Call 0845 485 1219

We love digital - Call
0845 485 1219
and say hello - Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm

Everything You Wanted To Know About .XXX (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

Brand, Videos | 25th Jan 2012

Share this video

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Andy and today I’m going to be looking at .xxx domains. What we’re going to be discussing is why they were brought about, why they exist, should you buy one, and what happens if someone else buys up the .xxx version of your domain name.

Why do they exist? Well, the ICANN decided that they wanted to put something in place that would be a signal to search engines to inform them of adult content. So the .xxx version of a domain was a good idea. It would then categorise all these sites together and indicate to the search engines exactly what they were. It’s also a good idea as well for parents at home who are worried about the sort of content that their kids are looking at. Again, it gives an indication to what exactly these sites are about, and you can safeguard against that.

So what we found was that, in September, when these came out originally, that big brands and celebrities were allowed to safeguard their domains in what was called the “sunset” period. This would give these companies and these celebrities the chance to put themselves on the list, which meant that no one else could buy these domains and they’d be taken away. However, the uptake on this was quite small to start with, and we also found as well that adult sites weren’t that interested in buying these types of domains.

In December, when they went on general sale, again the uptake was very, very small. What you found was that people were starting to more panic buy rather than buying them for business or even again the adult industry wasn’t really that interested as well. But what we did see in the news was the likes of colleges and museums in America were worried about this and did spend quite a bit of money on safeguarding their domains, and they bought up loads of these .xxx domains making sure that no one else could.

That leads on to should you buy one of these .xxx domains. Well, that depends. Obviously, bigger brands are going to be more at risk than smaller ones. As we’ve seen as well recently this week, Richard Branson’s name has been bought up for a .xxx domain. However, I’m sure he’s probably going to be okay. He can afford the lawsuit, and he’ll sort that out quickly. If you’re a smaller brand, should you buy these up? Are you just going to be at risk of the same people as Sony and Coca-Cola? Well, probably not, because the chances are if you’re a butcher, is anyone going to buy your .xxx domain, and if they do, is anyone actually going to truly search for your butcher’s name.xxx? Probably not.

However, it is very, very important to protect your brand online. If you do have the budget, it is probably going to be worthwhile buying it just for piece of mind. Again, you have to look at the kind of business that you’ve got as well. If you’re a school, if you’re a college, do you really want the .xxx version of your name assigned to you? The chances are, as I’ve recently discussed, no one’s really probably going to buy that domain, so should you just leave well alone? That’s kind of your decision to make. I wouldn’t panic too much about it. The chances of putting in a .xxx domain is something you consciously do. You kind of know what you’re looking for if you’re looking for .xxx. So, if you have the budget, go for it. If you don’t, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot to worry about.

What happens if someone does buy your brand.xxx? There are a few things that you might start worrying about. Are they going to out rank you for your own brand name? Is anyone going to look at that site thinking that it’s you? Well, the chances of them out ranking for you is probably not going to happen. As I’ve recently discussed, the .xxx version of this domain gives an indication to the search engines that this is adult content. So, the chances of them ranking above you are very, very minimal. What you’ll also find is that search engines, by default, have a safeguard turned on so adult content usually doesn’t show unless you’re searching for that kind of content.

Should you worry that people are going to start finding these types of domains for your brand and getting mixed up? Again, it’s a conscious thing typing in .xxx. I wouldn’t worry about it. If you put it in, like I say, you know exactly what you’re looking for.

Overall, if you have the budget to do it, go for it. If you don’t, I don’t think it’s anything that you really need to worry about unless you’re a big brand. If you are a big brand, you can probably afford the lawsuit that goes along with it to get rid of the squatters.

Hopefully that’s been interesting. I’ve been Andy Williams. Make sure you check out our blog for more interesting information. Like us on Facebook and also check us out on YouTube.

Andy Williams About the author

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.

What do you think?

Digital Marketing Ideas Every Month

Sign up to receive our free monthly email. Including our favourite pieces of news from the digital marketing industry.

From SEO to PPC, Social Media to Brand Management and Analytics, we'll keep you informed.