Its Time For ICM & Registrars To Start Selling .XXX On Its Merits Rather Than For Protection

A few weeks ago DomainShane.com wrote a piece on the sales pitch many of the registrars and even ICM the registry for .XXX was using to sell .XXX domain names.

Today I’m going to agree with Shane.

At the time Shane Cultra wrote the piece the Sunrise period just ended and the Land Rush period was underway.

As the Sunrise Period as in any new extension is largely for Trademark holders to get first rights to register their TM domain names I wasn’t overly concerned at the time

But now that General Availability has started and .XXX domain names are now available on a 1st come 1st serve basis, the message for the registry and the registrars need to change.

It can’t be about getting people to register .XXX to protect their good name or reputation.

.XXX domain names have to be sold in a positive fashion, giving people reasons to register .XXX domains and the potential benefits of registering a .XXX  for the long term health of the extension.

Today hours after .XXX officially launched and went live, I got this email from Godaddy.com one of the accredited .XXX registrars:

Then today I received emails from two other registrars including Dotster.com along the same lines:

Now that the .XXX extension has launched, the marketing of this domain must go from negative to positive.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I absolutely agree. I personally think that the names that are trademarked should have been given at no charge to the rightful owners only if the name will not resolve. Why would anyone want to pay for something like this? They should feel ashamed but I am sorry to say they are laughing to the bank. This will only make it harder to get the new TLD’s approved. ICANN has a huge problem right now and I think they know it.

  2. Jp says

    I thought the whole protect your name thing was a bit scammy. It is just such a big part of the extension that it is clear the extension was created partly just to profit off of this fear. If it wasn’t for this component perhaps there would be no .xxx. It reminds me in a way of the spyware that try’s to tell you your computer is infected and you need to buy this upgrade to fix your computer, but all the upgrade really does is disables the message.

  3. says

    @ MHB

    I received the same email as well.

    “Protecting your brand” sets a bad precedent for the new extensions coming, which is what one reason many major companies are against them.

    I consider what they have done to TM holders legal extortion.

    There is no reason major brands should have to pay $100, $200, $300, etc to block their obvious famous TM from abuse.

    Their behavior certainly has added fuel to the new gTLD fire.

    Brad

  4. says

    On a side note, I am not surprised they are marketing around “protect your brand”. The vast majority of the adult industry does not support this extension and there are limited quality keywords anyway.

    With that being the case, where are all the regs going to come from?
    Defensive registrations are going to be a major source of income.

    Brad

  5. says

    “.XXX domain names have to be sold in a positive fashion, giving people reasons to register .XXX domains and the potential benefits of registering a .XXX for the long term health of the extension.”

    What positive reasons are there to register .xxx? Register OilChange.xxx so you can offer oil changes by strippers? There are only so many adult phrases and words that fit .xxx and most of the good ones were already taken by the “Founders”.

    Register .xxx to make money parking? There is no money in parking adult names, at least through google.

    Register .xxx to put your adult website on it? The adult industry is against this extension and already has well established websites on their dotcoms. There is every conceivable adult website satisfying every fetish already on a dotcom.

    Register .xxx to line the pockets of ICM and ICANN.

  6. says

    Thanks Michael,

    Chris and I took a little heat for writing the article and lost advertising (notice we were the only domain blog that ICM didn’t advertise with) because of it, but we were pretty secure in our feeling that it was bad marketing and not good for our industry. I’m not against it because it’s adult, I was against it because it’s came across as a ransom note to business and I am a businessman. Chris and I don’t need vindication but I do appreciate the post. There are much better ways to market. If I were ICM, I would go the “Expand Your Boundaries” type marketing approach.

  7. theflintstones says

    this “protect your brand” tactic to selling dn’s goes back a long way. some of “domain name entrepreneurs” that domainers hold in high regard relied heavily (though not entirely of course) on this tactic.

    the tactic “works” but that does not make it “right”.

    it’s convenient to switch tactic now, after fees from tm holders have been collected.

    it’s closely related to the tactic of selling based on fear of missing “the next big thing”. so, e.g., .xxx will be able to sell key generics to the top 1% of domainers with lots of cash, or one letter domains to the top 1% web-based companies with lots of cash.

    while people who are invested in .com just shake their heads.

    you can put mobile content in .com
    you can put telephone numbers in .com
    you can put pornography in .com
    you can detect mobile or other types of browsers and serve tailored content

    what is the purpose of these new tld’s?

    more and more people are going to see clearly who benefits from new tld’s. look no further than the few folks who are continually arguing in favour of them.

    it’s time to stop the new registry nonsense and focus on realistic ways we can improve the existing dn system.

  8. John Berryhill says

    @David:

    ” I personally think that the names that are trademarked should have been given at no charge to the rightful owners only if the name will not resolve.”

    Okay, so how do you implement that?

    I show up and say “XYZ is my trademark” and you reserve and block the name. Is that what you have in mind?

    And you know it is (a) a trademark and (b) belongs to me… how? Do you bother to check, or do you run it the way .info ran it, and ended up with 18,000 names registered through fake trademark claims.

    Tell me exactly how this is supposed to work.

  9. yes says

    what do you do when the trademark is longer than 255 characters?

    how do you represent characters that are included in a mark with a standard character claim but not allowed in the DNS protocol?

  10. says

    *

    .xxx is just another racket (albeit legal).

    If anyone expects a registry based on hardcore porn to be ethical, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell.

    So why is anyone surprised that .xxx would be using protection as a business model?

    I can’t wait for the legal battles to begin!

    *

  11. Ben Elza says

    Thats what I am talking about! Exactly Michael,in fact, the .xxx does sell itself as the elite of all extentions, it’s where the sophisticated products and services want to be.

  12. says

    Ms. Domainer

    You’re mixing your personal views with business. Porn is a real business that billions of people around the world are part of. It’s fine that you have an ethical and moral problem with it but fortunately for all, your personal views are exactly that, personal, and have no bearing on the right or wrong of a business. I choose not to partake in it because I have children that I don’t want exposed while I am at my computer doing work. I don’t want my daughter asking why I am typing out hotcarlboobs.xxx. It’s a personal choice I’ve made, but I’m intelligent enough to know that those who partake are no worse portion of society than those who claim to be moral.

  13. says

    The thing that gets me is the price tag. They are coming out with one hundred dollar annual registration. I can see this for the lesser smaller adopted extensions like .travel or .pro, but .xxx ? That alone is keeping me out. Renewals at those prices is incredible to get return on your investment and honestly, outside of the major keywords and “phrases” i think developing an adult site and having search engines rank it will be more difficult getting it ranked in the search engines than developing under a regular extension.

  14. says

    No offense Robert Cline but your a .co guy and this is not a .co thread. Why are you here?
    My short ones are
    FOP.xxx – Free Online Porn
    FPV.xxx – Free Pron Videos

    I think these can be great names for the .xxx industry..

    Am I wrong? Maybe.

  15. Philip Corwin says

    Excellent post, Mike.

    Here, in the very same week that witnesses told the Senate Commerce Committee that they are against the new gTLD program because it will require them to expend lots of wasted $ for defensive registrations, we see registrars who support and stand to gain significant additional business from new gTLDs helping to make the opponents’ point. Sure, .XXX is qualitatively different from a lot of the new gTLDs that are coming, but this marketing theme is still tone deaf.

    .XXX was approved as a TLD for adult content, and while its approval was pending its promoters talked about how it would be qualitatively superior to the existing adult domain space. It should be marketed on that basis — not as something so tainted that businesses should buy their names in for domains that will never resolve just to protect their reputation against guilt by association.

  16. adam says

    @ Rober Cline
    yeah maybe you sold something but I am sure you are still close to 1000 LLL.co`s
    and you are not making any profits taking all in too account but rather opposite..
    You need many, many years to sell them so I recommend you to start selling now even for 100usd.

  17. says

    Here’s how the game is played. Based on established behavior and proven metrics you can bank on 100K registrations for brand protection and another 100K from addicted gamblers who have strayed into the domaining space and perceive $85 to be a cheap bet on a high prize- a dream they can hold on to- one lottery ticket versus 100 they’d buy for one of those multi-city multi-million dollar payouts. Even though they’ve been burned so many times with TLDs, they will keep coming back for more. That’s just what addicts do. That will generate 100K more registrations. You can take those assumptions to the bank and already they have well exceeded my numbers.

    Now, talking to an audience of investors potential exit buyers and registries who will be salivating over the lost potential from their decision not to carry this tld and hence will take it on and promote it vigorously to build the base even more, ICM has a strong brand that’s been discussed promoted and advertised all over the world- three letters that even before this were one of the most recognized and attractive brands on the plant- transformed into a high margin profitable business with 200K subscribers on the books, $17 million in the bank and another $17 million forecasted for EFT in 9 months. Pretty impressive for a brand that’s only been public domain for a couple of months.

    All of this without even touching it’s true potential. Which is the largest and most successful niche online, probably one of the biggest attractions of the Internet to millions who never had access to this kind of content. Where anyone can create an alias, register a domain and start showing skin from their own home with just a web cam and word of mouth.

    There are over a million amateur exhibitionists showing off their skin on Porn Tube and unbeknownst to most, You Tube- example:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGo6uGR755U

    Some people dream of becoming an astronaut or president when they grow up. Buy today equally as many dream of being discovered on You Tube and becoming a porn star. Remember girls gone wild- it didn’t take much for every girl to participate.

    MySpace was full of such folks. And the stakes are high- I remember when Ashley Madison had her 15 minutes of fame in the Spitzer scandal. Within hours over a million people downloaded her song from MySpace at 99 cents each. There was another site on MySpace where a guy made a couple of million selling his dirty shorts. He wears them, show off in them then take your order, address the package take them off sign them and seal it. But none of this potential can be reached on borrowed land. How many times can someone build a following and become homeless when the site is no longer in vogue?

    Today there are millions of wannabes all competing for attention and none with their own home. .XXX provides that opportunity. And that’s where the BIG money will be made.

  18. Ann Kuch says

    @David
    That is exactly what Manwin and Digital Playground argue in the Federal comlaint filed in Los Angeles. Morover, in that complaint, they have requested a jury trial. I suspect that 12 average Americans who do not want their names associated with porn will agree.

  19. Michael H. Berkens says

    Ann

    A civil jury trial is only 6 people and they will quiz any prospective jury as to there bias nor lack thereof against porn in general, however I don’t see this as a “porn” case but a case on the issues which really has little to do with porn

  20. Michael H. Berkens says

    Ann

    And for the record I STILL think the lawsuit by Manwin is crap, lacks any merit, and does not recognize the power of ICANN to enter into these types of exclusive contracts nor do they understand that by their nature when you get a right of the dot keyword it in fact does give you sole control of that space, legally.

    Here is my post on CircleID.com if you haven’t read it;

    http://www.circleid.com/posts/why_lawsuit_against_xxx_maybe_the_best_sales_tool_for_new_gtld_applicants/

  21. no says

    there’s also a post on circle jerk id entitled “the death of tld front running” that has received even more views that the one about .xxx.

    it discusses a uspto ttab decision that rejected an attempt to trademark .music

    if someone else starts a .xxx registry what can icm do?

    sue them for trademark infringement? how can they do that if they cannot get a trademark on .xxx?

    like manwin’s case, their chances are slim. just my opinion.

    that ttab decision is to me a clear statement that there is absolutely no exclusivity to running a tld registry. anyone can do it.

    new gtld applicants should be aware of this.

    using icann dns is a choice. that is a fact.

    at present, nearly everyone chooses to use icann dns. but then again, many do not even realise they have a choice.

    dns is not magic. it’s not voodoo. it’s a way to get a number for a name. and the numbers and names are public information.

  22. says

    Brand protection isn’t necssarily extortion. BY taking control of the domain you eliminate spammers and scammers who will spoof your address. I can see the emails now, “someone know your home ran up a $300 tab on our site and gave us an invalid expiration date. For security can you please resubmit the billing data.” Then they think it’s the husband or the kids or the cleaning guy.

    Adding this to a suite of domains becomes an asset on the books, something that can only make a sale or merger easier. It’s also a write off. And gives you rights to the Facebook and twitter aliases.

    I don’t think GoDaddy is the culprit here. I look more to brand guardians like Mark Monitor who advise clients to do it as there is financial gain for them.

    The other side of brand protection is existing .com porn sites. I think it’s almost essential to own the matching .XXX, not only to eliminate confusion and potential piracy under a name that seems legitimate, but also if XXX is embraced by consumers and becomes a red light district, a defacto standard for porn, the dotCOMs will pay a kings random then versus a relatively cheap insurance policy now.

    As for the pump and dump- it’s the grown men who willfully buy the names, no one holds a gun to their head, no one keeps then from researching the market, opportunity and risks to make an informed decision. They are like smokers, the package says this will kill you and their response is got a light.You don’t call the Florida Lottery a pump and dump. Yet everyone in line that looks like they earn minimum wage and is buying hundreds of tickets with voodoo number selections, or a lucky string they try again with every week. They know they are not going to win. Ever stand behind the guy who has two $5 winners and then asks for one of this and one of that then stops to fill out a form with numbers, then decides he better invest another ten bucks because this could be the one that wins that he’d let get away over $10.
    The NY Lotto got it right with their slogan “Hey You Never Know” Perhaps that should be .xxx’s banner in the domain space….

    Don’t confuse any of this with a legitimate business called domaining.

  23. LS Morgan says

    Brand protection isn’t necssarily extortion.
    ——-

    It certainly is extortion in the new TLD world. I don’t think anyone here could keep a straight face and suggest that brand registrations and renewals aren’t being HEAVILY factored in the startup math with the new TLDs.

    Much like corporatized health care, there are morally questionable things that happen when callous capitalists are allowed to control something fundamental to existing. Domain names represent identity (credible or not). They have no comparative analog.

  24. lotto says

    But to whom do the funds collected from state lotteries go?

    With new TLD’s the funds go to

    domain name registrars,

    ICANN staff (remember ICANN is “non-profit” so they pay no tax)

    and the people who run these registries.

    Not to mention consultants and advisors who encourage new TLD’s, such as Mark Monitor, who feed off the new gtld mania.

    If Mark Monitor really wanted to help trademark registrants protect their marks, wouldn’t they *oppose* new gtlds?

    If owen’s description and estimates of the people who are buying .xxx domains is accurate, if they are essentially the equivalent of compulsive gamblers or nicotine addicts, then the notion of “consumer protection” and the attention of the FTC to ICANN and its gtld plan makes a lot more sense. And that is without even counting the trademark holders, who no doubt have a friend or two in Washington, as being “consumers” needing protection.

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