The Man Who Would Be the Dot-XXX King

No_xxxInteresting profile of the man who’s application for the .xxx domain extension has got the porn industry seeing red, in Business Week:

The Internet has made Stuart Lawley a wealthy man. In 1999 he got rich by taking a British Internet service provider public. The London Sunday Times has named him one of the 1,000 richest people in Britain.

Now he’s poised to make his next fortune selling Internet addresses to pornographers. Late last month the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), an international body that manages Web addresses around the world, gave preliminary approval for Lawley’s application to be the sole registry of Internet domains that end in dot-xxx.

If Lawley’s bid is approved—ICANN’s next board meeting is in December—he says his company, ICM Registry, stands to bring in $200 million a year selling Web addresses at $60 a pop. That’s six times the going rate for dot-com and dot-net addresses, but in line with niche domains such as dot-travel and dot-jobs. Lawley also has plans to open a payment business similar to PayPal for dot-xxx sites, which he says could process $3 billion to $4 billion in transactions a year. “It was crystal clear that a domain for the adult industry was going to be very successful,” says Lawley, who now lives in Jupiter, Fla.

Lawley first tried to get ICANN to recognize dot-xxx as a domain in 2004. ICANN Chairman Peter Dengate Thrush says the organization rejected Lawley’s application because he didn’t have enough support in the adult-entertainment industry. Six years, $6 million in legal fees, and a lot of porn-industry lobbying later, an independent arbitrator ruled that ICANN had acted improperly in rejecting the proposal, clearing the way for Lawley’s dot-xxx ambitions.

Lawley, who is otherwise uninvolved in the pornography industry, says he plans to regulate the domain through a seven-person board, including seats reserved for porn industry players, privacy experts, and child-protection and free-speech advocates. He says making dot-xxx a clearly defined zone for adults out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses will make it a more appealing venue for consumers. That, he hopes, will attract businesses who’ll buy domain names from him. “The adult industry has tended to work in isolation,” says Lawley. “Most of them operate legal sites and take reasonable [precautions], but nobody knows that. Under dot-xxx, everyone will know that.”

An unlikely alliance has formed against Lawley. Christian groups such as the Family Research Council oppose the dot-xxx initiative because it legitimizes porn. And some adult sites say it will add to operating costs and open the industry to more regulation. “It’s a business annoyance for us,” says John Sander, vice-president of marketing and business development at Kink.com, which shoots bondage films in a converted San Francisco armory…

[continues in Business Week]

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  • tonyviner

    About freaking time, I say. Let's get this show on the road. I get tired of wondering whether the witty domain name I thought up is a porn site or not. Genius. http://www.barackobama.xxx here I cum, err, um… I mean come.

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  • http://www.thecarnivalnoir.com Haystack

    I'm still kicking myself that I never thought to register, say, sex.com during the 90's. Instead of, you know, going to college and all of that I could have just bought a domain for $10 and now I'd be rich.

    poo.eu is still free, though. *g*

  • http://www.thecarnivalnoir.com Haystack

    I'm still kicking myself that I never thought to register, say, sex.com during the 90's. Instead of, you know, going to college and all of that I could have just bought a domain for $10 and now I'd be rich.

    poo.eu is still free, though. *g*

  • Isis Cleo

    Stewart Lawley is nothing but a parasite. He doesn’t care about the children or protecting them from porn. He doesn’t care about the adult industry–he will tell anyone who will listen that he’s not part of it. All he cares about is MONEY. He is driven by pure, selfish GREED. Let’s call it what it is.

  • Isis Cleo

    Stewart Lawley is nothing but a parasite. He doesn't care about the children or protecting them from porn. He doesn't care about the adult industry–he will tell anyone who will listen that he's not part of it. All he cares about is MONEY. He is driven by pure, selfish GREED. Let's call it what it is.

  • http://www.moldremoval.com Mold Removal Hialeah

    Stewart Lawley is nothing but a parasite.