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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.

Sunrise .xxx domains get 1.3 million hits a day

Kevin Murphy, March 21, 2012, Domain Registries

Domain names blocked by trademark holders during the .xxx sunrise period get 1.3 million hits per day, according to ICM Registry president Stuart Lawley.

The number refers to DNS queries arriving at the name servers ICM uses to serve up its standard blocking placeholder page.

I estimate that this works out to about 20 queries, on average, per domain per day.

The placeholder is displayed whenever a web user visits a domain that was registered during the Sunrise B launch phase last October.

A million DNS queries does not necessarily indicate a million page views, of course. Spiders and other automated processes likely account for some of the query traffic.

ICM does not monetize the pages, and because the names resolve to a standard placeholder ISPs don’t get to monetize the error traffic either.

ICM offers free .xxx domains to porn stars

Kevin Murphy, February 22, 2012, Domain Registries

ICM Registry and Name.com have teamed up to give a free one-year .xxx domain name registration to 3,500 selected porn stars.

It’s part of ICM’s Adult Performer Program, which saw these performers’ names initially reserved.

According to ICM, Name.com has pre-paid for the first year’s registration, valid until February 3 next year, but participating individuals will of course be free to move to another registrar if they choose.

That works out to $210,000 in registry fees, if I’m understanding the deal correctly, which seems like a bit of a risk given the general hostility to .xxx from the mainstream porn industry.

Name.com charges $84.99 for .xxx domains.

The Adult Performer Program came in for a bit of criticism last year, when some actresses tried to defensively register their names not realizing they had been reserved.

ICM and YouPorn in antitrust settlement talks

Kevin Murphy, February 14, 2012, Domain Registries

It’s Valentine’s Day, so perhaps it’s appropriate that ICM Registry has just revealed that it’s in talks to settle the .xxx antitrust lawsuit filed by one of the world’s biggest porn networks.

ICM and Manwin Licensing may soon resolve the case, which Manwin filed in November over the “extortion” it saw in the launch of the .xxx top-level domain, according to court documents.

In a joint filing, Manwin and ICM, along with ICANN and Digital Playground – the fellow plaintiff that Manwin has since acquired – said:

in recent days, Plaintiffs and ICM have engaged in discussions aimed at resolving the disputes that are the subject of this litigation.

The parties believe that additional time would potentially allow the parties to resolve all or some portion of their disputes.

The filing stipulates that Manwin has until this Friday to file an amended complaint and that ICANN and ICM should have 60 days after that to file their responses to the complaint.

That’s assuming that the suit isn’t completely settled in the meantime, of course.

The ICANN and ICM motions to dismiss filed in January have been taken off-calendar until Manwin amends its complaint.

I understand that ICANN also has secured a 60-day extension to its deadline to respond to the separate Manwin Independent Review Panel proceeding.

Manwin, which runs Brazzers, YouPorn and the Playboy-branded web sites, claimed in its complaint that the approval of .xxx in the absence of a competitive tender and its subsequent launch policies and pricing violated US antitrust laws.

ICANN and ICM claimed in their responses last month that the company was just scared of a little competition.