Now that the Christians appear to have quietened down, the adult entertainment industry has unleashed its own letter-writing campaign aimed at crippling ICM Registry’s bid for the .xxx TLD.
The Free Speech Coalition has started urging its members to lobby ICANN with emails demanding that the .xxx proposal is rejected.
The front page of its web site started carrying the call to action earlier today, already resulting in over a dozen form complaints.
The anti-porn complaints that have flooded ICANN’s forums for the last week focussed largely on the alleged harmful effects of porn, and will probably be politely ignored.
But unlike the Christians, the FSC has read the background documents – which request comments on how ICANN should process ICM’s application – and its letters are therefore on-topic
They urge ICANN to “Adopt Option #3” by agreeing with the dissenting minority view of the Independent Review Panel that recently ruled ICANN was unfair to reject ICM back in 2007.
“Regardless of the option chosen, I ask that ICANN continue to consider the widespread opposition of the sponsored community in any further decisions concerning a .XXX sTLD,” the letters add.
The campaign is not unexpected, but it won’t make ICANN’s board of directors’ decision any easier. After all, .xxx is ostensibly a “sponsored” TLD, and a significant voice within its potential customer base does not appear to want it.
There may also be other power games at play.
ICM president Stuart Lawley claimed during his IRP cross-examination in September that the FSC had offered to support ICM in 2003, but only if it could control the sponsoring organization and collect the associated $10 per domain per year.
Top Level Domain Holdings has reported blah revenue for its fiscal 2009, as it reorganized itself in preparation for ICANN’s forthcoming new gTLD round.
It today reported revenue for the 12 months to October 31, 2009 of £315,000 ($487,000), up from £232,000 ($358,000) a year earlier, with an operating loss of £1.4 million, ($2.2 million) down from £1.5 million ($2.3 million).
TLDH also revealed that it sold off its entire parked domain name portfolio for $250,000 last November, after the end of its financial year, after it found parking revenue on the decline:
The Company’s domain name portfolio comprising mainly German and other European parked domain names that receive direct navigation and search traffic which can be monetized through search links to generate click-through advertising revenues generated a lower revenue in the period and were subsequently sold following the period end for US$250,000 in cash.
TLDH recorded an impairment charge of £154,000 ($238,000) for this transaction, suggesting the company sold its portfolio for approximately half of its previously reported paper value.
The firm says its strategy is “to build a portfolio of gTLD applicants and infrastructure technologies”, and believes ICANN’s recent Nairobi meeting decisions continued “a trend of increasing the barriers to application for non-experts”.
TLDH still looks like it has more than enough cash on hand to see it through to when ICANN begins officially accepting new TLD applications, barring further delays, with £4.3 million ($6.6 million) in the bank at the end of October.
ICM Registry, the firm behind the proposed .xxx TLD, has belatedly joined the social media revolution, setting up a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account to expound the benefits of pornographic domain names.
I’d hazard a guess that this is in response to the deluge of negative opinion currently directed at it in ICANN’s public comment forum.
If you can wade through the Christian spam there, you’ll find only a handful of people backing ICM.
Some of these comments come from policy wonks, urging ICANN to show it can be as accountable as it says it is.
Others come from random individuals, suspiciously based in ICM’s home state of Florida.
Hat tip: @mneylon
Employ Media, the company behind the sponsored TLD .jobs, looks like it’s making a play to become a significantly more open gTLD.
The company has proposed a substantial relaxation of its registration policies, based on what may be a loophole in its ICANN registry contract.
Currently, the .jobs namespace is one of the most restrictive TLDs. Only company names can be registered, and registrants have to be approved HR professionals at those companies.
As you might imagine, it’s been phenomenally unsuccessful from a business point of view, with only about 15,000 domains registered since it went live five years ago.
Employ Media now wants to be able to register “non-companyname” domains, and is to apply to its sponsorship body, the Society for Human Resource Management, for permission.
Indeed, as ERE.net points out, the “proposed amendment” to its charter reads more like a claim that no amendment is required.
The company appears to be pursuing a business model whereby it could auction off (continue reading)
With the passing of the Digital Economy Bill last night, the UK government has created powers to oversee Nominet, the .uk registry manager, as well as any new gTLD that is “UK-related”.
The Bill would allow the government to replace a registry if, in its opinion, the registry’s activities tarnish the reputation or availability of UK internet services.
It also allows the minister to apply to a court to alter the constitution of a registry such as Nominet.
The legislation was created in response to concerns that the registry could be captured by domainers, following a turbulent few years within Nominet’s leadership.
Nominet has since modified its constitution to make this unlikely, and is now of the position that the government will have no need to exercise its new powers.
The Bill does not name Nominet specifically, but rather any domain registry that is “UK-related”.
An internet domain is “UK-related” if, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, the last element of its name is likely to cause users of the internet, or a class of such users, to believe that the domain and its sub-domains are connected with the United Kingdom or a part of the United Kingdom.”