.XXX is ALL Bullshit! It’s Crunch Time, Let’s Fight Back!
By Diane Duke, Free Speech Coalition Executive Director
You may have noticed a common theme throughout my articles about .XXX. I have to admit, I was a bit surprised by the reaction I received in my use of the word “bullshit.” I know that it is out of character for me to be so, shall we say, blunt. But those who know me, know that I take professionalism very seriously; some might say to the point of being boring. Guilty as charged. But I had to get your attention. .XXX is a serious threat to the adult entertainment community, and it is now crunch time, folks.
The last four articles in this series were designed to explain the threat of .XXX. I pointed out that ICM is using “child protection” as a way to demonize our industry and convince ICANN that the adult entertainment industry needs someone like Stuart Lawley and his company, ICM, to force the industry to be “responsible.” I showed you how Stuart and ICM lied to the industry and to ICANN about support from the adult entertainment industry. I explained to you how ICM is using the threat of damaging your existing brand and traffic to force you to “voluntarily” purchase .XXX versions of your domain names. I have revealed the farce of an industry-guided regulatory board (IFFOR) that is supposedly separate from ICM, when in reality it is not only selected, but also chaired by none other than ICM’s CEO, Stuart Lawley, who would have veto power over every decision made by the IFFOR policy council and Board. I have also pointed out the fact that ICM promised ICANN that it would use IFFOR funds to protect the children and consumers from our “irresponsible” industry, while at the same time promising the adult entertainment community to invest those same funds to protect our industry.
There are a few other points that are imperative for you to understand concerning .XXX. If you auto-redirect your existing .com at your new .XXX domain, your .com domain will be required to follow the same regulations as .XXX. That means you have to let whatever entity that ICM has chosen to automatically scan and monitor your .XXX site for “illegal and offensive material” and to make sure you are compliant in the best practice regulations that IFFOR (or should I say ICM) imposes, to monitor your .com domain. Also, if .XXX passes, there are governments that will block .XXX. This will not only immediately de-value your .XXX domain, but will also pose a threat to your click-through .com domain. From a business perspective, purchasing .XXX domains is a bad investment and is potentially dangerous to your existing domains and traffic.
It is likely that ICANN will vote on .XXX at their March 18 Board meeting in San Francisco. We will have a strong presence there, but, I will be honest—the cards are stacked against us. ICM has invested over $12 million to push .XXX through the ICANN machine.
So what has $12 million bought ICM?
* Sponsorships for a number of conferences at which there were votes for .XXX.
* An independent Review Process that voted in favor of ICM on the issue of “sponsored” community (i.e. the adult entertainment community) even though no one from the adult entertainment community was questioned or interviewed in the process.
* An ICANN insider, Becky Burr, to represent ICM in all ICANN matters—did I mention that she was on ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency committee for a good portion of her time, representing ICM to ICANN?
* An ICANN Board Chair adamantly in favor of pushing .XXX through.
* An ICANN Board member, Sebastian Bachollet, hired to be on the IFFOR Board (can you say conflict of interest?)
* A shortened public comment period at the San Francisco conference—two hours rather than the usual five hours, in an attempt to silence the adult community’s public voice.
* ICM’s ability to conceal the information they submitted as proof of sponsorship support, knowing full well that the actual sponsorship community easily would refute the “proof” submitted.
* A vote by the Board to move forward with the process even though they knew and stated publicly during the board meeting that what they were voting on was a lie.
ICANN will be in a position to make a great deal of money if .XXX is approved. But there is a voice of reason in this catastrophic mess called ICANN. ICANN’s Government Advisory Committee (GAC) has, on three occasions, noted the lack of support from the sponsorship community and also a number of other problems with .XXX; GAC has reached consensus opposition to .XXX. ICANN is required, by its bylaws, to take GAC advice into account. Moreover, the US government, the entity that authorizes ICANN to oversee the domain name system, has expressly cautioned ICANN about ignoring GAC advice, basically threatening to take away its authority if it continues to overstep its boundaries by ignoring the public policy concerns of world-wide governments.
Adult industry professionals must take action NOW!
On March 17, ICANN will convene a public forum, albeit much abbreviated. FSC is organizing key leaders in the adult community to speak at the conference during the public comment period. We know they will limit the number of speakers inside the conference, but we can have a pronounced voice outside the building. In a time when rallies are changing the world around us we are…
Calling all industry professionals to rally in San Francisco against .XXX!!
When: Thursday, March 17, 2011, from 12:30 – 2:00 pm
Where: ICANN Conference, the Westin, San Francisco, Union Square, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco
What: Press conference and rally outside the Westin
Who: All industry professionals and supporters of the adult entertainment community.
If you can participate in the rally, contact Kim at Free Speech Coalition, at (818) 348-9373) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will provide additional information.
It you cannot participate but still want to be heard, we will launch a tweet campaign-make sure you are signed up and able to tweet by March 16, follow FSC on twitter and we will launch our campaign so that the decision makers are fully aware of where we stand on the issues.
In the long run, if .XXX passes, FSC is considering the following possibilities:
1. Filing a dispute through ICANN’s IRP (Independent Review Process), although we are rightfully wary of all things ICANN
2. Filing a lawsuit, including an immediate injunction against ICANN—we have a team of attorneys considering best possible arguments
3. Organizing a boycott of .XXX—there are two ways to defeat .XXX. One, with a BANG, and the other, with a trickle. Clearly, we would prefer to have .XXX defeated, over and done with. However, passage of .XXX does not necessarily mean that it is viable or will be successful. ICM needs adult businesses to purchase .XXX domain names. ICM has reported over and over again that its business model relies on between 300,000 and 500,000 .XXX domain names. After over five years of actively marketing pre-registrations, ICM has just over 200,000 pre-reservations —and remember, that includes registries that have reserved a number of names in hopes of re-selling to the adult industry. It costs absolutely NOTHING to pre-reserve a domain name. Once money has to be paid, those numbers will decrease. Couple that with a boycott and .XXX could fail before the end of its first year. Remember, more of these domain names have failed than succeeded, and without the support of the industry it is purported to serve….XXX is history!
The time to act is now! Get involved! Let’s work together to send a clear message to ICANN and the world, once and for all, that we think .XXX is…BULLSHIT!