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Vatican name appears on porn domain register

HONG KONG (SE): Porn on the Vatican Webiste? Well, maybe not, but there is a possibility that the day may come when you put the word Vatican into a search engine and instead of Church news on, you may arrive at and get a lot more, or less, than you bargained for.

The new .xxx generic top level domain name was approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers early in 2011 to act as an Adult Industry Domain Extension. reported on December 22 that the domain has been registered by an unknown body.

The new domain will give the opportunity to members of the Global Adult Entertainment Industry, who cannot obtain a premium domain under the existing extensions (gTLD), to build up their red light district on the Internet.

The registry operator of .xxx first proposed the idea in 2000, but permission was not granted by Internet Corporation until March 2011, when the registry operator announced that it would give a 30-day sunset period from the beginning of September 2011 for companies, organisations and individuals (over 18) to protect their own branding and register their brand names, trademarks and personal names on the .xxx domain for a one-off fee of US$129 ($1,003).

This was followed by a 10-day land rush period in late October when validated sponsoring communities could reserve a site.

According to its own Website, as all requests for registration were deemed to have been received at the same time at the end of the sunset period, preference was given to applications that had a pre-existing brand name or trademark on their Internet site.

Legal advisers were encouraging their clients to use the sunset period, saying that since the opportunity was given to be proactive, it could save having to file defensively to protect their name at a later date.

.xxx domain names became available to all members of the Global Adult Entertainment Industry on December 6. They were able to apply for domain names, which had not already been previously registered.

At the end of November, it was reported that there had been approximately 900,000 enquiries or expressions of interest.

People who are not members of the adult entertainment industry can still apply for a .xxx domain name that corresponds to their own personal name and has not been registered, reserved, allocated or restricted in some way, but only for defensive purposes and they may not use it as a conventional Website address.

In encouraging people to protect their brand names, the organisers of .xxx said, “These days, branding your online presence is more important than ever before. Whether you run a start-up in your basement, a personal blog in your spare time or a multi-million-dollar corporation, you need a domain name that tells people who you are and who you are not.”

The .xxx domain is one of the sponsored top-level domains set up to represent a specific community and has a sponsor in charge of policy formulation over matters concerning the domain. Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers has delegated the management of .xxx to sponsor Internet Customer Management under a registry agreement. reported the Vatican spokesperson, Father Federico Lombardi, as saying that the site has been acquired by someone unknown to him, but neither the Vatican nor the Holy See holds the ownership of the domain.

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