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“India’s Sex Forum” Launched on Masala.XXX

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In the coming days, I expect to see quite a few notices like this one I received today (I won’t be posting any/many). A new website billed as “India’s sex forum” was launched on the domain name, Masala.XXX. According to a few sources, “masala” means spice in Indian, so I suppose this is an appropriate place for the adult forum.

Interestingly, Masala.com is popular website about Bollywood, and the site is essentially news about India’s movie industry and celebrities. The site has an Alexa ranking in the 5,000s in India and in the 30,000s overall.

As more of these sites go online, it will be interesting to see how owners of the .com domain names react to their .XXX counterparts.

Press release follows:

(Delhi, India) MASALA.XXX is the first website designed for India on the adult domain extension .XXX. MASALA.XXX, a free infotainment forum that offers adult visitors a safe environment to openly discuss sex, went live today.

“At MASALA.XXX, we believe that sex is a beautiful thing, not a dirty secret,” said the website spokesperson. “MASALA.XXX will not only entertain adult visitors, but also provide them with helpful information about sex.”

Upon launch, the site features discussions on multiple topics including: sex advice, sex scandals, safe sex, women’s issues, and homosexuality. New topics and discussions will be introduced by site members and moderators.

The privacy of site members and participants is of serious concern to MASALA.XXX, therefore names and email addresses are kept in the strictest confidence. To offer visitors more security, MASALA.XXX features daily virus scans provided through an agreement between ICM Registry, the operator of .XXX, and McAfee.

The website was allocated as part of the ICM Registry Founders Program, an innovative strategy by the new registry to get quality sites immediately developed on .XXX.

“We are thrilled to be the first .XXX website live for India,” said the spokesperson. “MASALA.XXX is proud to be the first site to showcase .XXX as a diverse top level domain that can be used for adult infotainment in addition to pornography.”

MASALA.XXX’s sister site, DESI.XXX will be launching next week.

Frank Schilling Spends Seven Figures on .XXX Domain Names

For over ten years, the ICM Registry tried to get approval for the .XXX TLD. They first proposed it in 2000, resubmitted an application to ICANN in 2004, was approved in 2005, and then rejected in 2006. The ICM Registry persevered and continued its efforts to get .XXX approved, and it finally was approved in March of 2011.

Wired has a pretty comprehensive history of the .XXX tld if you’re interested in learning more about the trials and tribulations.

As I mentioned a few days ago, some of the first .XXX domain names have come online in recent days. Many of these were part of the Founders Program, which awarded .XXX domain names to companies and publishers who agreed to build and promote websites on their domain names.

I just learned that an additional batch of .XXX domain names recently went online, and they are owned by Frank Schilling’s Name Administration. These include some of the best .XXX domain names, and the back story is interesting. According to Schilling, “they were actually purchased in January (at Domainfest) before the contract was awarded. It was a huge risk buying names that didn’t exist.” (The list of .XXX names Schilling acquired is listed below).

Although the exact purchase price was not disclosed, I understand it was seven figures and it was an all cash deal.

This shrewd business decision made by Schilling is another example of his foresight in the domain space. By taking a risk on .XXX, he could have ended up owning non-existent domain names had the extension not been approved. Now, he owns a chunk of significantly valued domain names, since these are some of the best possible .XXX domain names.

Name Administration’s .XXX investment:

  • amateur.xxx
  • amateurs.xxx
  • anal.xxx
  • asian.xxx
  • asians.xxx
  • bollywood.xxx
  • book.xxx
  • celeb.xxx
  • celebs.xxx
  • chat.xxx
  • dating.xxx
  • free.xxx
  • gratis.xxx
  • hardcore.xxx
  • hot.xxx
  • indian.xxx
  • latin.xxx
  • lesbian.xxx
  • lesbians.xxx
  • live.xxx
  • milf.xxx
  • milfs.xxx
  • oral.xxx
  • porno.xxx
  • pornos.xxx
  • pussies.xxx
  • pussy.xxx
  • sexe.xxx
  • sexo.xxx
  • sexy.xxx
  • video.xxx
  • videos.xxx
  • webcam.xxx

Will You Invest in .XXX Domain Names

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Yesterday afternoon, I posted some information about the upcoming launch of .XXX domain names with insight provided by ICM Registry Chairman and CEO Stuart Lawley. I am curious if you plan to purchase any .XXX domain names for development or investment purposes.

As with many other gTLDs that are anticipated, I will likely purchase a few as investments.


.XXX Gearing Up for Launch: An Inside Peak at the ICM Registry

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ICM RegistryYesterday afternoon, I had the chance to speak with Stuart Lawley, Chairman and CEO of the ICM Registry, the company that manages the .XXX domain registry. I wanted to see where the company is at with regards to the upcoming launch, and he was kind enough to provide some information and insight.

The company is currently counting down until the Sunrise A and B period, which begin on September 7 and runs through the end of October. Sunrise A will give trademark holders in the adult community the opportunity to secure their trademark .XXX domain names. They can also attempt to secure their .XXX names if they own a corresponding domain name in another tld. For instance, the owner of FootFetish.com can claim FootFetish.XXX during this period.

Sunrise B is similar and takes place at the same time as Sunrise A, but it is the period for non-adult companies to claim trademark names for the Registry to not give out to others. For instance, Disney can put a claim onto Disney trademarks so nobody can purchase Disney.XXX or other disney trademarks. The interesting thing will be if an unrelated entity, such as someone with the last name Disney, claims Disney.XXX in Sunrise A. That could pose a predicament.

If there are multiple parties interested in particular domain names, they will be auctioned to the highest bidder, with all auctions going through Pool.

From November 8 – 25, there will be the landrush period, where people can place their orders for .XXX domain names that haven’t been claimed or that aren’t reserved by the ICM Registry. If names have multiple bidders, they will be auctioned via Pool.

According to Lawley,  635,000 unique names had been requested when there was the opportunity to request them via non-binding means. I know this isn’t entirely accurate, but it’s  indicative  of the demand. Lawley went out on a limb to predict that  300-500,000 .XXX domain names will be registered in the first year.

Similar to the .CO Registry’s Founders Program, ICM Registry has done the same for .XXX. The period for requests has since passed, and the Registry awarded a number of domain names to publishers who get the name(s) for free but must put up a website ASAP. Some of these (likely not safe for work) include the following:

  • casting.xxx
  • dating.xxx
  • kiss.xxx
  • latin.xxx
  • book.xxx
  • muscle.xxx

The Registry is taking some unique measures with their domain registrations. All domain names will have the McAfee Secure Service enabled, protecting visitors from viruses and other malware. Ordinarily, this tool costs over $300, but it’s being given away for free to all registrants for all .XXX domain names.

In addition to this, Lawley explained that search engines like Google and Yahoo don’t do a fantastic job of helping searchers find adult websites. The Registry is going to set up a unique adult search engine with some of its reserved domain names like Porn.XXX and Sex.XXX and will use those as search portals searching through the .XXX websites. Since all .XXX names will have the McAfee protection, they are saying it’s now a safe way to search for adult content online.

Lawley mentioned that the few .XXX names that they put on the root (like Sex.XXX) generated hundreds of thousands of unique visits when they were tested for 48 hours in April. It’s interesting that people were already exploring .XXX via type-in before the extension had even been fully launched.

The ICM Registry team has an experienced management team running the registry, and it will be interesting to see how they market .XXX domain names. I am told they are a key sponsor of the upcoming TRAFFIC conference, and I am sure the party they plan will be noteworthy. The Registry also plans to exhibit at adult shows and conferences as well.

If you have an interest in learning more about Lawley and hearing more about the launch, you should tune in to Webmaster Radio this afternoon at 5pm EST for Victor Pitts’ interview.

Cost for Back End gTLD Services

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It’s a fact that applying for a gTLD is going to be expensive. We know that the cost for a gTLD application is a non-refundable $185,000 payment to ICANN, and the cost will be considerably more if there are other companies that wish to operate the same gTLD.

In addition to the fixed costs of applying, there will likely be additional legal costs associated with the application as well as consulting costs for companies that want to work with experience professionals like Right of the Dot and Minds + Machines.

These front end costs aside, the actual cost of maintaining the gTLD registry has been an unknown to people without the experience of running a domain registry. Minds + Machines, a company operated by Antony Van Couvering,  just put out a press release announcing a simplified pricing plan for back end gTLD services.

According to the release, “for a flat fee of $100,000 a year, the company will provide unlimited registrations for new TLDs using the Espresso platform, with no per-name fee for most new TLDs.”

The company is also willing to offer a discount to “disadvantaged or needy applicants providing services to underserved communities.”

Press Release:

Singapore, June 24 2011 – Minds + Machines, a wholly owned subsidiary of Top Level Domain Holdings (London AIM, TLDH.L) today announced new pricing for back end registry services for top-level domains. For a flat fee of $100,000 a year, the company will provide unlimited registrations for new TLDs using the Espresso platform, with no per-name fee for most new TLDs.

“We’ve simplified the model,” said Antony Van Couvering, CEO of Minds + Machines. “For a simple, low, flat fee, any prospective applicant can be in the TLD business. Until now, pricing for registry services has been shrouded in secrecy, and potential applicants have had to try to decipher convoluted pricing tiers. The new gTLD program, approved on Monday by ICANN, was meant to usher in a new era of choice and innovation. Minds + Machines is proud to kick that off with our offering.”

“ICANN has opened the Internet’s addressing system to the limitless possibilities of the human imagination,” said Rod Beckstrom, CEO of ICANN. “We have provided a platform for creativity and inspiration, and for the next big dot-thing,” said Peter Dengate Thrush, Chairman of the Board of ICANN.

“The Minds + Machines flat-rate formula is predictable, simple, and attractive,” said George T. Bundy, president of BRS Media, operators of .FM and applicant for .RADIO. “We have been using their Espresso platform for .FM, and it is reliable, flexible, and easy to use. Combined with this pricing it’s very attractive.”

The new Minds + Machines offering excludes certain high-volume super-generic terms such as .music, and geographic terms such as .nyc. The new pricing will be extended to existing clients.

In addition, for disadvantaged or needy applicants providing services to underserved communities, Minds + Machines will offer the service for a 50% discount.

“Our goal is to increase the number of new gTLDs, and the new pricing will be a great help. The fact is that many applicants don’t know how many registrations they will achieve,” said Van Couvering. “The better you can predict your costs, the less risk there is to applying for a new gTLD. An all-inclusive flat fee will give applicants predictable budgets and great savings if they hit their numbers.”

Being First to Announce gTLD Intentions May Be Critical

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I’ve read about a number of companies and organizations that have already announced plans to apply for a new gTLD. Several of the potential new gTLDs have more than one applicant at this point. From my perspective, it may be best for companies to announce their gTLD application intentions early to dissuade others from applying for the same extension.

Some keywords are more likely to be contested than others. I believe there have been two or more companies announcing their intention to apply for extensions like .nyc, .eco, .gay and a few others. I would imagine there were be multiple applicants for gTLDs like .insure, .hotel, .eat….etc.

However, there are probably plenty of keyword extensions where competition won’t be as fierce. I received a press release from a company that plans to launch .Jewelers, and by being first to announce this, it might dissuade others from applying. With so many available keyword gTLDs, why choose one that someone already claimed, when that will likely mean a lot more money to win the bid?

In my opinion, those who announce intentions earlier are less likely to face competition from others. If I had plans to apply for a particular gTLD and I heard that another company was going to apply as well, I would probably shift my focus elsewhere. The application process should be focusing on how to sell domain names and monetize the gTLD rather than on how to win the bid.

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