.XXX Comes Under Fire at The Phoenix Forum

Apr 3, 2011 2:15 PM PST

TEMPE, Ariz. — Vaughn Liley, a long-time business associate of ICM Registry’s Stuart Lawley who now represents the company, faced vocal online adult operator attendees at The Phoenix Forum over .XXX on Saturday.

The mostly critical crowd lashed out at ICM Registry’s .XXX plan, which was approved by ICANN last month, and at Liley, who was unable to answer a number of crucial questions posed at him such as final .XXX policies regarding the exact start up plans such as the Sunrise Trademark qualification rules and actual retail prices for .XXX domain names, among others.

.XXX already has 800,000 pre-reserved domain names, according to ICM Registry, which is posed to roll it out in September after two sunrise periods for adult companies, including one for website trademark owners.

The seminar, called “.XXX — Now What” and moderated by Wasteland’s Colin Rowntree, included Liley, who was joined by numerous online adult execs, a lawyer and a journalist, including Pink Visual’s Allison Vivas, GEC Media’s Gregory Dumas, Mikandi’s Chris Lewicki, Wildline’s Chris Miller, journalist Tom Hymes and attorney Jeffrey Douglas.

Liley, who said he came to The Phoenix Forum to “try to set the record straight,” attemped to pacify the crowd and some panel members by answering the shout-out queries, but he would have been better off putting his hand in a fishbowl full of piranhas.

At the contentious meeting, Liley said IFFOR, which is the rule-making body for the .XXX sTLD, is moving ahead to tap nine IFFOR policy council members, five of whom will come from the online adult industry.

One seminar attendee, who has owned adult websites for more than 10 years, told the panel and crowd of nearly 250, the largest crowd of all Phoenix Forum seminars this  year, he would be “out of his mind” to buy .XXX domain names knowing that its policies could flux.

“Why would I buy into .XXX when years down the line a board can change the rules at any given time and I lose all that traffic, all that investment?” he said.

But Dumas, who is pro .XXX, responded, “Just don’t buy it. No one has to buy a .XXX domain.”

Hymes, who has been active in the fight against .XXX, said there are just too many unknowns with the sTLD and its issues.

“There’s are a lot of maybes we don’t know,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen next.  But it is an actual certainty that ICM’s .XXX will be the only adult TLD, sponsored or otherwise. They will spend all sorts of money to defend their imposed real estate.”

“ICANN, which signed ICM Registry to the contract [Friday] and it is a done deal, will likely impose new provisions down the road. And your .XXX sites will be filtered at hotel chains and universities.”

But Liley tried to put a positive spin on .XXX and possible filtering including outright rejection by certain countries such as India, saying “we can look at the glass half full or half empty.”

“The reports on India blocking .XXX aren’t substantiated,” he said. But in terms of the exposure and opportunity that lies at hand … we were in Time magazine, we were on Conan O’Brien’s show, MSNBC, FOX News and a major German publication.”

Rowntree retorted: “But I can get the same exposure if I take a shit in Times Square.”

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