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XXX Domain Goes Live; Porn Sites to Double?

December 7, 2011|5:07 pm

Porn sites went mainstream Tuesday. More than 100,000 websites are now live with a new .xxx domain.

The suffix was approved last year by ICANN, an international nonprofit that coordinates Web addresses. ICM Registry, which is managing the debut for ICANN, said yesterday’s launch was the most successful of any new top-level domain.

But critics from both religious organizations and those in the porn industry are unhappy with the move. Although, religious family organizations have very different reasons than Playboy, which opposes the move saying it promotes anticompetitive business practices.

General Counsel Patrick Vaughn of the American Family Association sees it another way. He told The Christian Post that while he doesn’t see this move as a legitimization of online porn, since it’s already a dominant feature on the Internet, it does create “additional real estate for pornographers.”

Vaughn also said AFA is concerned that the new domain will give rise to parody sites being set up. “Christians and organizations that take stands for morality may be parodied in an xxx domain,” he said. Pornographers could set up something perverse like a FirstBaptistChurch.xxx site. For protection, many organizations are buying an xxx domain with their name in it so no one else can use it.

Penn State took steps to avoid this in September by paying $200 each for four different domains: Penn State, PSU, Nittany Lions and The Pennsylvania State University.

Aside from protecting their name online, some organizations are worried about the effects the proliferation of porn sites will have on families and children.

Carrie Gordon Earll, spokesperson for Citizen Link, the policy arm of Focus on the Family, told The Christian Post that besides parody sites, their main concern with the domain is that it puts adult material in one location.

More than 70 percent of youth encounter online pornography. The majority of it is unwanted. So to have a one stop shop raises concerns, especially because pornography is particularly harmful to children, Earll said. They don’t have an adult lens to sort through the negative effects it can have.

The new domain has other groups looking at the legal implications as well. Morality in Media, a nonprofit that raises awareness of the harmful effects of pornography, is calling for an investigation of ICM Registry. They want to see if there are possible violations of federal laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core obscene Internet pornography.

Patrick A. Trueman, president of Morality in Media, said in a statement that the establishment of a .xxx domain will increase Internet pornography. "In fact, ICM has indicated that it has nearly one million 'expressions of interest' for new .xxx sites. Yet not one porn company has announced plans to close its .com site to relocate to the .xxx domain," Trueman said. "Porn on the Internet may double due to the xxx domain."

But ICM Registry said the suffix is like .gov, .edu or .org, giving Web users a heads-up about what sort of site they are visiting based on its Web address alone. So the theory is it would keep people from visiting a porn site on accident. The .xxx also makes it easier for parents, employers and schools to block those sites from their networks.

A statement from ICM Registry says, "The Internet is home to a wealth of content, suitable for a wide range of ages and values. The adult entertainment industry has, and always will, account for a large amount of this content and while it is enjoyed by some, it is not suitable, or of interest, to all Internet users. Regardless of your views on adult content, it's here to stay, so let's be adult about it."

But Vaughn told The Christian Post even though the .xxx makes it easier to identify porn sites, it won’t get rid of the ones already in existence. He said, “It’s sort of like if in [the] public library they put a room in the back for hard core porn.”

Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/xxx-domains-go-live-porn-sites-to-double-64313/