.XXX Names Will Be Available This Year, ICM Registry Says

Feb 22, 2010 12:00 PM PST
PALM BEACH, Fla. — ICM Registry plans on entering a registry contract with ICANN after arbitrators ruled that the Internet policymaking board violated its own charter when it rejected .XXX.

Stuart Lawley, chairman and president of ICM Registry, told XBIZ on Monday that he will move forward with the .XXX proposal and start selling names as soon as possible.

"We expect to execute a contract very soon [with ICANN] and .XXX names will be available by year's end," Lawley said.

Dispute resolution judges, 2-1, ruled in favor of ICM Registry on Friday, agreeing that ICANN's decision to nix .XXX were arbitrary.

"[Arbitrators don't] question the integrity of the ICANN board’s disposition of the ICM Registry application, still less that of any of the board’s members," arbitrators ruled. "It does find that reconsideration of sponsorship criteria, once the board had found them to have been met, was not in accord with documented policy."

Lawley last year contended the reasons that ICANN cited as the basis for its denial of ICM’s application were false and pretextual — “a mere cover for ICANN’s bowing to undue political pressure” from the U.S. Commerce Department, which ICM Registry accused of working behind the scenes to kill .XXX.

ICM Registry, which spent more than $3 million on legal fees over .XXX, claimed in more than 1,000 pages of documents that ICANN acted inconsistently with its own articles of incorporation and bylaws.

Lawley's company saw its application to enable .XXX killed by ICANN's board for a third time in March 2007 after three years of planning.

ICM Registry's proposal would make it the gatekeeper for the sTLD, requiring it to monitor registrant compliance with content site-labeling requirements.

The proposal also would require a set of “best practices” to protect children online and fund the International Foundation for Online Responsibility, an independent organization ICM has said it would create if approved.

ICM pledges to donate $10 of the proposed annual fee of $60 for a .XXX domain name to child-protection groups and require users of .XXX to label their content.

ICM Registry contends that a .XXX proposal has a lot of support among online adult businesses because so many of them — more than 100,000 pre-reservations — sought domain name addresses with the .XXX suffix.

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