Porn Blocker Company Finds .COM Trumps .XXX

Dec 12, 2012 11:30 AM PST

SAN FRANCISCO — Despite the industry hoopla and drama associated with .XXX, the recently adopted top-level domain may not be making a dent in the online porn universe.

At least that's according to a report in The Guardian, that cites analysis by San Francisco-based "family safety" porn filtering company MetaCert that found the .com domain far surpasses sites with .XXX.

MetaCert claims it has been researching and developing its crawling and classification platform for the past six years, and has just spent the last year tweaking the crawler-based algorithms to construct the world's largest database of porn sites.

The company scanned 645 million web pages out of 3 billion and discovered more than 31 billion links to porn.  But MetaCert reported that the .XXX gTLD has had little or no effect on web real estate with just 0.56 percent of the sites that it blocks, while the original .com, .net, and .org domains account for 83.32, 8.13, and 0.9 percent of the relevant domains respectively, adding up to 92.35 percent.

And although the U.S. still houses most porn sites with 58.9 percent of the market, MetaCert found that The Netherlands ranked second with 27 percent  — not a real surprise to the adult industry —  with the country’s .nl suffix making up 2.41 percent of the total porn found by the company.

Following the U.S. and The Netherlands, are the U.K. with 7.4 percent, and Germany with 1.5 percent.

"Every day we are given a list of .XXX domains that are registered," Paul Walsh, chief executive of MetaCert, told the Guardian. "We upload the domains to our system and they are then automatically labeled and crawled. All other sites/TLDs to which they link and also contain porn, are then labeled and crawled for more sites."

MetaCert also found that there are approximately 5,000 URLs per porn site, and that on average each site links to another 10 sites.

Because the majority of porn suffixes are still .com, the MetaCert findings apparently supports .XXX critics who felt the new suffix would not make porn easier to block.

Walsh also said that domains like .XXX and new ICANN entries like .sex and .love won't be a serious problem for his porn filtering company.

"Given that the number of .XXX domains represents 0.56 percent of our data set and they have been on sale for a year — it's coming up to the anniversary this week — I would say that new TLDs will not pose any issues for two reasons. Firstly because I don't anticipate an upsurge in domains sales specifically for pornography and secondly, our system is constantly crawling, identifying and labeling new sites," Walsh said.

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