GoDaddy is coming out with an initiative some 20 years after the .xxx domain was granted “sponsored” gTLD status to eliminate what the registry considers unnecessary complexities from the domain agreement. At the heart of GoDaddy’s proposal is the desire to terminate its association with the International Foundation For Online Responsibility (IFFOR), the sponsor for the .xxx domain.

Instead, GoDaddy aims to align the .xxx domain more closely with the Base New gTLD Registry Agreement, which governs all new gTLDs introduced in the 2012 application round. This move is not unprecedented within GoDaddy’s portfolio, as its .porn, .adult, and .sex gTLDs have operated under a non-sponsored contract for a decade without any significant issues, despite not achieving the same level of domain sales as .xxx.

Feedback from various stakeholders, including the IFFOR board, the IFFOR Ombudsman, and .xxx registrants, indicates a broad consensus that the “sponsored” classification is outdated and unnecessary. This collective agreement underscores the evolving landscape of internet governance and the need for more streamlined and flexible regulatory frameworks.

The Role and Impact of IFFOR

IFFOR’s inception was a direct response to the requirements of the “sponsored TLD” round initiated by ICANN, aimed at demonstrating community support for proposed gTLDs. However, the porn industry’s strong opposition to the .xxx domain, fearing potential government overreach, led to IFFOR’s creation under less than ideal circumstances. Over the years, IFFOR’s effectiveness and relevance have come into question, with its policy-making and grant-giving roles falling short of expectations.

The Future of .xxx

As GoDaddy and ICANN negotiate the renewal of the .xxx contract, the proposed changes signal a significant shift towards a more pragmatic and less bureaucratic approach to domain governance. This transition reflects a broader trend in the domain industry towards efficiency and responsiveness to the needs of registrants and stakeholders.

GoDaddy’s initiative to “cut the bullshit” from the .xxx domain governance is a bold step towards modernizing the framework under which this and potentially other domains operate. By shedding outdated and unnecessary complexities, GoDaddy is paving the way for a more streamlined and effective domain registration environment. This move not only benefits registrants but also sets a precedent for future governance models in the ever-evolving digital landscape.