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How to make $10,000 from .xxx domains

Kevin Murphy, May 7, 2012, Domain Policy

The policy body overseeing .xxx domain names plans to dish out grants of up to $10,000 to worthy causes.

The International Foundation For Online Responsibility expects to launch a new IFFOR Grants Program on June 1, according to a March announcement I only just noticed.

According to IFFOR, the grants will be capped at $10,000 per individual or organization and will be given to those who contribute to IFFOR’s four official policy goals:

Fostering communication between the Sponsored Community and other Internet stakeholders

Protecting free expression rights as defined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights

Promoting the development and adoption of responsible business practices designed to combat online child abuse images and to support user choice and parental control regarding access to online adult entertainment, and

Protecting the privacy, security, and consumer rights of consenting adult consumers of online adult entertainment goods and services

It seems like a pretty good opportunity for free speech advocacy groups to top up their funding.

ICM Registry, the .xxx manager, gives IFFOR $10 per year for every resolving .xxx domain name registered.

Its funding is therefore very likely approaching the $1.5 million mark in the hundreds of thousands of dollars right about now.

Is .xxx really that crappy?

It’s not a huge secret that the new .xxx gTLD isn’t doing as well, five months after launch, as ICM Registry would have hoped, but how does it shape up against other top-level domains?

Domain Name News earlier this week published an analysis of the top one million most-trafficked web sites, according to Alexa rankings, and found that .xxx had just 61 entries.

Per DNN reporter Mike Cohen:

We would not have thought that only 61 domains in total would be ranking inside the top 1,000,000 most visited sites in the world. That number was suppose to be exponentially higher by all accounts even a few month’s in, which we now are well into 2012, however reality says otherwise.

I’m not sure what “all accounts” DNN is referring to — possibly ICM’s marketing hype — but I thought the analysis was interesting so I thought I’d try to replicate it.

This morning I parsed today’s Alexa top million sites list and came up with the following (sortable) table.

TLDDomainsMonths ActiveDomains/Months
.info17779124143.38
.co13622946.96
.me21365638.14
.biz387812132.05
.mobi413725.74
.xxx58124.83
.cat282713.97
.asia212543.93
.pro305953.21
.name3651222.99
.travel178742.41
.jobs47660.71
.coop641210.53
.aero611190.51
.tel11380.29
.museum81190.07

These are quick and dirty numbers, based on Alexa data, and my code might be wonky, so please don’t place too much faith in them.

I only looked at the “new” gTLDs introduced since 2001, as well as two mass-market ccTLDs (.co and .me) introduced over the same period.

The .co numbers do not include third-level domains under .com.co and the ccTLD’s other legacy extensions.

The “Months Active” column is the number of months since the TLD was delegated into the DNS root, measured by the date of the first registry report it filed with ICANN or the IANA (re)delegation date, not the date of general availability.

The fourth column is the number of domains divided by the number of months. It’s a fairly arbitrary measure, presented merely to give you an idea of the “success” of the TLD over time.

You could possibly, loosely, think of it as “how many domains a TLD can expect to get into the Alexa 1 Million per month”.

By that measure, .xxx isn’t doing too badly.

It’s even beating .jobs and .tel in absolute terms.

Did a university just pay $3,000 for its .xxx domain?

Kevin Murphy, April 18, 2012, Domain Sales

The domain name sju.xxx has changed hands for $3,000 on Sedo.

It’s the first .xxx domain I recall popping up in Sedo’s sales feed.

However, I think there’s a pretty good chance it’s a damage-mitigation move by an American university.

SJU is the acronym used by Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA. The college uses sju.edu as its primary domain.

Knowing how paranoid universities have been about protecting their reputations in .xxx, and given that the sale came in just below the price of a cheap UDRP, I suspect we’re looking at a defensive move.

The Whois record for the domain is currently under privacy protection. Until recently, it belonged to one Jay Camina. It resolves to a suggestive Go Daddy parking page.

ICM confirms three porn gTLD bids

Kevin Murphy, April 12, 2012, Domain Registries

ICM Registry has applied to ICANN for the new gTLDs .sex, .porn and .adult.

If its applications are successful, the company plans to automatically block any second-level domain that is already registered in .xxx, including the Sunrise B defensive registrations.

This means if you own example.xxx, the equivalent .sex, .porn and .adult domains would be reserved until you pay a “nominal” activation fee to activate them.

As well as trademark owners, that would probably be pretty good news for owners of “premium” .xxx domains.

According to ICM, the four domains will not be permanently linked, so if you own a good .xxx you’ll be able to pay a normal registration fee then activate and sell off the three “freebies”.

Because the domains would be permanently reserved, there would be no renewal fees until you choose to activate them, which could well be the same day you sell them.

There’s a good chance these gTLDs will be contested by other applicants and objected to by governments, of course.

I’ve written more on the announcement for The Register here.

YouPorn’s .xxx settlement talks extended

YouPorn owner Manwin, .xxx manager ICM Registry and ICANN have asked a California court for a few more weeks to settle Manwin’s antitrust lawsuit.

According to a court filing yesterday, the three want to extend ICANN and ICM’s window to respond to Manwin’s complaint extended from April 17. The submission reads:

The parties’ settlement discussions have not yet finished. In order to complete those discussions, the parties stipulate to extend, by an additional about three weeks until May 8, 2012, the deadline for Defendants to respond to Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint.

By May 8 the world is going to know whether ICM and/or Manwin have applied to ICANN for other adult-oriented gTLDs (.sex, .porn, etc), which could change the picture considerably.

Manwin sued ICANN and ICM in November, alleging that they colluded on .xxx to deliver “monopolistic conduct, price gouging, and anti-competitive and unfair practices”.

ICM and ICANN have denied the allegations.