.xxx domain suffix rejected

Plans to create an internet domain name specifically for pornographic websites have been rejected seven years after they were first proposed.

ICANN members, the body that looks after domain addresses on the web, said that approving the domain extension .xxx would put the agency into the position of content regulator.

“[A] large part of the community thinks that if we approve dot XXX, all that material that we said will magically move into dot XXX, and, therefore, children will be protected, because it will be easy to filter”, said board member Roberto Gaetano.

The third time that the proposal has been rejected, backers of the plan have voiced their disappointment and vowed to pursue the matter further.

The vote, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal, was rejected by nine votes to five. Paul Twomey, Icann's chief executive abstained from the vote.

"This decision was the result of very careful scrutiny and consideration of all the arguments. That consideration has led a majority of the Board to believe that the proposal should be rejected", said Dr Vint Cerf, Chairman of ICANN.

Others, who backed the schemes, said that content could be managed by local and national laws.

"We are extremely disappointed by the board's action today", Stuart Lawley, ICM's president and chief executive told Associated Press. "It is not supportable for any of the reasons articulated by the board."

ICM Registry argue that a .xxx domain would act as a quality control for the industry and would allow individuals and families wishing to avoid adult content to easily filter it.

“I do think that this, as others have said, will be enforcement headache for - an enforcement headache for ICANN. It's going to force the board and the community to rule on the appropriateness of content and other controls that may be implemented”, said Rita Rodin another board member.

Critics have pointed out that use of the .xxx domain is entirely voluntary and some suspect that few sites would sign up to use the suffix.