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27 July 2017 08:35 (South Africa)
Sci-Tech

Are people getting screwed by .xxx?

  • Rebecca Davis
    bec photo
    Rebecca Davis

    Rebecca Davis studied at Rhodes University and Oxford before working in lexicography at the Oxford English Dictionary. After deciding she’d rather make up words than define them, she returned to South Africa in 2011 to write for the Daily Maverick, which has been a magnificilious decision.  

  • Sci-Tech
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Domain names using the suffix “.xxx” went on sale for the first time last week. The idea is purportedly to attempt to restrict pornography online to one domain area. Yet elements of the project sound like one big scam. By REBECCA DAVIS.

Arguments in favour of grouping porn sites together under the .xxx domain are curious in that they simultaneously provide for the protection of porn-viewers and the protection of those who don’t want porn. It is argued, for instance, that grouping the sites together makes it easier to filter them out – it’s easy for parents, for instance, to set up mechanisms to prevent kids from accessing sites with the .xxx suffix. It’s also argued that the .xxx domain will be better for porn-fans, because the sites will be less riddled with viruses than existing porn sites. (This is because site owners have to agree to certain conditions, like scanning the site for malicious bugs every day.) In other words, the argument goes, everyone wins.

Yet look a little closer, and the whole thing starts to appear a bit fishy. Buying .xxx domains are much more expensive than ordinary domains – around $100 a year, as opposed to roughly $10 for the other kind. And they are now being snapped up by universities and top companies who are petrified that porn-peddlers will buy the likes of “Apple.xxx” or “Harvard.xxx”, start a smutty site, and damage the brand’s reputation. Domain vendors GoDaddy.com are quite open about this – on their website they say: “Perhaps you’d like to create an adult entertainment website. Or maybe you’re here to keep your brand from being registered as a .xxx by someone else. Whatever your reasons for wanting a .xxx domain, you’ve come to the right place.” These “defensive registrations”, as they call them, look like a nice little money-spinner. DM



Read more:

  • XXX Domains: An Obvious Failure, on Mashable.

Photo: REUTERS

  • Rebecca Davis
    bec photo
    Rebecca Davis

    Rebecca Davis studied at Rhodes University and Oxford before working in lexicography at the Oxford English Dictionary. After deciding she’d rather make up words than define them, she returned to South Africa in 2011 to write for the Daily Maverick, which has been a magnificilious decision.  

  • Sci-Tech

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