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WEB HOSTING NEWS

Waiting for the .xxx Domain
By: Terri Wells
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    2005-09-14

    Table of Contents:
  • Waiting for the .xxx Domain
  • The Rationale for .xxx
  • The Politics of .xxx
  • .xxx from a Web hoster’s Perspective

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    Waiting for the .xxx Domain - The Rationale for .xxx


    (Page 2 of 4 )

    Online, there is currently nothing that is quite comparable to hiding X-rated material under a plain cover behind a register. There are certain steps web surfers can take to avoid seeing pornographic material, but these offer less-than-ideal solutions. For example, parents can install filtering software on their home computers to help prevent their children from accidentally (or even deliberately) stumbling across salacious sites. Such software often needs to be updated regularly because of the way it works – and clever teens can sometimes figure out how to circumvent it.

    Another “trick” one can try is to simply avoid any website that sounds as if it might host adult content, based on its URL. That will filter out many hardcore sites…but still leave sites whose URLs feature the names of adult movie stars or models. I sometimes wonder whether a reader of some of my articles here at Developer Shed has ever hunted down a site with my name in the URL, looking for more of my work, only to be…disappointed, or at least surprised. (For the record, I am not the Terri Wells who was once Playboy’s Playmate of the Year. Honest).

    Honest adult website proprietors, or those who are most interested in earning money from their content, institute their own versions of the plain brown cover over the material. The “Do not click if you are not over the age of 21 or are easily offended by adult material” warning is de rigor these days, particularly for adult retail websites. Also, some adult sites require users to pay a subscription fee to see the hard content – and few people who are too young to see such material have the credit cards required to pay an online subscription fee.

    The key point about all this is that honest adult website owners take these steps. Not all of them are honest, as is true in any business. The ways the dishonest ones will actually trick users into visiting their sites and paying for content are both legion and legendary. Adult sites pioneered many online advertising techniques, including those annoying pop-ups and pop-unders. Plus – ironically enough – it is possible for your computer to catch a virus or other electronic nastiness from some adult websites. And some dishonest adult site owners aren’t as careful as they should be about the ages of their models – or deliberately depict underage models. This is illegal for users to even look at (to say nothing of the trauma of the models), and gives honest site owners in this business a bad name, since many conservatives tar all pornographic material with the same brush.

    The .xxx domain is supposed to change all this, or at least help to solve many of the problems. Owners of adult websites would voluntarily choose to purchase a domain name with a .xxx suffix. In addition to paying a fee, they would be required to hold their site to certain standards, such as no child pornography. Web surfers who wished to avoid sites with hardcore adult content would be able to do so more easily. Conversely, those who wished to find adult content online would also have an easier time – which might explain why the latest attempt to created a .xxx sponsored top level domain has hit a snag.

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