack of community approval.
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