Company applies for .sex, .porn and .adult domain names

As reveal of new domain name applications approaches, one company tries to consolidate adult content online. Plus: are lawyers ready to deal with the changes?

Web addresses are about to get a lot more creative, with the upcoming expansion of generic top-level domains (gTLDs), the end portions of website names. Currently, there are only a few gTLDs available, including the old standards .com, .org and .net. In December 2011, the new gTLD .xxx was introduced, with the goal of sequestering online adult content. Now, ICM Registry, the same company that owns .xxx wants to get three more adult domain names under its belt: .sex, .porn and .adult, CNNMoney reports.

All of the new gTLDs that companies are applying for will be revealed on June 13, but we already know a few. For example, Google wants to own .lol. Other gTLDs that are in demand include .inc, .blog, .video and .city, as well as a few oddballs like .sucks, .vodka and .horse. Inevitably, there will be disputes between companies who want the same gTLDs, and ICM is ready to fight for the ones it wants.

“We don't want someone to take over what we've done as the incumbent [with .xxx],” ICM CEO Stuart Lawley told CNN. “We’re trying to produce clearly identified content that doesn’t confuse consumers.”

ICM is trying to create an industry standard for adult content online by acquiring all these relevant domain names. With .xxx, it established a best practices model in which it scanned its 200,000 registered sites for malware daily, adopted a zero-tolerance policy for child pornography and other illegal content and developed a process by which companies could dispute trademarks.

Not everyone is thinking ahead that much. A recent survey conducted by Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services revealed that while most trademark attorneys are aware of the upcoming gTLD expansion, many of them are woefully unprepared. Of those surveyed, 54 percent felt that the new domain names pose a moderate or high risk to their clients, but only 36 percent have read the gTLD Application Guidebook.

Once the gTLD applications are officially revealed, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will have a public comment period of 60 days, during which companies can formally object if they take issue with any of the applications. While 47 percent of attorneys surveyed said they felt somewhat or very prepared to respond during this period, only 12 percent have ever previously participated in an ICANN public comment process.

Read more InsideCounsel coverage of gTLDs:

Is your company considering a domain name change?

IP: Trademark liability and the .xxx domain

IP: A defensive strategy for new gTLDs

Technology: 8 strategies to protect trademarks against new domain names

Join the Conversation

Advertisement. Closing in 15 seconds.