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ICM names former ACLU chief to policy board

ICM Registry has appointed former American Civil Liberties Union president Nadine Strossen to the Policy Council of IFFOR, the oversight body responsible for the .xxx top-level domain.

Strossen held the role at the ACLU between 1991 and 2008. Her appointment to the largely volunteer role at IFFOR is a bit of a coup for the organization.

She fills the seat designated for a free speech advocate.

Also named to the council is Sharon Girling, a former British cop who was closely involved in many high-profile child abuse imagery stings, including Operation Ore.

Law professor Fred Cate has been appointed the council’s security/privacy expert, and first amendment lawyer Bob Corn-Revere is ICM’s appointed representative.

There will be five other policy council members, all drawn from the porn industry, named in July or August, IFFOR said in a press release.

IFFOR, the International Foundation For Online Responsibility, will get $10 a year from every .xxx domain name registered.

Governments get .xxx wish-list

National governments have been given the chance to block “words of cultural and/or religious significance” from the forthcoming .xxx top-level domain.

ICM Registry has told ICANN’s Governmental Advisory Committee that its members have until the end of July to provide lists of names they want banning from the .xxx namespace.

The GAC is due to meet during ICANN’s meeting in Singapore next Tuesday to discuss an “ICM Registry Request”, which is believed to be said block-list.

Approved strings would be marked as reserved and would resolve to a standard placeholder page. Unlike trademark holders, governments will not be required to pay a fee.

Strings in non-Latin alphabets will not yet be supported, according to ICM, but governments are allowed to submit them anyway, for future reference.

ICM will decide which strings make it to the list, but I can’t see it refusing reasonable requests — pissing off governments probably wouldn’t be a wise move given that some of them already plan to block the whole TLD at their national borders.

Go Daddy to sell .xxx domains

Go Daddy has become the latest registrar to agree to sell .xxx domain names.

It’s a bit of a big deal for ICM Registry, given how dominant Go Daddy is in the registrar channel.

There are about 50 .xxx registrars on this ICANN web page, which lists all the accredited registrars along with which top-level domains they’re approved to sell.

Go Daddy isn’t listed as a .xxx registrar yet, but its accreditation was just announced in a press release.

Read more at The Register.

Final call for .xxx policy volunteers

The International Foundation For Online Responsibility, which will set policies for the .xxx top-level domain, has issued its final call for Policy Council volunteers.

The deadline for nominations for the nine PC seats has been set at July 5, and IFFOR plans to announce the successful candidates in late August.

Five of the seats are reserved for members of the porn industry. Another will represent privacy/security interests, one will be drawn from the world of child protection, and one will be a free speech advocate.

The final seat will be occupied by ICM Registry, the .xxx manager.

My understanding is that a front-runner for the child protection role is Sharon Girling, a former British police officer who played a key role in child abuse stings including Operation Ore.

I know of a few people who have applied for the free speech spot. Most recently, outspoken .xxx critic “DarkLady”, author of the Dot-XXX Opposition blog, revealed she had put herself forward for the job.

While the PC members are ostensibly volunteers, they do get a $15,000 annual stipend and their travel expenses paid for.

IFFOR will receive $10 from ICM for every .xxx domain that is registered.

Survey shows .xxx is the Marmite TLD

The forthcoming .xxx top-level domain is accepted and hated by equal numbers of adult entertainment industry operators, according to a new survey.

Xbiz reports today that 35% of its members plan to buy .xxx domain names. Equally, 35% said they would not buy in .xxx because they do not want to support the TLD.

Marmite, if you’re puzzled about the headline, is a strongly flavored yeast-based sandwich spread sold primarily here in the UK. It’s cleverly marketed using the frank slogan “Love it or hate it”.

Just like .xxx, it’s banned in some countries.

It may not be an entirely apt simile, however. The Xbiz survey showed that a paltry 13% of the respondents planned to develop sites. The other 22% are only planning to defensively register their brands.

Xbiz, which surveyed 400 of its members, speculates that defensively registered domains “may be key to the TLD’s revenue stream and perhaps its survival”.

I’m not so sure. If ICM gets 22,000 defensive registrations from pornographers (twice as many sunrise registrations as .co reportedly got last year), that works out to only $1.1 million per year for ICM.

We’re likely to get our first indication of adult industry support when ICM announces its Founders Program partners – pornographers that are prepared to publicly endorse .xxx before it launches.

Like any new TLD launch, anchor tenants will to a large extent determine acceptance of .xxx – ICM will need its o.co moment.

Last week, I attended an ICM-sponsored event at a strip joint in London, at which executives from a large British porn publisher expressed enthusiasm about the TLD, so it does seem to have some quiet support in the business.