ICANN gives a nod to the ".xxx" domain, which will be opened to pornographers on a voluntary basis. Supporters say it will improve child safety while protecting the freedom of expression.
Its officialthe Web soon will have its own red-light district. This week, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers approved a plan that will allow pornographic Web sites to use URLs that end with ".xxx."
ICANN first considered this adults-only, top-level domain in 2000, but decided to reject it. That move drew criticism from certain Web groups that said the organization was too "heavy-handed" when it came to deciding on which domains were acceptable. Others domains ICANN has rejected include .mobile, .health and .travel.
As for this weeks decision, ICANN spokesperson Kieran Baker said the nonprofit organization has merely taken the first steps to creating designated adult URLs, and that the Canadian ICM Registry will handle how the new top-level domain, which will be voluntary, is distributed and dealt with.
"As the tech coordinator, we dont have a role in passing judgment on content," Baker said. "We dont look inside [these sites]; we just let them know to where they get sent."
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That leaves the bulk of the answers about the new online destinations with the ICM Registry, which was unavailable for comment at press time.
But ICM president Stuart Lawley said in a statement, "By moving forward with .xxx, the online adult-entertainment industry is taking part in a proactive approach to its presence on the Internet, making an identifiable commitment to responsible behavior and to the development of best business practices."
ICM also posted information about the new adult-oriented destinations, including how and why the new domain will prove to be beneficial, the most repeated comment being that the best-practice guidelines accompanying an .xxx site will relieve pressure from child and family safety groupsnamely because a regulatory group that heads up the .xxx domain will set rules as to how and where adult Web sites with that top-level domain operate on the Web.
Parry Aftab, who serves as executive director of one such group, WiredSafety,
said that after many meetings with both online safety and pro-porn groups, she stands behind ICANNs decision.
Aftab said the creation of the new domain is "good for child safety" and that it gives parents and guardians "a valuable tool to protect their children from inappropriate content on the Internet."
Read the full story on PCMag.com: Porn Sites to Gain a Top-Level Domain