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Online porn firms fail to prevent .xxx domain names going on general sale

Despite the best efforts of two of the web's biggest online pornography firms, domain names ending in .xxx have gone on general sale.

The new domain names are being priced at £38 a year – 10 times the standard fee, according to Marwin Licensing which, along with fellow pornographers, Digital Playground, is suing the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

The decision to list porn suffixes was approved by ICANN in March and ICM Registry today put them up for general sale. 100,000 .xxx were secured during a limited sale after ICANNs approval, but that number is expected to increase drastically over the coming weeks.

As with dot brand domains, which go on sale 12 January 2012, purchases will likely also be by those buying for defensive reasons - individuals and brands looking to protect their names. Those choosing to defend their name against .xxx usage will have to pay a one-off fee of between £100 and £200.

Marlin Licensing, owner of the Playboy digital franchise, describes ICM registry as a "monopoly" and claims its pricing power is "anti-competitive."

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