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YouPorn spanks ICM as .xxx prices slashed

Kevin Murphy, May 1, 2013, 12:30:22 (UTC), Domain Registries

YouPorn owner Manwin Licensing scored a PR coup in its lawsuit against ICM Registry today, when the .xxx registry agreed to steep financial concessions in order to settle the case.

One of the effects of the settlement, at least according to Manwin, is that .xxx is slashing its registry fees from $60 to $7.85 a year for any new domains registered in May.

That brings .xxx into line with .com pricing, temporarily.

The discount only lasts for a month, but it applies to any length of registration up to 10 years. A 10-year registration would see ICM get $78.50, as opposed to the usual $600.

ICM said it will offer price reductions in future years too.

According to Manwin, this reduction is part of the settlement of the anti-trust lawsuit that it filed in November 2011.

“One of Manwin’s key motivations was to make .XXX pricing lower and more competitive,” the company said in a press release.

However, ICM told its registrars about the price reduction over a month ago, so Manwin’s claims might not be as straightforward as they seem.

What’s less open to interpretation is ICM’s agreement to donate $2 from every new .xxx domain created into “a fund designated by Manwin to support the adult entertainment industry”.

In return, Manwin has agreed to drop its boycott of .xxx — ads for .xxx sites will now be allowed to appear on its highly trafficked “tube” sites.

According to a Manwin press release, ICM has also made the humbling admission that “websites hosted on their adult-specific TLDs are not the only responsible and safe adult content websites.”

The lawsuit originally claimed that ICM and ICANN acted anti-competitively by introducing .xxx. ICM counter-sued saying that Manwin’s boycott was illegal.

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Comments (4)

  1. IFFOR is supposed to get $10 per domain per year from ICM for each .xxx domain. ICANN’s fees are an additional $2 per domain name per year. Unless ICM Registry has amended its contract with ICANN, it appears that it would be losing money on each .xxx domain if they’re sold for $7.85/yr per domain.

    Of course, it’s unclear how ICM Registry is calculating the amount owned to IFFOR, as IFFOR’s Form 990 filed with the IRS shows less revenue than one might expect, based on ICM’s claimed total domain registrations:

    http://www.thedomains.com/2013/02/07/breaking-iffors-tax-return-only-208k-in-revenue-from-xxx-are-90-of-all-xxx-registration-defensive/

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      My understanding is that IFFOR gets a proportionately reduced payment if the registry fee is lowered.

      ICANN, obviously, would continue to get its $2.

  2. The contract posted by ICANN in August 2010 stated:

    http://www.icann.org/en/news/public-comment/xxx-revised-icm-agreement-24aug10-en.htm

    “Pay to IFFOR the sum of US$10 per resolving registration in the .xxx sTLD per year (or, in the event of a price change of the regular wholesale price to registrars from US$60 per resolving registration, a sum of no less than 15% of the regular wholesale price) for IFFOR to develop policies in furtherance of the Policy Goals,……”

    I would call this a temporary promo price, not a “regular wholesale price”, but presumably ICM will take the alternate view that they can change the “regular wholesale price” at will, every day if they want, in which case they only owe 15%.

    As I speculated previously:

    http://www.circleid.com/posts/20130109_loopholes_and_ambiguities_in_contracts_that_icann_oversees/

    they could have dropped the IFFOR payment from $10 to $9 per domain, exploiting that clause.

    Just goes to show that ICANN doesn’t write bulletproof contracts.

  3. sak says:

    Michael Berkens disagrees with you–ICM did not get spanked. They had a tremendously successful day yesterday in selling 129 domains.

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