As Companies Squabble Over .XXX Domain Names, Some Embrace New Porn Sites

Pre-registration has started for the new .XXX domain, and while people are tremendously excited that porn will finally be available on the internet, businesses say they're being shaken down for registration fees. Companies like Mattel are faced with a choice of paying $200 now to claim the name Barbie.xxx, or spending thousands in legal fees after squatters set up an official-looking porn site showing what America's favorite doll does when the toy chest is closed.

Reuters reports that while the domain doesn't launch until December, ICM Registry, the company administering the new names, has started accepting applications from brand owners. So far 80% of the registrants are from non-porn companies that want to protect their brands. ICM Registry says it charges $200 per name to cover the cost of verifying the applicant's trademark ownership, but since a company like Mattel may own tens of thousands of domain names for the many products in manufactures, the costs can add up.

MTV Networks has already signed up to protect holdings like VH1 and Comedy Central, as has Budget Traveler. (It seems unlikely that squatters would even think to hold BudgetTraveler.xxx hostage, but they're erring on the side of caution.) Nonprofits like the Red Cross and the International Olympic Committee have submitted their domain names too, though they don't have to pay under the rules set up by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.

Porn sites aren't obliged to migrate to .XXX, so it's unclear if the new domain will actually perform a useful function, like making it easier for parents to block pornography from their kids' computers. Though, not every company is against the new domain:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals also signed up. However, instead of blocking its name, said PETA spokeswoman Lindsay Rajt, the organization will launch peta.xxx as a pornography site that draws attention to the plight of animals.

As we've learned from PETA's previous ad campaigns, nothing encourages people to protect animals like pictures of naked ladies.

Business Are Complaining Of A .XXX Shakedown [Reuters]

Earlier: New .XXX Domain Name Manages To Anger Porn Industry & Religious Groups