By Max Clarke

Online businesses are again being urged to protect their businesses from cyber squatters ahead of the launch of the new .xxx domain name.

The Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) along with the Cloud Industry Forum have issued their warning as the launch for the new adult suffix looms.

Internet regulatory body, ICANN (the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) earlier this year approved of the new .xxx domain as a means of better identifying adult sites, and simultaneously protecting non-adult content. .xxx will be available from September 7th, and businesses will be able to reserve domain names for a one-off fee of £200.

Critics of the move predicted a surge in adult sites masquerading as legitimate businesses in order to boost traffic, with serious damages to the reputation of such companies.

“We are advising non-adult industry businesses to protect their brands, reputations and trademarks from any malicious or inappropriate activity by blocking access to the .xxx domain name that would bear their name,” urged Dawn Osborne, Chairman of FAST’s legal arm.

“We are pleased to see that the ICM Registry that controls this domain type recognises the potential conflicts between mainstream businesses and the adult entertainment industry and has made it possible for organisations concerned about mis-use of their brand and trademark to block anyone attempting to purchase a .xxx domain bearing their identity,” commented Andy Burton, Chairman of the Cloud Industry Forum, and CEO of the leading webhost Fasthosts.

“However,” cautioned Burton, “trademark holders not only need to be made aware of this new domain type but also the need to act within the Sunrise period to minimise the commercial risk and the cost of registering their desire to block a domain. We are advising all trademark holders to assess the risk for themselves within a timeframe that enables them to act if they wish to do so.

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