.xxx domains go live, each site scanned daily by McAfee

By on December 6, 2011, 3:30 PM

After much ado between the adult entertainment industry, ICM Registry and Internet domain governing body ICANN, .xxx domains finally started going live this Tuesday. Even early this morning, the number of live .xxx addresses had hit six digits and that is, without a doubt, still growing.

"Touch it. Own it. Feel it". That's the tag line for the new top-level domain (TLD). The new suffix was lobbied by ICM Registry to help identify adult sites in order to, as the company's CEO Stuart Lawley vaguely puts it, "address the unique needs of the online adult entertainment industry." ICANN eventually approved the new TLD earlier this year but not without a fuss. News of .xxx domains dates back to as early as 2001. 

However, unlike any other domain in existence, a deal has been struck with McAfee to scan each .xxx on a daily basis for malware. Also included for the $80/year domain purchase cost is a MetaCert electronic Family Safety label. This employs an existing, nearly ubiquitous framework that aims to simplify content filtering for parents and organizations.

Not surprsingly, various religious and family-oriented organizations have spoken out against the domain suffix, claiming it actually makes smutty websites easier to find and in that way, endorses them. Perhaps more surprisingly however, some adult industry players have denounced .xxx too, likening it to extortion because virtually any existing pornography business is forced to purchase a domain to protect their brand. For large companies, this can run up a bill for thousands of dollars a year. It is no stretch of the imagination to think this probably makes ICM Registry very happy.

Universities and certain other businesses are not pleased either. Despite not being in the pornography business, such institutions find it necessary to protect their image by snapping up related .xxx domains before someone else does. A website like harvard.xxx could pose a brand-image nightmare for such a school.

ICANN has also set up www.buy.xxx, a purchasing portal for prospective .xxx applicants.

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