Is the need to protect your brand from .XXX invasion a legitimate concern?

Whether or not SMEs should register their company .xxx domain for brand protection is of course a decision that domain owners need to make for themselves.

The truth is though, your website represents your reputation – it’s where potential customers and would-be investors get their first impressions – and most people arrive at it via search engines which, if not filtered correctly, could potentially throw up similar domains, including .xxx.

Feedback suggests that the majority of organisations and high-profile companies would be strongly against the .xxx version of their domain being in use for moral or brand-protection reasons.

The .xxx launch simply caters for this by making it possible to make an application (‘Sunrise B’) to have a particular .xxx domain name removed from sale for a one-off payment, so anyone who does feel it’s appropriate for them won’t be paying renewal fees forever more.

As an example of how mistaken URL’s can have a significant effect on a brand, as CEO of Host Europe back in 1997, we used the domain name magic-moments.com for one of our leading hosting brands. Not long into its existence, a customer pointed out that he’d landed on a soft porn website based in Germany simply by missing out the “-“ in the URL.

This similarity in URL and, therefore the inherent potential for confusion between one and the other by our customers, we considered serious enough to, soon after, drop the brand completely and consolidate it under Hosteurope.com.

.XXX reservation phases

.XXX domains are to be rolled out through several ‘pre-registration’ and reservation phases starting with Pre-Orders available now.

The preliminary Sunrise reservation phase begins on the 7th of September, 2011 and runs through to the 28th of October, 201. This is open to:

  • Adult Trademark Holders – i.e. trademark holders that meet membership requirements of the XXX community
  • People with existing Adult Domains – members of the Adult community who already own and operate an existing exact matching domain name in another prefix
  • Non Adult Trademark Holders – i.e. those not in the XXX community who wish to protect their trademarks (blocking www.theirname.xxx)
  • The ‘Landrush’ reservation phase scheduled to run from the 8th-25th of November, 2011 allows any member of the XXX community to register any other domain
  • General availability will open to the general public on the 6th of December, 2011 and domains allocated on a first come first serve basis
  • Prices range from £49.99pa to £199.99pa.
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Abby Hardoon is a marketing graduate from George Washington University, Washington DC USA, and has over 17 years of experience in managing marketing oriented businesses. He had gained extensive experience in FMCG marketing prior to founding web hosting company Daily Internet, a leading Internet hosting solutions provider, in 1996. In 1999, Daily Internet was listed on the London Stock Exchange.