.xxx gets the green light... er, make that "red light"

Posted by Mike Luttrell

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the group responsible for assigning online domain extensions, has decided to move forward in a long-running mission to set an official designation for porn Web sites.

There are an estimated 5 to 6 million adult sites on the World Wide Web, and it's expected that the vast majority will have absolutely no interest in moving to the .xxx domain. Some existing porn sites are likely to register xxx versions of their domains, but strictly as a defensive measure. In total, ICANN expects around 500,000 xxx sites will be registered when it goes live.

The idea of creating the domain is to have a virtual "red light district," which is monitored and set to official guidelines. Users would be able to go to a .xxx site and know that it is safe from viruses or spyware.

But opponents of the move, like religious groups and the Free Speech Coalition, dislike the idea that such an official designation would be given to online porn, highlighting its availability (as if that's anything anyone actually had concerns with).

The domain was first proposed in 2005 and it has been rejected an un-rejected multiple times since then. Today's announcement from ICANN means that it will actually become a reality. Barring any more problems, .xxx will be available online in about 9 months.