Registration opens for new .XXX top-level domain

September 6, 2011

The XXX TLD: A solution in search of a problem?

Starting tomorrow, members of the adult Sponsored Community who are verifiable trademark holders can apply for domains in the latest Top-Level Domain (TLD) .XXX. Back in March, 2011, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the group that manages top-level domains (e.g. .com, .org and .net) approved the new .XXX TLD.

The new TLD, managed by Florida based ICM Registry LLC, is intended to serve companies in organizations in the wide range of "Adult" industries. The question among industry insiders lean toward is this a solution in search of a problem?

Many in the adult industry are happy with their current TLD domains, and with the prices around ten to twenty times what they are currently paying, those with many domains question if there will be any payoff for anyone other than the registrars. And at the prices being charged, around $200 for the first year to early register, and around $100 a year after that, my guess is it will be a very profitable venture for ICM Registry.

In addition, moving to a single TLD would allow adult websites to be easily monitored and filtered, with fears restrictive countries might even block the entire TLD.

Who should register XXX TLD domains?

Would I recommend registering .XXX domains for Adult industry companies? Without knowing how the new TLD will be accepted, I would likely recommend registering the main domain, especially if a competitor might register it. Also, if a desired domain was not available as a .COM, this might be a chance to pick up a better domain, and worth the cost.

Somewhat troublesome is that there is a mechanism in place for place to allow trademark owners to block registration of a .XXX domain for ten years for around $200. Obviously, there is an expectation that companies will want to protect their trademarks and other intellectual property, and this is less expensive than registering a .XXX domain for ten years, and bound to be a great moneymaker for the registrars.

Is it worth it to protect your IP by paying for this block service? For most, probably not, though if I was making the decision for Leatherman Tool Group, maker of the ubiquitous multi-tool, I would try to block leatherman.xxx.

If you decide to register, or block a .XXX domain, for companies based in the United States, there are a number of registrars available, including GoDaddy.com and Network Solutions. Prices are consitantly very high, compared to .COM domains, but do vary from regisrar to registrar (for example Go Daddy is around $100/year, while Network Solutions is close to $130/yr for General Availability registration), so shop around.

Important dates for registering .XXX domains

  • Sunrise AT [09/07/2011–11/28/2011]: members of the adult Sponsored Community who are verifiable trademark holders can apply for .XXX domain names.
  • Sunrise AD [09/07/2011–11/28/2011]: members of the adult Sponsored Community who are verifiable domain holders can apply for .XXX domain names.
  • Sunrise B [09/07/2011–11/28/2011]: those who are not members of the adult Sponsored Community can protect their registered trademark from .XXX registration by blocking it.
  • Landrush [11/08/2011–11/25/2011]: members of the adult Sponsored Community can get their name in early and beat the rush.
  • General Availability [12/-6/2011]: anyone can register .XXX domains.