ICM extends .xxx sunrise for trademark holders

Metaratings
18 Jul 2011
00:00

ICM Registry, the company managing the upcoming .xxx Top Level Domain for adult web sites, has extended the sunrise period for brand names to prevent their trademarks from being commandeered, but critics – to include much of the adult content industry – maintain that the .xxx TLD is more trouble than it’s worth.

ICM said Monday that its sunrise period, which kicks off September 7, will now last for 50 days rather than the originally planned 30 days, during which non-adult brands can apply to ICM to block their name (say, Coca-Cola, Disney and Telecom Asia) from being used for .xxx domains.
The sunrise extension doesn’t effect the .xxx general release date of December 6.
ICM CEO Stuart Lawley says the company is extending the sunrise period due to huge demand. “Many of our registrars are reporting back to us that there’s huge interest in this,” Lawley told telecomasia.net.
Part of that interest stems from the fact that ICM is offering a one-off fee of between $200 to $300 that brand owners can pay to have their trademark permanently blocked from the .xxx registry (as opposed to paying an annual fee as companies must do now with existing TLDs). Lawley adds that ICM doesn’t make a dime off the fee, which only covers the cost of processing applications.
Lawley also says the one-time fee will save trademark owners a lot of money not just in annual fees, but also the legal fees they’d normally have to pay to go after cybersquatters – a key selling point for ICM when considering that cybersquatting is a perennial headache for trademark owners when any new TLD is introduced, and that in general trademark owners aren’t crazy about having to buy domain names simply as a defensive measure to protect their intellectual property.
However, many adult content players have complained publicly about that very aspect of ICM’s business model. ICM sales director Vaughn Liley has been making the rounds at summits with adult industry reps making the case for .xxx with mixed results, according to reports. Despite additional sweeteners ICM is adding to the mix – such as a free anti-virus service via an $8 million deal with McAfee last month and (starting in the middle of next year) a payment platform Stuart Lawley describes as “iTunes meets PayPal” – many adult content companies remain unconvinced that .xxx will bring them any additional value.
A poll by adult industry news site Xbiz [slightly NSFW] in June found that only 35% of adult entertainment industry professionals planned to buy .xxx domain names. Just 13% would do so to actually develop new sites. The other 22% said it was purely for defensive measures. The rest either don’t support .xxx at all or see no added value.

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