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More Domain Drama with 4As and .XXX

Posted on 8.21.2011

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers' (ICANN) decision to approve the creation of generic top-level domain (TLD) names has been rife with controversy, but recent opposition from the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and the adult entertainment industry has reignited the debate.

The first statement came from the Free Speech Coalition (FSC), a trade association of the adult entertainment industry, advocating adult trademark holders to attempt to protect their brands from being sold on .XXX domains to third parties. The concern of the group is that the expansion of the .XXX domain extension is going to blackball all sites using it on the Internet, and could ultimately hurt the image of the industry in the long-run.

These fears have been somewhat validated by the release of information that only about 20 percent of businesses registering for the .XXX domains are adult content-related, meaning most businesses are registering to keep their brands from becoming associated with a .XXX domain.

4As also recently announced that they are cooperating with other marketing and advertising groups to "strongly" oppose the proposed changes in Internet domain names. They are asking ICANN to reconsider its decision for fear that the new registration will disrupt the ideal of the online global marketplace by diminishing the trust of the consumers that the quality and history of a product or service will continue to be accurately reflected on the Internet, making it harder to make important marketplace choices and decisions.

The recent statements illustrate some of the major concerns that various industries have about the proposed changes to TLD registrations. There are many questions about the impact that these changes will have on brands, especially smaller ones that don't necessarily have the capital to procure secure and relevant domain name registrations.

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