General availability of the new top level domain (TLD) .XXX started earlier this month. This was created as an industry-specific TLD for pornographic websites. However this virtual “land grab” has some important ramifications for non-pornographic related websites, their owners and their brand managers. Many of these websites are defensively buying up .xxx versions of their existing domain names in order to keep them off the market and avoiding some embarrassing and inappropriate situations. Imagine a legitimate organization such as boystown.org facing a porno site with the domain name of boystown.xxx. No matter how annoying or offensive, buying that domain and pulling it off the market is probably the right move for that organization.
You don’t have to be boystown.org to be concerned. If you own a website and are NOT in the pornography industry, you might think about defensively registering your .xxx domain name to take it off the market. You can register the .xxx domain with your existing domain registrar (such as GoDaddy or Network Solutions). The cost is $99.99 per year per domain.
This is quite a bit more expensive than typical domain registration, and a lot of people in the industry are upset about the whole idea of the .XXX domain. There are a lot of faults in the system, but if the idea of paying $100 to keep your brand name from falling into XXX hands makes you angry, just imagine how angry you’ll be if a domain squatter tries to extort money from you. The other option is to take legal action if your brand or website domain is trademarked, which is yet another expensive proposition.