ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers , today issued a press release announcing the list of applicants for new Top-Level Domain (TLD) names. Included in the group of ten new applicants is one for .xxx, the establishment of which could have a profound affect on the adult Internet industry.
The organization that sponsored the application, The International Foundation For Online Responsibility (IFFOR) is a Canadian non-profit corporation formed precisely for the purpose of establishing an adult-oriented TLD.
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"I think the .xxx domain will provide a framework around which the adult industry can self-organize and communicate with the broader Internet audience," Stuart Lawley of IFFOR told AVN.com "We've reached out to all of the interested stakeholders. We've spoken to the online adult business. We've spoken to privacy and security advocates, child advocates and free speech advocates and we've managed to garner support from all of those areas, which allows us to put forward the application as a sponsored TLD," he said.
"In the absence of any online industry group,” Lawley added, “we went out to build the constituency around this organization. We’ve had a lot of adult Webmasters express support, and more specifically, we have support from many of the largest industry players, who, via their affiliate programs, deal with tens of thousands of adult webmasters."
Jason Hendeles, Lawley’s partner, added that this is their second run at getting such a TLD approved by ICANN. "We’ve been working on this application for four to five years. We submitted the original application in 2000, but it was not selected. At the time, they were conducting a test-bed concept to expand the namespace beyond the existing names. It's quite clear now that they were unlikely to do that test bed with an adult top-level domain.”
In response to the frequent complaint that an adult TLD could become a “ghetto” where all adult Websites would be forced to reside, Hendeles countered that such a move would never survive a legal test. “It wouldn't stand Constitutional challenge under the First Amendment in any way shape or form,” he said.
The other proposed TLDs include .asia, .cat, .jobs, .mail, .mobi, .post, .travel, and two separate sponsors proposing .tel.
The announcement of these requests for proposals is the first step by “ICANN’s strategic initiative to move to a streamlined process for the introduction of new generic TLDs.” The last day to submit applications was March 16, 2004. A public comment period will last from April 1 – 30.
After that phase has ended, the applications will be reviewed by an independent evaluation panel beginning in May 2004, according to the press release. “All applicants that are found to satisfy the posted criteria,” it reads, “will be eligible to enter into technical and commercial negotiations with ICANN for agreements for the allocation and sponsorship of the requested TLDs.”