Colleges Protect Their Image with .XXX Domain Name Buy-ups

Some o f the country’s most prominent academic institutions are racing against the world of porn to snap up websites with their names attached to the new .xxx domain, just in case some adult sites want to cash in on their co-eds, writes Lindsay Goldwert at the New York Daily News.

Later in the year the .xxx domain will be launched as a way to safely separate porn from the family safe areas of the internet. And while it would make it much easier for those looking for adult content to find it, as Goldwert points out, it could also lead to some serious embarrassment if an adult company captures the Harvard.xxx domain and exploit it for “nefarious” purposes.

And so some universities are already rushing to prevent this. In a somewhat tactical maneuver, schools across the nation are snapping up the .xxx domain names that match their federally registered trademarks, as reported by Tim Barker at STL Today.

The University of Missouri-Columbia has recently registered missouri.xxx and missouritigers.xxx, for example.

Terry Robb, Missouri’s director of information technology, said:

“We don’t want someone coming across our trademark on a porn site. God only knows what they’d come up with.

“All over the country, universities are snapping up the .xxx domains to prevent their institutions being confused with “girls gone wild.”

UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University have also both filed applications to register domain names for their trademarks.

“We’re purchasing some domain names to make sure that they’re not used for purposes that would confuse people about the university’s involvement,” Michael Schoenfeld, a Duke University spokesman, told the Charlotte Observer.

“The Internet is a very creative place, and I don’t think anybody could possibly secure every possible combination that could ultimately be embarrassing to an individual, company or university.”

Nearby UNC-Chapel Hill has already bought up tarheels.xxx, UNC and has filed to register UNC.xxx and UniversityofNorthCarolina.xxx.

The .xxx domain is intended to give the porn industry a natural place on the Internet. But that’s not to say the industry itself is particularly happy about it. The industry is said to be worried that this is the first step in forcing all adult providers to move to the more easily blockable domain addresses.

As $200 a piece, these domains are proving to be a costly measure for universities and other organizations, who are under pressure to decide whether it’s worth the time, trouble and money.