ICANN has approved the creation of .xxx domains

On Friday 18 March 2011 ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) approved The ICM Registry’s initial application for the top-level domain .xxx.

Initial approval for a .xxx domain was given in 2005 but this was rescinded following protests from politically conservative groups. ICANN said it was worried that it would be asked to police content - a role it was not created for. In February 2010, a panel of US judges stated that ICANN erred in denying the approval of the domain. ICANN accepted that ruling and began a public consultation process on whether the domain should be approved. ICANN finally approved the .xxx domain application in 2010 and following further checks, approved the launch of this domain in 2011.

Supporters of the .xxx domain say that the domain will make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. Religious groups have argued that giving adult sites their own domain legitimises the content.

ICANN said in a draft paper ahead of approving the decision, "The ICANN community has engaged in extensive debate as well, with this single issue generating higher volumes of community comment than nearly any other issue ever faced within ICANN."

The organisation oversees the Internet's addressing system and demands that new top level domains, such as .biz, must be "sponsored" in that they must serve the needs of a defined community.

ICM said last year that it had more than 110,000 pre-reservations for .xxx domains.