.XXX Domains: Universities Buying Up Adult Website Names To Head Off Porn Industry

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ST. PAUL, Minn. - The University of Kansas is buying up website names such as www.KUgirls.xxx and www.KUnurses.xxx. But not because it's planning a Hot Babes of Kansas site or an X-rated gallery of the Nude Girls of the Land of Aaahs.

Instead, the university and countless other schools and businesses are rushing to prevent their good names from falling into the hands of the pornography industry. Over the past two months, they have snapped up tens of thousands of ".xxx" website names that could be exploited by the adult entertainment business.

"Down the road there's no way we can predict what some unscrupulous entrepreneur might come up with," said Paul Vander Tuig, trademark licensing director at the Lawrence, Kan., school.

The university spent nearly $3,000 in all. It plans to sit on the .xxx names and do nothing with them.

The brand-new .xxx suffix is an adults-only variation on .com. The .xxx name went on sale to the public for the first time this week, promoted as a way to enable porn sites to distinguish themselves and a means of making it easier for Internet filters to screen out things parents don't want their children to see.

ICM Registry of Palm Beach, Fla., is the exclusive manager of the .xxx names and sells them through a dozen middleman companies such as GoDaddy.com for an average of $100 a year.

Indiana University spokesman Mark Land said the school spent $2,200 to buy www.hoosiers.xxx and 10 other such names. Other Indiana schools took the same step, including Purdue University and Ball State University.

"This is just a modest cost of doing business in the world we live in," Land said.

ICM sold .xxx names for the past two months exclusively to companies and others that wanted to protect their brands from the porn industry. During the so-called sunrise sale, ICM registered nearly 80,000 names, said chairman and CEO Stuart Lawley.

A search of ICM's database finds prominent brand names

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