On Wednesday, Registrar ICM Registry announced that the dot-XXX sponsored top-level domain (sTLD) for the adult entertainment industry is open for registration.
The domain was approved by the board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in June last year, and then finalized in March.
The domain is made possible thanks to ICANN's rules for "sponsored" TLDs, through which domains have been created by interest groups. Other examples include dot-coop, for cooperative organizations, and dot-museum.
Registrations begin with a 50 day so-called Sunrise period, ending on Oct. 28, that gives businesses inside and outside of the adult industry an exclusive chance to register for dot-XXX or exclude their names from it, according to ICM. The Sunrise A period registers interest from the adult community, while the Sunrise B period, running concurrently, is open to companies outside the adult industry, it said.
After the close of Sunrise period, a "land rush" period will commence on Nov. 8 and will run for 17 days, where businesses from the adult entertainment industry will have premium access to remaining web addresses, following which general availability will ensue.
ICM Registry said that dot-XXX will be good for consumers of adult material, for adult entertainment providers and for those wishing to avoid adult content.
All dot-XXX sites will be scanned daily by McAfee for malware, and will also be tagged by Metacert's content-filtering service for easier identification.
The creation of the domain has been difficult. At the time of the ICANN board's approval, then-board member Rita Rodin Johnston questioned whether there was a real sponsored community.
Also, the board was not unanimously in favor of creating the dot-XXX domain: ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom and then-board member Jean-Jacques Subrenat both abstained.
In a statement after the vote, Beckstrom explained his abstention, expressing doubts about the advice the board had been given on the project.
The domain has also met with opposition from the adult industry itself, which fears that the dot-XXX domain will lead to more censoring and increase the cost of doing business with no additional revenue. Also, it will do nothing to prevent children from accessing adult content, but instead make it easier for children to find it. Overall, the adult industry considers ICM's dot-XXX unwelcome, unwanted and unnecessary, according to letter written by Diane Duke, executive director at adult industry trade association Free Speech Coalition.
Most of the companiesthat have pre-registered dot-XXX domains are not related the adult industry, but are registering and paying to protect their trademarks.