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Icann reconsiders adult domain

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A belated yes for .XXX?

Stalled plans to create a specialist domain name for pornographic content are back on the agenda, it has emerged.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has confirmed that it will reconsider .XXX at its meeting in Nairobi, Kenya on March 12th 2010, reports the BBC. If the project gets the green light, the adult industry will be able to compete for new premium domains although there would be no obligation to switch from .com addresses.

It is almost a decade since .XXX was first proposed. Icann originally gave permission for the generic top-level domain (gTLD) in 2005 but performed a u-turn two years later. At the time, pressure from conservative lobby groups in the US was widely suspected of influencing the decision, although there was a suggestion that some adult websites feared it would marginalise their content.

A second chance for .XXX

Since then, an arbitration panel of retired judges at the International Centre for Dispute Resolution concluded that Icann’s decision was “not consistent with the application of neutral, objective and fair documented policy” and should be looked at again. ICM Registry, which submitted the original application, would be given exclusive rights to market the gTLD should it be approved.

Stuart Lawley, chairman and president of ICM Registry, said: “If the contract is signed, we could be selling names by the end of the year. Those that do want to see it, can; those that don’t can filter it out.”

Icann is a non-profit organisation responsible for coordinating the internet’s addressing system. It currently handles all 21 generic top-level domains, although .com, .edu, .gov, .int, .mil, .net. org and .arpa actually predate its formation in 1998. The Nairobi meeting will discuss the creation of several new extensions, including internationalised domain names, .god, .sex and .gay.

Written by Richard Frost

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