gTLDs: “Governments Appear to Have Become Quite Relaxed About Sex”


The Tech Europe Blog in the Wall Street Journal posted an article by Ben Rooney about the lack of governmental objection to sex-related gTLD applications. Referring to the GAC early warning list published by ICANN, the article discusses how TLDs such as .porn, .sex, and other adult themed TLDs did not receive a single objection from a government.

Stephane Van Gelder, Registry Relations and Strategy Director at NetNames, expressed surprise about the lack of ¬†objections. “There have been none on any sex-related gTLD [string]. Frankly I am a bit surprised. Governments appear to have become quite relaxed about sex,” said Van Gelder.

Although I am also surprised at the lack of objections, I would imagine the introduction of .XXX domain names by the ICM Registry may have made governments less objectionable this time around. Since there’s already a .XXX domain extension available, what difference does it make to governments if there’s a .porn or .sex, too?

In addition, perhaps some governments didn’t even bother submitting objections for whatever reason. Out of the 1,930 applications, there were only 145 TLD strings that received objections.

I don’t think that governments have become “relaxed about sex,” but I do think the proverbial genie has already been let out of the bottle when it comes to adult gTLD extensions.

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  1. Governments will just wildcard-block adult themed gTLDs, just the way they did with .xxx. So, they don’t really have to object to the applications.

  2. It may be partly true that some of the fears the GAC had about .xxx have failed to materialize so far.

    Another explanation is that no governments on the GAC wanted to identify themselves as be seen as against free speech.

    While some governments objected to .xxx last year, they did so anonymously. Early Warnings did not given them that opportunity.

    We may still see GAC Advice on .porn etc, once that anonymity returns.

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