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.xxx domains to get free virus scans from McAfee

Kevin Murphy, June 27, 2011, 18:21:19 (UTC), Domain Registries

ICM Registry has signed up with security software outfit McAfee to provide automatic virus scanning for all web sites hosted at .xxx domain names.

Under the $8 million deal, “every .XXX domain will be scanned for vulnerabilities such as SQL injection, browser exploits and phishing sites, reputational analysis and malware”, ICM said in a press release.

The subscription, which is based on the McAfee Secure offering, will be included in the price of the domain, which is expected to start at around $75 at the cheapest registrars.

McAfee normally charges a lot more than that; ICM has basically negotiated a bulk discount for its customers.

There are two ways to take advantage of the deal.

First, webmasters can choose to put some code on their sites that displays the McAfee Secure logo, potentially increasing customer confidence and ergo sales.

McAfee reckons sales can go up by as much as 12% when sites use this “trust mark”, based on some split-testing it did a couple years ago (results may vary, it adds).

Second, because McAfee is going to automatically scan every .xxx domain every day, whether the registrant wants it or not, porn surfers will be able to use McAfee SiteAdvisor, a free browser plug-in, to verify that a .xxx site is, for want of a better word, clean.

Whether you like .xxx or not, you’ve got to admit that this probably counts as a rare example of “innovation” from a domain registry.

On the flipside, registrars that already offer such services as add-ons, such as Go Daddy, won’t get the up-sell if ICM is giving it to every registrant from the registry side.

But that doesn’t seem to have stopped any registrars from signing up to sell .xxx domains.

Oddly, the press release does not name McAfee as the service provider, but its brand is all over the ICM web site so embarrassment is probably not a factor.

McAfee currently has about 80,000 sites using the service, which could easily grow to 500,000 or more if ICM gets as many registrations as it expects to.

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