Should You Register the “.XXX” (Porno) Domain?

.XXX Marks The DDS Spot

I recently got an email from a certain website design company that caters to heath care practitioners.  It rhymes with “Sage Fun.”  I’m sure the email is well-intended, albeit self-serving (nothing wrong with that, really).  And, I’ve never heard a bad thing about this company.  But, to the typical dentist, it may be alarming enough to spur action that involves spending more money – perhaps unnecessarily.  Here’s the email, and I’ll follow with some more commentary and food for thought.  (If you don’t want to read the whole email, it basically says, “You’d better do this, or else!”  OK… Now you can skip to the commentary if you want.)

Subject: Protect Your Domain’s Credibility

Domain names are becoming more and more important to your Internet marketing efforts.  Not only are they part of your brand, but they are also a key factor in the search engine algorithms for Google and Bing.  Most of our clients have domains ending in “.com”.  A few have “.net” or “.org” domain extensions.

As you may know, the adult entertainment industry will soon have its own domain extension. The extension will be: “.xxx”

The reason that this is important for you to know, is that while your practice and website are not related to the adult industry, nor would you ever use a site with a .xxx extension, there is a chance that someone in the adult industry could use your domain name or business trademark in connection with the .xxx extension.  For example, if someone registered www.yourdentalpractice.xxx, it would be a legitimate domain name, and they, not you, would own it.

This could greatly affect your practice’s marketing efforts. Imagine if a potential patient does a search for your practice and sees www.yourdentalpractice.xxx as one of the top results? Even though your business is not affiliated with that adult website, it could still reflect poorly on your company and potentially deter business.

There are some fail safes that have been set in place to help with situations like this. There are ways to block the misuse of your business trademark and/or domain name with the .xxx extension and ensure others do not register the name and possibly host a live website with your business trademark or domain name and the .xxx extension.  In order to do this, you must submit an application to the ICM Registry as follows:

If you have a federally registered trademark:

  • To protect your business trademark from being used with the .XXX domain extension, the application period (called Sunrise B) runs from September 7 to October 28.
  • If your trademark is not federally registered, or if you have a current internet site with a domain name:
  • You can apply during the General Availability period or pre-apply now.  This period is available to everyone on a first-come, first-served basis.  The General Availability period opens on December 6, 2011. Note that this period falls after the application period for adult entertainment industry applicants wanting to register and host a live website with an .XXX domain extension.  However, it is the soonest available time that owners of common law trademarks and/or domain name holders can register.  By applying now, your application will not be reviewed until after the General Availability period opens on December 6, however, you will have secured a review at that time.

Do not miss the deadlines for blocking the use of your name by someone in the adult entertainment industry. If you have any questions about how this change can and will affect your practice, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at (phone number) or shoot us an email.

Rut-roh!

On the surface it’s a compelling pitch, isn’t it?  The thought of someone hijacking your name to direct people to a porn site is unsettling.  Furthermore, the notion of having your good name besmirched by smut-peddlers would have most people whipping out their credit cards if it meant easy prevention.

Is Defensive Registration Necessary?

And, as it turns out, you CAN pay money to prevent your name from being sullied.  When I got the email, I thought it was surely a scam.  So, I did a little online researching.  And sure enough, there are a number of people suggesting that you pre-register www.YourWebsite.xxx as a preemptive strike.  From what I’ve seen, it can cost $100 – $200 to “protect your good name” from the .xxx scourge.  Arguably, protecting your good name might be worth that sum.

The domain registrars offer something called “Sunrise B” pre-registration.  And the deadline is looming!  The description goes something like this: 

Sunrise B — Applicants outside the sponsored adult entertainment community can apply to block their registered trademarks or intellectual property rights from becoming .xxx domain names.  Applications do not result in registered domain names.  Applicants might be required to submit evidence of registered trademarks or intellectual property rights prior to Nov. 2, 2011, at 4 pm.

Much Ado About Nothing?

But, is it REALLY necessary?  Are the porn sites desperate enough for traffic to register the .xxx version of a DENTIST’S domain?  REALLY?   Oh sure… there are tons of double-entendres they could glean from the dental lexicon.  Drilling… Filling… Grinding… Probing…  So tantalizing!

But, will Google index .xxx websites?  I have a feeling that Google will not.  While one might surmise that Google would want to access the potential advertising revenue of the multi-billion dollar porn industry, I submit that Google would NOT want to abandon it’s current “family-friendly” search engine results.  That likely represents many more billions than the porn industry offers, and I doubt they’d want to alienate their bread and butter.  Heck, even at this moment, if I Google “dicks,” not a single porn site comes up in the SERPs (search engine results page).  Well… I didn’t go past the first page of results, but there were none.

What about all the other TLDs?

With this in mind, it begs the question:  Have you registered all the other TLD (Top Level Domain) versions of your primary web address?  They include:  .net, .org, .tv, .us, .biz, .info, .cc, and many more.  It can get crazy, and you could throw money left and right.  But, is it really necessary?  If you have a trademarked name, I’d consider protecting it by registering the most commonly used TLDs, such as:  .com, .net., .org, and probably .mobi.  But, keeping up with the increasingly long list of new TLDs would be maddening (and expensive).

You probably stand a better chance of someone registering YourNameSucks.com and running roughshod over your reputation.  And, there ARE such cases.  So, the pressing question is:  How paranoid are you, and how much are you willing to spend?

I will stop short of characterizing the clarion call to register your .xxx TLD before some budding Larry Flynt capitalizes on your DENTAL name in order to trick people into visiting his porn site – as a SCAM.  I don’t believe it’s a scam.  But, I do believe it’s borderline scare tactics to separate you from your money and make the domain registrars even richer.  Think about ALL the businesses out there (beyond dentists) that are also getting these urgent messages.  Multiply that times $100 – 200, and you get some REALLY HUGE numbers.

My friend, John Barremore, who is a 9th-degree SEO ninja and owner of The Visible Dentist said this:

“I agree – the .xxx domain extension has zero application with respect to dentistry – and likely no domain speculator (aka investor) would have any interest in hijacking a dentist’s domain namesake.”

Should I Pay, or Should I Blow (this off)?

You’ll have to decide for yourself.  And, I was not sure at first!  But, in the process of researching and writing this blog article, I have decided NOT to fall prey to this one.  I suppose time will tell if I was right.

PS….  Here’s another interesting article about this topic on a domain industry blog .  Check it out, and be sure to read the comments (presumably from other industry experts) below the article:  Quick Poll: Will You Protect Your Site or Brand From .XXX?

Copyright protected by Digiprove © 2013 The Dental Warrior®
This entry was posted in Editorial, Marketing, What Happened Today and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Should You Register the “.XXX” (Porno) Domain?

  1. …a certain website design company that caters to heath care practitioners. It rhymes with “Sage Won.”

    Well, if it were me, I might have dispensed with the cryptic blog ethics and outed the company anyway! :) Nonetheless, whether one considers this only an opportunist’s scam, or a legit, albeit fear-soaked warning, the fact remains that any domain is still subject to the same algorithms and rules that Google and other search engines impose.

    Let’s say the dental website domain, rogersdentalcare.com is registered under the .xxx extension in a flagrant attempt to redirect its visitors to some porn site.

    Potential dental patients rarely if ever search by domain name. They use keywords.

    That said, how would anyone find this .xxx domain? How would the new website’s owner promote this site? Is he or she going to waste their money and time creating dentistry content on a .xxx website in hopes of attracting pre-qualified porn enthusiasts? Not likely.

    You called it right Mike. Much Ado About Nothing.

    This email solicitation is, IMO, nothing more than a silly come-on to get dentists to buy something they don’t need. Somebody, somewhere, right now is punching numbers into a calculator and seeing $$$$$ dollar signs. With maybe 150,000 practicing dentists in the US X $100 each for a useless .xxx domain, that’s a lot of cabbage!

    John Barremore
    Houston, TX

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      Thanks for chiming in, John!

      You brought up a VERY important point:
      “That said, how would anyone find this .xxx domain? How would the new website’s owner promote this site? Is he or she going to waste their money and time creating dentistry content on a .xxx website in hopes of attracting pre-qualified porn enthusiasts? Not likely.”

      In my previous blog article, Google-proof Your Website, I talked about content being a KEY factor in search engine optimization. So, the chances of a PORN site coming up in a DENTAL search are quite slim. I’m not at all concerned about a potential dental patient stumbling haplessly into a porn site.

  2. Neil Millikin says:

    my website is areyoureallygoingtostickmewiththatlongthing.com

    should i prohibit xxx registration, or maybe just convert the site. it doesn’t get many hits, but my patients say it to me all the time, so……

  3. Sage Won? Boy I must be dense, because for the life of me, I can’t think of anything nasty that it rhymes with. How do I get through the day without knowing?
    Ed

    • The Dental Warrior says:

      No, Ed…. it rhymes with the name of the website company that is sending out the emails urging dentists to register the .xxx name before their “credibility is damaged.” My contention is that it’s much ado about nothing. I didn’t want to call out the company by name, but it DOES rhyme with those words. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>