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17 Dec 2011

Who's registering .XXX domains ICANN

ICANN has an obscure process called Zone File Access, which lets you get access to each top-level domain's zone file, which lists all of its second-level domains. I asked for access to .XXX several months ago, and my password arrived this afternoon.

There are currently almost 95,000 domains in the .XXX zone file. A registration can be "defensive", in which case the name points at the ICM registry's servers and doesn't resolve, or "sponsored community", in which you make a few promises (mostly that you're an adult with a working phone number) and it's like any other domain. Some years ago Stuart Lawley, head of the registry, said they'd have rules requiring that .XXX web sites be pornographic, but that didn't happen and you're allowed to park your domain or presumably put your non-porn web site on it.

By a rough count, about 83,400 of the domains are defensive, and 14,400 are community. Of the community ones, 3200 are parked at Domain Control, and about 4000 at various other parking services so about half of the "community" domains are parked or for sale. (It may be more than that, since not all parked domains use parking service name servers.) A little spot checking of the unparked domains suggests that the majority of them either don't resolve or land at pages saying under construction or otherwise not offering the porn they're supposed to.

So at this point, the theory that .XXX will primarily be collecting money from defensive registrations of people who don't want a .XXX domain is correct. I hope ICANN is very proud that their processes worked and allowed .XXX to go live.

posted at: 14:46 :: permanent link to this entry :: 3 comments
posted at: 14:46 ::
permanent link to this entry :: 3 comments

comments...        (Jump to the end to add your own comment)


But what's a "community" domain and a "sponsored" domain in this context? I've never heard either term before.

(by Kevin Murphy 16 Dec 2011 04:52)

community and sponsored
Those are ICANN terms for sponsored domains. But I screwed up the terms in the blog entry, now fixed. 85% of the registrations are defensive.

(by John L 16 Dec 2011 11:18)

No surprise here. ICANN actually claimed with a certain indignation that defensive registrations by mainstream brands would not be an issue. Oops. The execrable Peter Dengate Thrush then repeated that fallacy at a public meeting, and is profiting from the claim as we speak. He should be banished from the domain business, but then again he delivered, didn't he?

So many people joined in the blind determination to protect ICANN's "process." The result is failure, a bogus TLD that is reaping a harvest of domain registrations as the result of a systematic campaign of "fear marketing."

And ICM is still out there lying to the public and the adult industry about the success of its launch, and spending millions of dollars of other people's money in the process.

I believe that the Manwin lawsuit is justified, but also that charges should be brought by state attorneys general against the perpetrators of this massive fraud. If such measures are not considered, this type of scam will only be repeated with other TLDs. But even if ICANN mends its ways for future gTLDs under pressure from Congress, ICM cannot be allowed to continue to profit from what is essentially a protection racket.

I also hope Mr. Levine posts his article to CircleID, a community that was very supportive of ICM and ICANN. The operators of CircleID refused to allow people critical of .xxx to post up arguments against the application in the months and years leading up to the final vote. I was one who was refused registration, though I tried many times.

CircleID may not care about the adult industry, but look what happens when you don't listen and instead stick your heads in the sand and hope for the best?

(by tom hymes 16 Dec 2011 22:31)

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