Where There's Muck, There's Brass

Whilst we will have to wait a few more weeks to see the exact sunrise registration numbers, it appears that both dotPorn and dotAdult are on track to break new gTLD records. After just two weeks of the controversial gTLDs being solely available to Trademark Clearinghouse members, ICM registry believe that both will exceed (comfortably) the bar set by dotLondon last year as the most registered TLD in the Sunrise period.

It seems that ICM, who are also the registry operator of dotXXX and will later in the year launch dotSex, have got their homework right in terms of balancing the opportunities and risks for all brand holders.  The current phase, due to run until the end of March, is only available to the 35,000 TMCH object holders before the second phase opens that is exclusively for those non-TMCH object holders who have one (or more) of the 80,000 dotXXX domain names registered in the TLDs sunrise phase back in 2011.  This second phase, which will run during April, is being offered as a multi-year blocking product, similar to the existing dotXXX product by many registrars including NetNames, allowing brand holders to protect their Intellectual Property for years to come without any fuss.

For those organizations who are involved in the Adult Entertainment industry, and will thus be keen to actively use these new gTLDs, they will have to wait until the Domain Matching phase opens in May, assuming they also already own a dotXXX.  Whilst the usage rules for dotAdult and Porn are different to dotXXX in the fact that you do not have to be an accredited member of the adult industry to actively use these new gTLDs, we would expect to see some of the biggest adult-themed websites register and use the new gTLDs.  Currently, only half of the most visited Adult websites in the world, according to Alexa Rankings, have an active dotXXX website although most of these forward to their dotCom.  It seems that the old ways are still the best ways when it comes to the choice of TLD, with 19 out of the top 20 Adult orientated websites using a dotCom domain name as their prime TLD.

Whilst the known unknowns of the Google algorithm will be the main reasons as to why adult industry brands have not adopted dotXXX, it will be interesting to see the adoption rate of these new gTLDs, especially with dotSex on the horizon.  One brand holder we spoke to who is an active part of this community felt that having already registered a dotXXX, the new gTLDs would add little value to her web presence:-

“I see no benefit at all for the new adult-themed gTLDs. Maybe there is an argument it is easier for censoring or filtering and preventing people inadvertently going to the wrong page.  The majority of my traffic comes from direct type of my name, rather than any search activity which is common for most well-known adult websites. The issue most organizations have, whether in the adult industry or not is that they simply cannot buy everyone just to prevent cybersquatting.”

As we saw from the launch of dotXXX, the prime focus of these two new gTLDs isn't the adult entertainment industry - it's for brand holders, and that is why ICM Registry have designed their products in ways that offer the maximum protection against Intellectual Property abuse. Of course there is an argument that says why launch these two potentially-brand damaging Top Level Domains in the first place. It's a valid statement, and one that only ICANN can truly answer. What is for sure though is that if ICM hadn't applied to operate these TLDs, someone else would have, and as we are starting to see elsewhere in the program, the approach towards brand holders may not have been so encompassing.