Businesses, individuals may opt-out of .XXX domain names - WSMV Channel 4

Businesses, individuals may opt-out of .XXX domain names

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

What price would you pay to protect your or your business's reputation from an XXX designation?

If you're not in the adult entertainment business, that's the last thing you need. But it can happen, and anyone or any business with a registered trademark could be affected.

If you want information about someone or a business, you probably Google it. But what if you Googled your business and a XXX adult site was attached to it?

A new sponsored top-level domain called .xxx is being launched this month in order to signpost adult entertainment on the Internet.

ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, coordinates the Internet's naming system, and recently opened up the .xxx suffix for Web addresses.

For those outside the adult entertainment industry, you must apply to block a trademark or any intellectual property rights from becoming .xxx domain names. The opt-out period ends Oct. 28, and it costs hundreds of dollars to opt out.

"On the front end it's a very small expense to protect what will be a very sticky PR pitfall down the road," PR and marketing executive Jim Thomas said.

Thomas is advising his clients in Nashville to opt out so their trademark wont be hijacked.

"It's unfortunate that they can launch the .xxx domain and say here's this 50-day window that you can pay us money and tie that up or we're gonna sell your name to other people to use in different ways," he said.

It may be a difficult pill to swallow, paying to protect your reputation from .xxx domains. But for Steven Smithing, the owner of Mare Bulles restaurant in Brentwood, it's worth the price when you consider the consequences.

"Basically, people could attach your name to the .xxx domain site and you could be Mare Bulles, triple x," he said. "Certainly when you're in the wedding business and bridal luncheon business, it could make a difference. It could be a little what they didn't expected to see."

If you don't opt out and your brand name is attached to a .xxx site, it will cost thousands of dollars in lawyers fees to clear it.

It's not just businesses that could be affected. Country artists, Hollywood actors, and anyone with a known name and trademark could be vulnerable if they are not protected.

For more information, visit www.icmregistry.org.

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