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After over a decade of debate and delay, the Internet finally has its own designated 'red-light' zone, with the .XXX top level domain (TLD).
ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved the application of the ICM Registry to operate .XXX during a meeting held in San Francisco. ICANN had rejected previous calls for the adults-only .XXX TLD.
In June of 2010, the bid for .XXX was refreshed with a process that solicited comments from the community as well as ICANN's government stakeholders
"The ICANN community has engaged in extensive debate as well, with this single issue generating higher volumes of community comments than nearly any other issue ever faced within ICANN," ICANN stated in a rationale document for approving .XXX.
The ICM Registry which will operate .XXX, noted that there are multiple benefits to the new TLD.
"We believe consumers will be more prepared to make purchases on .XXX sites, safe in the knowledge their payments will be secure," Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry said in a statement. "Tens of thousands of adult entertainment website owners recognize the business benefits of .XXX and have already applied to pre-reserve over 200,000 .XXX domains."
Oversight for .XXX registrations will come from the non-profit, International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR). IFFOR's council includes adult entertainment industry leaders as well as privacy and security experts.
"ICANNs decision to give .XXX final approval is a landmark moment for the internet," Lawley said. "For the first time there will be a clearly defined web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses."
Not everyone in the Adult industry is greeting the .XXX TLD with open arms. The Free Speech Coalition which is an group sponsored by the Adult Entertainment Trade Association is not in favor of .XXX.
"Of course we are disappointed but we are not surprised by the ICANN Board's decision. As voiced in concerns by speakers at this very conference, the ICANN Board has dangerously undervalued the input from governments worldwide," said FSC Executive Director Diane Duke in a statement. "Worse, they have disregarded overwhelming outpouring of opposition from the adult entertainment industry the supposed sponsorship community dismissing the interests of free speech on the Internet."