It has not and may never be delegated, but the .xxx top-level domain now has more pre-registrations than .asia, the last big gTLD launch, has live domains.
The ICM Registry web site currently counts 180,352 pre-regs. ICM tells me this number counts the unique strings that have been applied for, excluding duplicate applications.
By contrast, DotAsia’s two-year-old namespace had shrunk to 177,872 by the start of September, according to HosterStats.
The company has previously said that only 6,435 pre-regs were self-identified as defensive in nature, although this is disputed by its opponents at the Free Speech Coalition.
The Free Speech Coalition has issued an official call to action to rally its members against the .xxx top-level domain application.
It’s been on the front page of the porn trade group’s web site since yesterday, but has been slow to take off judging by the number of responses filed with ICANN in the last 24 hours.
The FSC wants it members to write to ICANN to ask for the TLD to be rejected. It hits seven major points, but essentially just backs up what FSC chair Diane Duke told ICANN last week, which I reported on here.
There’s also a Zoomerang survey that industry members can take. It asks users to merely answer two questions in the affirmative:
I am a member of the online adult entertainment community and I oppose ICM’s application for a .XXX sTL
I have have defensively pre-registered .XXX domain names and I oppose .XXX
The idea is to show that many .xxx pre-registrations are made by people who would prefer that the TLD never sees the light of day.
ICM Registry has issued a strongly worded response to its critics at the Free Speech Coalition, questioning the porn trade group’s relevance.
As I blogged yesterday, the FSC has asked ICANN to release documents disclosing the level of support the .xxx domain, so it can more effectively argue against its approval.
ICM has responded with a letter to ICANN that paints the FSC as overly US-centric and says its arguments deal with issues that have long been resolved.
We understand that the FSC currently has approximately 1,000 members. We further understand that both its leadership and its members are almost exclusively U.S.-based.
The bottom line is that the FSC’s comments simply restate the arguments they have made in the past. Their claims were inaccurate, unsupportable, untimely, and irrelevant when first made, and remain so today.
The would-be registry claims that, contrary to the FSC’s claims, only a tiny portion of its 179,000 pre-registrations are defensive in nature, 6,435 in total.
The Free Speech Coalition has asked ICANN to prove that the .xxx top-level domain application has the level of support that ICM Registry claims it has.
The FSC, which represents thousands of porn webmasters, has filed a request under ICANN’s Documentary Information Disclosure Policy for a list of the people who have already pre-registered .xxx domains, among other items.
The organization wants to prove that .xxx has no support among the adult community, and that most of ICM’s 179,000 pre-registrations are made by domainers or are defensive, made by pornographers who really don’t want .xxx.
FSC president Diane Duke wrote to ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey (pdf):
The adult entertainment community – the community which would be most impacted by the introduction of a .xxx sTLD – requires more information about the application in order to provide the appropriate level of feedback to the ICANN Board for it to make an informed decision.
The FSC also wants ICANN to add another 30 days to the current public comment period after the disclosure is made, to give it a chance to respond properly to the new data.
This would, of course, add further delay to the .xxx application.
The FSC also wants to know more about IFFOR, the International Foundation For Online Responsibility, the policy body that would oversee .xxx.
Specifically, the DIDP request covers the names of IFFOR’s board of directors, policy council members, business plans and financial projections.
ICM is opposed to the request and will be officially responding shortly. Its president, Stuart Lawley, told me the information the FSC has requested is known to ICANN, but that it’s confidential.
He also said that the issue of community support is already closed; ICANN made that decision five years ago, a decision that was reinforced earlier this year by an Independent Review Panel.
Trademark holders have been screwed over by ISP domain name wildcarding more than they realise, I’ve discovered from the .xxx contract documents.
ICM Registry is planning a novel approach to trademark protection if its application to launch the .xxx top-level domain is successful, but it’s been watered down compared to its original plan.
Hypothetically, let’s say you’re Lego. You really, really don’t want some cybersquatter snapping up lego.xxx and filling it with… well, you can imagine what Lego porn might look like.
At the same time, for the sake of your family-friendly brand, you don’t want to actually own a resolvable lego.xxx either.
And you certainly don’t want to be forced to to hand some pornographer over $60 a year for each of your brands. Some companies could see this as supporting pornography.
ICM had originally planned to allow companies in this position to pay a one-time fee to have their brand.xxx turned off permanently.
Personally, I like this idea. It would give the IP lobby a lot less to complain about in discussions surrounding the new TLD program.
But the company may now water down this plan, called IP Protect, due to the way that non-existent domains are increasingly handled by some ISPs.
As you probably know, ISPs worldwide are increasingly capturing NXDOMAIN traffic in order to show search results and advertising links to their customers.
It’s generally frowned upon in DNS circles, and it’s now likely to have the effect of making IP Protect costlier and more of an administrative hassle for brand owners.
You’re Lego again. You pay ICM the one-time shut-down fee, only to find that Comcast is now showing its users links to Lego porn whenever they type in lego.xxx.
ICM president Stuart Lawley tells me that one option currently being looked at is to have IP Protect domains resolve to a standard page at an ICM-controlled server.
The problem here is that ICM has to pay ICANN and its registry back-end provider annual fees for every resolving domain name, and that cost will have to be passed on to the registrant, in our case Lego.
Lawley says that ICM is “engaging” with the ICANN intellectual property community to figure out the best solution. It appears that both options are still open.