The Internet's primary oversight body approved a plan Wednesday to create a virtual red-light district, setting the stage for pornographic Web sites to use new addresses ending in "xxx."
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers said it would begin negotiations with ICM Registry Inc., run by British businessman Stuart Lawley, to iron out technical issues and prices for the new Web addresses.
Adult-oriented sites, a $12 billion industry, probably could begin buying "xxx" addresses as early as fall or winter depending on ICM's plans, ICANN spokesman Kieran Baker said. The new pornography suffix was among 10 under consideration by the regulatory group, which also recently approved addresses ending in "jobs" and "travel."
ICM contends the "xxx" Web addresses, which it plans to sell for $60 a year, will protect children from online smut if adult sites voluntarily adopt the suffix so filtering software used by families can more effectively block access to those sites. The $60 price is roughly ten times higher than prices other companies charge for dot-com names.
"It will further help to protect kids," said John Morris, staff counsel at the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Technology. Morris predicted some adult sites will choose to buy "xxx" Web addresses but others will continue to use dot-com.