ICM Registry to Sell .xxx Domain Names – This Affects YOU.

Published On September 8, 2011 | By Marc Zwillinger | General
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So, you don’t have a porn site.  Do you still care about this story? You’d better.

The ICM Registry will soon be selling domain names, making all current domain names with the addition of ‘.xxx’ available to the public.  The creation of these names is largely to benefit the online Adult Entertainment industry and the new domain names will all include .xxx, for example BigCompany.xxx.   This development has the potential to have several negative effects on ‘non-members’ of the online adult community, forcing these ‘non-members’ to purchase the rights to the domains to ‘block’ their usage.

The process for purchasing these new .xxx domain names has been laid out in several stages, with the colorful names of Sunrise A, Sunrise B, Landrush and General Availability. ‘Sunrise A’ is “dedicated to the adult community either verifiable trademark rights or owners of exact matching domains in other IANA Top Level Domains (“TLDs”). Sunrise B “was created especially for non-adult Intellectual Property holders who are non-members of the adult Sponsored Community with verifiable trademark rights so they can block their domains in the .XXX sTLD.” This covers most corporate readers of this blog.   The price for that purchase is $199.99 for the first year.  Both ‘Sunrise’ stages are open now through October 28, 2011.  Starting November 8th the ‘Landrush’ stage will begin and run to November 25th 2011. This application period refers to people who do not qualify as Sunrise applicants, but want to avoid the first come, first served basis that will be the process in the ‘General Availability’ stage.  To purchase a domain during the ‘Landrush’ stage you must be a member of the adult Sponsored Community and then submit a bid through a closed-auction process (Aside, how much do you think sex.xxx will go for?).  Last, on December 6th 2011 the ‘General Availability’ stage will begin.  In this stage, there are no pre-qualifications to purchase and applicants will pay the low, low price of $99.99 for the first year.  Again, in this stage,  domain names will be purchased on a first come, first serve basis.

So, let’s say you own several domain names with registered trademarks and you want nothing to do with the adult community.   How do you protect yourself from a pornsquatter registering your trademarked name ending in .xxx and trying to get traffic based on your popularity?.  For $199, you can buy the .xxx version yourself.  Or, you can save your money and hope no one tries to buy it in the Landrush.  If someone does, you still could have an easy UDRP victory in 6-10 weeks and get the domain name back, but until then you have to suffer potential brand harm and that process will cost at least 20 times in time or money more than the name costs.  Is this starting to feel like a shake-down or a hold-up? It does to me.   But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should  just cross your fingers and hope for the best.  Instead, you should consider purchasing that .xxx domain name during the ‘Sunrise’ stage from September 7th – October 28th.   After that, you’ll have to wait for the ‘General Availability’ period to begin.

If you have a domain without a verifiable trademark, however, you’re stuck waiting it out.

For more information and a fairly amusing video explaining all of this with pictures, click here – http://www.icmregistry.com/launch/.

About The Author

Marc is the founder and managing member of ZwillGen PLLC and has been regularly providing advice and counsel on issues related to the increasingly complex laws governing Internet practices, including issues related to Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”), the Wiretap and Communication Acts, privacy, CAN-SPAM, FISA, spyware, adware, Internet gambling and adult-oriented content. He also helps Internet Service Providers and other clients comply with their compliance obligations pertaining to the discovery and disclosure of customer and subscriber information.

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