Internet overseer approves .xxx domain

ICANN, the organisation that oversees the internet, gave final approval Friday to a proposal to create a new top-level domain name on the web with the suffix .xxx, which will host only sites that feature adult content.

Porn sites will not be required to register their addresses at the new domain but are expected to do so to prevent them being snapped up by competitors. However, in order to register they have to pass an application process that's designed to ensure that their site does not engage in fraud, child pornography and malicious code that could infect users' computers with viruses.

The move gives consumers "reassurance they are more protected from the risk of viruses, identity theft, credit-card fraud and inadvertent exposure to child abuse images", ICANN said in a statement announcing the decision.

"For the first time, there will be a clearly defined web address for adult entertainment, out of the reach of minors and as free as possible from fraud or malicious computer viruses," said Stuart Lawley, chief executive of the Florida company appointed by ICANN to run the new registry.

In a statement, Lawley said that his company had already received 200,000 requests to register names on the new domain.

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