Time to protect your brand? .porn and .sucks domains soon to be available

24 Mar 2015

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Taylor Swift performs in London in 2012. Photo by Featureflash via Shutterstock

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Microsoft, Taylor Swift and many more ‘brands’ are clearly worried about the 547 new domain titles coming on stream, snapping up .porn, .adult and .sucks as fast as possible.

Following the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) deciding to free up the web world of the 22 previous domain constraints – such as .com, .org, .co.uk etc – back in 2011, there are soon to be hundreds more generic top-level domains, or gTLDs, on stream – including .healthcare, .amsterdam etc.

However it appears domains like .porn, .adult and .sucks are the ones capturing the attention of corporate powerhouses, wary that their brand could be sullied by opportunistic trolls.

Before the June 1 free-for-all, certain people and companies can buy up the domains they are wary of, which resulted in Microsoft and Taylor Swift getting involved, according to Stuart Lawley, CEO of ICM Registry, which operates the .porn and .adult top-level domains.

Steve Miholovich, SVP of marketing at Safenames, a domain registrar and advisory firm for websites, told CNN that TLDs are actually brands in themselves, and many companies simply don’t want to be associated with anything negative.

"They want positive images – they want positive messages. They're not going to turn [.sucks] into a positive," Miholovich said.

“Today’s decision will usher in a new internet age,” Peter Dengate Thrush, chairman of ICANN’s board of directors, said back in 2011 when it made the change. “We have provided a platform for the next generation of creativity and inspiration.”

Of course there are some who believe opening up the domain culture to a wider array of options is a financial move, with each new domain name registered costing hundreds of euros.

That means at the start of June some serious money could change hands.

Taylor Swift image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt is senior communications and context executive at NDRC. He previously worked as a journalist with Silicon Republic.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com