Go Daddy, the largest seller of internet domain names, has become the latest registrar to sign up to sell .xxx addresses.
The company joins about 50 other registrars that have so far been approved by .xxx manager ICM Registry and accredited by ICANN to sell the names.
"A large number of our customers have spoken... and there is a demand for the controversial new domain name extension for both brand protection purposes and for new names," Go Daddy CEO Bob Parsons said in a statement.
Commanding about half the market for new domain registrations, Go Daddy is a critical partner for any new top-level domain that launches. Its prominent marketing of Colombia's .co domains was a big help in enabling the registry, .CO Internet, to sell over one million names in less than a year.
The company has not yet announced pricing, but other registrars have started advertising .xxx domains for a minimum of $75 per name per year – about ten times the price of the cheapest .com domain rates.
Go Daddy is best known in the US for its saucy TV commercials, particularly those it airs during the Super Bowl. Most recently, it put millions of red-blooded American males off their stroke when it used CGI to splice the head of 78-year-old comedienne Joan Rivers onto the scantily clad body of a voluptuous young glamour model.
There's arguably some synergy here.
ICM currently plans to launch a 30-day "sunrise" period, during which trademark holders can protect their brands by paying a one-time fee to block their brands in .xxx, in early September.
Prices as high as $650 for these blocks have caused some large trademark owners to cry foul, fearing a shakedown, but ICM also plans to put some of the strongest post-launch trademark protection mechanisms in place of any domain registry.
General registration in the new porn-only extension is expected to begin in the fourth quarter.
Some in the porn business, led by the California-based trade group the Free Speech Coalition, intend to boycott the addresses, or to buy their .xxx names purely for defensive purposes. ®