After 2 year years The New gTLD Program Committee (NGPC) has decided that .Sex, .Porn and .Adult are Sensitive Strings according to the minutes of the new gTLD committee to ICANN which are dated July 1st.
Interestingly before the application period closed it was wildly speculated by many including myself that the Government Advisory Council (GAC) would object to the strings such as .Sex giving level of opposition to .XXX and the years and number of battles that ICM the registry for .XXX faced to getting the extension approved.
However the GAC never objected to .Sex or the other strings .Porn and .Adult.
Matter of fact in the two years since the new gTLD applications were submitted there has not been any objections lodged to .Sex, .porn or .adult that I have seen anywhere in the ICANN channel, at the ICANN meeting or even in the public sessions of each ICANN meeting when anyone can get up to chat about anything with the ICANN Board.
This “concern” has literally come out of nowhere, its basis is unknown and not explained in the minutes of the New gTLD committee meeting.
Under the heading “Consideration of Sensitive Strings” the committee says:
“”The Committee engaged in a discussion concerning applications for several adult-oriented strings in the current round of the New gTLD Program, including .ADULT, .PORN, and .SEX. The applications propose to serve the same sector as the .XXX sponsored TLD. Staff noted that the applications were not the subject of GAC advice, or any special safeguards, other the safeguards that are applicable to all new gTLDs. The Committee considered how the safeguards in the new gTLD Program compare to the safeguards that were included in the .XXX Registry Agreement.
“”The Committee requested staff prepare additional briefing materials, and agreed to discuss the matter further at a subsequent meeting.”””
Making it more puzzling is that two of the strings, .porn and .adult, ICM the registry of .XXX is the only applicant and is already on the record saying that domains those strings will be given to .XXX domain holders.
.Sex has two applicants and is among the last new gTLD contention auctions to be held by ICANN according to their schedule but in the event ICM wins that auction .Sex domain names would also be given to the holders of .XXX domain names.
Which of course raises another issue
What if ICM and the other applicant or .Sex had gone into a private auction settle contention on the basis that existed before July 1, before the new gTLD committee new found interest in these strings and one of the applicants spent say $5 Million to settle only now to wake up to find something that was not an issue is now an issue?
Fairness would dictate that objections need to be raised in a timely manner, it is so in a court of law, and should be the same for ICANN and its committees.