In case you hadn’t heard (and why should you have), as of Tuesday you can buy a website with the suffix “.xxx”, the intended home of pornography. The idea is that porn sites will set up on .xxx, and so all of the porn will be gathered in one place on the web, which means there won’t be any left elsewhere. As the press release puts it, “the new .xxx domain functions as a responsible alternative for sites that offer adult entertainment content and related services”.
The sites will be “appropriately labelled” and scanned for, ahem, infections. And this, says ICM Registry, the company which gets the money whenever someone registers a .xxx site, “means internet users can surf the internet with more confidence”.
You may be able to see the flaw in ICM Registry’s logic. Why would porn sites which rely on being easily found in search engines want to be corralled off into a virtual red-light district that web filters are guaranteed to block?
So .xxx isn’t going to get all the pornographers presently filling every nook and cranny of .com, .org, .net and so on to up sticks and head to .xxx. It almost certainly won’t make the web a cleaner place. But it should make a tidy sum for ICM Registry as worried brand-holders buy the corresponding domains in order to stop their names being besmirched by association. Already 100,000 businesses have signed up. So barclays.xxx, hsbc.xxx and lloydstsb.xxx have all gone. Still, good news: cliffrichard.xxx and charliebrooker.xxx are available. Don’t delay. (You can find out what’s been bought and what’s available at http://www.buy.xxx)