Can a Business Avoid the .xxx Domain Extension?

23. August 2011 Internet Trends 1

Choosing a domain name extension was straightforward when I founded Skyway West in 1996 and has remained so until now. The introduction of the .xxx extension, to denote adult content, in December 2011 is proving a more complicated decision. Why are 900,000 companies considering a .xxx extension, and should we join them?

We chose three domains 15 years ago. The .com extension meant you were a real Internet company and .ca acknowledged our Canadian identify although we didn’t expect many people to use it. We added .net because it was industry practice for ISP’s to assign their customers .net email addresses and for customer portals like our Network Health Dashboard to reside at a .net URL.

We avoided spelling variations of our domain name because our traffic is too low compared to other brands for somebody to justify “typo-squatting” on it. Be careful, for example, mistyping Facebook like this: www.fcebook.com.

We passed on new extensions like .biz or .info when they became available because we didn’t expect people searching for us to use them first. It also seemed a waste of money to prevent “cyber-squatting” on these second choice domain name extensions.

We recently registered skywaywest.mobi anticipating that within a few years many people will use a smart phone to reach our web site and will expect the .mobi extensiona to signify sites specifically designed for smart phones. For now, we are directing skywaywest.mobi to skywaywest.com and redesigning our .com site to make it more “mobile” friendly.

At first glance I see no need to register a .xxx extension. People interested in our Internet services won’t be replacing .com with .xxx when trying to reach our web site, we still don’t have enough traffic for somebody to justify “cyber-squatting” and we are not planning to add .xxx services. Most importantly, we don’t want to register it and risk having our brand associated with a name like that. There is no need to purchase a .xxx extension.

On the other hand, what if a cyber-squatter did register our domain with the .xxx extension? Do we care if it appears near our domain in google search results? What if they actually used it for their own .xxx site? I do care but am I willing to pay the $313.37 one registrar is charging to protect my brand and stop my Trademarks from being registered by others?

If my brand was Barbie, I would be forced to register barbie.xxx to prevent unmeasurable damage to my brand. According to Easyspace, one of the accredited registrars of the .xxx domain, 8 out of 10 pre-registrations have been from outside the adult entertainment industry. Protecting the brand is the only way to explain why the .xxx registrar has received over 900,000 inquiries from companies before the new extension is even launched Dec 6.


1 thought on “Can a Business Avoid the .xxx Domain Extension?”

  • 1
    Andriy on September 7, 2011 Reply

    Fantastic article. Very well written too. Thank you. We all face this “all domains are mine”” challenge at some point. However, I think the way it should be treated is the same as we treat our names. We find people with the same first names, don’t we? We use last names to identify ourselves. Almost like: Andre.com, Andre.net, Andre.ca LOL. I don’t think that’s a problem. Any web-site/company has to define itself and really focus on the customer. The customer will find the way to come back. Example? You wrote a great article and I spent time to post my comments here( Not somewhere on yourdomain.xxx)
    Thanks

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