Porn Sites go .XXX

You may have heard of the new .xxx domain names being created for porn sites. They finally went live this Tuesday and the controversy hasn’t stopped.

“By applying for a .xxx site, webmasters, adult performers, studios, and others become part of a “sponsored community,” agreeing to operate legally and within agreed-upon business standards. Each .xxx site will be scanned daily with McAfee protection tools, which ICM (the registry that is responsible for handing out the .xxx domains) says will help make them among the Web’s safest destinations.

But as you might expect, not everyone is pleased with the move.

Some religious organizations have argued against the new .xxx names, saying that creating them amounts to an endorsement of porn.

“The establishment of a .xxx domain would increase, not decrease, the spread of pornography on the Internet, causing even more harm to children, families and communities,” said Patrick Trueman, CEO of Morality in Media and former chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, when ICANN (the international not-for-profit that coordinates Web addresses) was voting on the plan.” (On Tuesday, porn sites set to go .XXX)

At first I was all for porn sites getting new .xxx domain names; they sound cool, they are totally honest and up front about their content, everything sounds good. The more I thought about it though, the more I have to stay on the fence about the issue. I’m sure many adult websites will buy the .xxx domain names and simply have them re-direct to their already established sites. We already have many safe search options, parental controls, and blacklists available for people who don’t want to see adult content. If traditional domains (.com) are more familiar and less likely to be automatically blocked, I don’t see the incentive for only using a .xxx domain. The thing to remember here is, .xxx domains are entirely voluntary;  so what happens if they ever become mandatory?

Think of the Internet like a country without borders, one global community. If we start dividing it up based on certain criteria, and governing each section with various rules, that removes control from the user and gives it to a higher authority. If we give an authority the ability to impose restrictions, we create the unnecessary potential for abuse. As long as these domains remain voluntary I have no problem at all.

Creative Commons image source: quinn.anya

Jack Diehl

Jack Diehl

Jack Diehl has been deeply involved in growth of virtual worlds for over a decade, from multiplayer role playing games into platforms for social interaction and artistic expression. Jack is fascinated by the freedom of speech and memes people are exhibiting online and is dedicated to seeing these freedoms protected in Real Life. Jack sees the Internet as history's greatest asset for growth; creating a new age of reason and accountability.
Jack Diehl