Saturday, December 10, 2011

Why aren't African Universities buying .xxx domain names?

I loved the low key marketing that ICMRegistry did in the run up to the approval of .XXX by ICANN in Singapore. The registry avoided any ads related to the porn industry, the constant message that was being drummed home was "Let's be adult about it";  there were no risque ads or King Gavin Life is Short ads. Am sure .XXX ads will get more risque as registrars continue competing fiercely for .XXX pie. Irish Registrar Blcknight has had the boldest .xxx marketing yet amongst the domain registrars but the ads are relatively safe for consumption.

I have also noted the message that's being fed to users regarding .XXX domains is not about buying .XXX on its own merit but buying .XXX to void  falling victim to .XXX. It's rather ironic that .XXX's most enthusiastic customers are those entities and institutions that were more like to oppose the new TLD; they are the entities that fear the most falling victims of .xxx and one key demographic has been the universities. Universities are buying .XXX domain names like hot cakes. ICM Registry's domain names are selling based on a "fear factor". It goes something like "Protect your identity before someone else squats on them with porn material" and this has created a rush for .XXX by institutions keen on upholding their integrity. Many who opposed .XXX now find that .XXX is indispensable, if only to keep off some miscreants from using your domains to display pornography.

The cyberspace's red light district is quickly taking shape, but clearly not all registrants are interested in the content's of the .xxx namespace. On the other hand, it seems the usually prolific adult industry content developers have put up almost 100,000 pages of .XXX material on our web after the launch of the new TLD. Because of the amount of money involved, this industry normally has very dedicated players so expect this to jump to a million pages very very soon.

One group that's clearly unfazed(or unaware) by the .XXX domains are the African Universities and colleges. I have just run through 20 URLs of Africa's most popular universities/top ranked universities and none of them has registered a .XXX. Clearly, this is a worrying trend given the proliferation of porn material in Africa of late (a Kenyan University recently posted a sex tape online featuring students from a rival university having sex. )

This is more due to the fact that in Africa, domains are still not much valued or appreciated. Like I reported in  previous post, many entities in Africa will register a popular version of their names in one TLD say .com and leave all the other TLDs behind for cybersquatters to exploit. It's a worrying lack of awareness and that's why I even proposed that domain portfolio management services should now exploit this market and help companies and entities understand the value of domains.

Finally, I cannot get over the fact that the US hijacked .gov and .edu for the exclusive use of American institutions. I think amongst the new gTLD applications, someone, maybe the UN, should apply for generic strings that can be used by government agencies and educational institutions worldwide, many of which are now limited to their ccTLDs. But which generic word cn be used to describe all educational institutions in the world? I can't think of any.

In other news, .XXX is still resolving in Kenya. So the "block" was all hot air.

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