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Investors circle ICM as .xxx enters home straight

Kevin Murphy, July 7, 2010, 16:26:36 (UTC), Domain Registries

ICM Registry’s board of directors has approved a $5 million funding round, following the recent decision by ICANN to put the .xxx top-level domain onto the path to approval.

ICM president Stuart Lawley tells me he’s underwritten the whole round himself, already injecting another $500,000 of his own money into the company.

Venture capital investors have already approached the company, following the Brussels decision two weeks ago, according to Lawley.

In Brussels, ICANN’s board resolved to re-enter contract negotiations with ICM, following years of wrangling with ICANN’s appeals and independent review processes.

While .xxx’s approval and entry to the DNS root is not a slam-dunk, the only major hurdle appears to be ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee, and many believe the GAC is unlikely to stick its neck out on such a controversial issue.

While demand for .xxx domains is yet to be proven, there are already 162,000 pre-registrations, which would work out to a $10 million business, not including premium sunrise and landrush fees.

A report in Business Week last week said ICM could bring in $200 million per year in revenue on registrations alone.

I think that’s a pretty ambitious prediction, to be honest, and I can’t help but wonder in Business Week got ICM’s ten-year and one-year projections mixed up.

Even at $60 a pop, that’s still 3.3 million registered domains. The stars will have to align in unexpected ways for .xxx to reach that kind of penetration (pun intended).

ICM has previously projected near-term registrations in the low-mid hundreds of thousands.

ICM is currently owned by a close-knit group of investors, mainly Lawley’s circle and ICM’s management, with Lawley himself owning roughly 70% of the business.

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Comments (3)

  1. isis says:

    Stewart Lawley is nothing but a parasite. He doesn’t care about kids (that’s why the religious organizations oppose .xxx). He doesn’t care about adult webmasters (that’s why the adult community opposes .xxx). The only thing he cares about is MONEY. He is driven by pure, unadulterated GREED. All of the rest is simply a smokescreen created by his PR firm.

    • Kevin Murphy says:

      Thanks for your comment isis.

      I’m not saying you’re wrong on the other stuff, but ICM doesn’t have a PR firm, to my knowledge.

      I’ve certainly never spoken to one.

  2. […] pre-registrations at the time it re-entered contract talks with ICANN in late June; media coverage increased that to 162,000 within a couple of […]

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