London: After ICANN approved the .xxx domain name for pornographic websites, the new pornography-only suffix has been added to the Domain Name System, better known for .com, .gov, .net and .uk.
The first registered addresses, porn.xxx, sex.xxx and xxx.xxx are being used to promote sales of .xxx domain names, the Telegraph reported.
A pornography-only suffix was first proposed in 2000 and eventually approved in 2005 by ICANN, but the plan was then blocked by the Bush administration, after lobbying by Christian groups.
The US government holds sway over ICANN, which regulates the Internet, even though the quango has power over the whole web, worldwide.
ICM Registry, the company behind .xxx, sued and forced the regulator to re-approve its plans.
US government opposition fell away when the Obama administration took power and ICANN took the unprecedented step of ignoring objections from governments of more conservative countries.
A trade organisation, the Free Speech Coalition, claims that it will make it easier for governments to block access to pornography websites and has called on pornographers to boycott .xxx.
Saudi Arabia and India have already said they want to block all the new addresses.
But ICM Registry said on its website that .xxx “will be a professionally run outfit” that will give users “greater confidence and certainty”.
“For individuals or families wishing to avoid adult content, the machine-readable labels will allow easy and reliable filtering. No need to fiddle with keywords or expensive software,” it added.
The new suffix was created via changes to the Domain Name System made at around midnight on April 15. ICANN moved relatively swiftly after .xxx was re-approved in a vote on March18.
The first series of addresses, which will allow brands to buy their trademarks, will reportedly go on sale in November.