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.XXX Domains – Do You Need To Register One?

Andy Williams

by Andy Williams on 17th January 2012

Domain NamesSurrounded by hype and publicity I am sure you are all now more than aware that .XXX domains are available for registration.

As of early December 2011 .XXX domains have been on “general sale” and with this release many businesses have been left pondering whether or not they should be buying this version of their domain.

Safeguarding your brand online has never been more important so should everyone be rushing to buy up their .XXX domain?

ICANN’s main intention behind the .XXX domain extension was to protect children and help parents police their usage while organising pornography on the Web.

If you go to an .XXX domain – you know what you’re going to find.

It was expected that adult sites would snap these up, but reports are suggesting that a large number of adult companies simply haven’t bothered to take up the new domain.

This has all led to questions being asked as to whether this is nothing more than a huge money making stunt.
Back in September 2011, trademarked businesses and celebrities were given a 50-day window to pay to have their names excluded and protected from any potential purchase. This involved paying a fee between $150 and $300 for the privilege.

This was known as the “Sunset Period”. But just how many companies took advantage of this? Well we know big names like Sony and Coca cola certainly took part as did the Boy and Girl Scouts. More than 4,000 celebrity names have their names automatically removed including the likes of David Cameron and actress Angelina Jolie.

However despite some big names taking part was this true of all the big players?

Elie Bursztein has written an excellent post on his findings after studying the top 50,000 online companies:
Porn domain not that sexy: no rush to have .xxx

Elie found that only 24% of the 50,000 have registered their domain.

So it appears that the big players aren’t initially worrying too much about the possibility of having their good name used with a .XXX domain extension.

This is no doubt backed up with the knowledge that anyone “squatting” the .XXX version of a big company would no doubt find themselves contacted by a team of lawyers ready to throw the book at them.

But what about the smaller companies?

Do You Need To Buy One?

It was reported in December that a number of colleges and museums in America had brought up their names to prevent adult sites from snapping up .XXX versions. They were so worried about this happening that they paid around $200 to safeguard their name for a decade.

The California State college system spent $1,200 on six .XXX domains despite budget worries.

But are they right to be worried?

Kansas University has already expressed regret after spending $3,000 to safeguard related names. And going on the uptake of these domains you can understand why they may now be slightly disillusioned.

With such a small take up the panic has clearly not materialised and I think there is good reason for this.

Basically I don’t think there is anything to worry about.

It’s always been advised that to protect your brand name you should own all domain extensions for your sites name.

However the sheer panic that someone may use your sites domain name to create an adult site has lead to a huge over reaction. I think you have to be sensible about this. If you own a Butchers shop, www.familybutchers.co.uk for example, what are the chances of someone using this domain name to set up an adult site under this name?

Moreover, what are the chances of someone entering such a URL to find adult material?

As mentioned earlier, the adult industry itself hasn’t been jumping to grab these domains so what are the chances of them now snapping up random company names?

OK bigger companies may be more at risk, but the smaller companies realistically shouldn’t be under any threat.

Typing in a URL is a conscious thing. No one is going to accidentally type in .XXX especially if they are looking for something completely unrelated.

So do you need to buy one? Personally I would say no, unless you are a global brand or have the resources to easily cover the inevitable costs; of course, there are no guarantees in life and you may find $100 a year a very small price to pay for peace of mind.

It’s a big shout to say that this is nothing more than a huge money making scheme but with the initial uptake so small it’s hard to think anything less. There appears to be only one winner: ICANN.

Image Source

Domain Name Rubber Stamps via BigStock

Andy Williams

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, our DADI award winning Digital Marketing Manager will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 9 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

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