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Article that describes in a logical way why this is a bad idea

  • To: <stld-rfp-xxx@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Article that describes in a logical way why this is a bad idea
  • From: "Niecodzienny" <niecodziennyon@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 16 May 2004 14:35:12 +0200

"By the end of this year, Internet users could have an extraordinarily convenient place to find pornography: a new .xxx top-level domain... Under [initiator Stuart Lawley's] proposal, submitted last week to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), .xxx domain names would be sold for $70 to $75 each. Child pornography would be verboten, but pretty much anything else would be permissible, Lawley said. "Apart from child pornography, which is completely illegal, we're really not in the content-monitoring business..." The problem, in other words, is that as soon as .xxx launches, conservatives in Congress will begin to clamor for laws to make the domain mandatory for sex-related Web sites. That may not be a big deal for hard-core pornmeisters who prefer that virtual street address, but what about sex education sites that include explicit graphics and don't wish to be blocked by filtering software? And where should Salon.com — which features images of topless women — or Playboy.com — which publishes important interviews with U.S. presidents — end up?" — ZDNet.com (US)

While at first it probably sounds like a good idea to have a domain extension for explicit or pornographic web sites, it opens a Pandora's box of controversial issues that might be better left unopened.

First, so long as the usage of the .xxx domain name remains voluntary, it might not present any real problems — but what are the odds that usage would remain voluntary?

Second, if the .xxx domain is to be used for pornographic web sites, who is to say what is pornographic? Would PervScan.com be considered pornographic because it focuses on perversion? Then again, all of PervScan's stories come from standard news outlets. Furthermore, there are no pictures here. You could jerk off better to Victoria's Secret than to PervScan — so would Victoria's Secret be obliged to use .xxx? Or what about the site of shock jock Howard Stern? Or, to look at it the other way, would a news site jeopardize its non-pornographic status by publishing a picture of a bared breast (e.g. Janet Jackson)? Would National Geographic have to censor photos of indigenous people who only wear loincloths?

Third, if registration remains voluntary, what are the odds that porn sites will actually bother with it? If you register fuck.xxx, you know that Google and other search engines will penalize you in their rankings on the assumption that you're a smut purveyor. Since most sites get the bulk of their traffic from search engines, they may well avoid the .xxx domain precisely in order to avoid jeopardizing their standings in the search rankings.

Fourth, the people most likely to use .xxx voluntarily are not porn operators but rather subcultural types who think it's cool to flaunt a deliberately louche or risqué web address. It will seem rebellious to get an .xxx domain. Marilyn Mansons of the future are more likely to use .xxx than the Marilyn Chambers of the future.

Fifth, legitimate businesses will feel obliged to buy up useless .xxx domains. You think Microsoft won't snap up the rights to microsoft.xxx and that Coke won't be forced to buy coke.xxx so that they can prevent their brand names from being tainted by association with sex sites? This creates pure economic waste, since these domain names are not exactly cheap. (Compare the projected $75 for an .xxx domain name to the $10 or sometimes even less for other domain names... Why are the .xxx domain names so pricey, anyway? Is it like a sin tax?)

In sum, though the .xxx domain would seem to have the noble purpose of organizing the web and preventing adult material from falling into the hands of children, odds are that this is a poor way of accomplishing such an objective. It's essentially the web equivalent of the scarlet letter — the scarlet domain name. And you know how that turned out...

 

 

Niecodzienny



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