Porn Web sites can't park themselves at a ".xxx" address quite yet.
A global Internet oversight agency on Friday deferred a decision until June on whether to create a ".xxx" Internet suffix as an online red-light district.
The board of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, initiated a 70-day process of consultations on a domain that could help parents block access to porn sites. Use of the ".xxx" suffix would be voluntary, though, and would not keep such content entirely away from minors.
Backers of ".xxx" have billed the proposal as a way for the adult-entertainment industry to clean up its act, though some porn sites worry that governments would wind up mandating its use, and religious groups are concerned it would legitimize porn sites.
Skeptics also note that porn sites would likely keep their existing ".com" storefronts, even as they set up shop in the new ".xxx" domain name, thereby giving people even more ways to find pornography online.
ICM Registry LLC first proposed the ".xxx" domain in 2000, and ICANN has rejected it three times already since then. But an outside panel last month questioned the board's latest rejection in 2007, prompting the board to reopen the bid.
"There's a lot of complex issues," ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom said, without elaborating.
As it concluded weeklong meetings Friday in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, ICANN's board gave its chief executive and its chief lawyer two weeks to recommend options for the agency to proceed. Once the ICANN board receives the options from them, it will open them to public comment for 45 days and then make a decision at its June meeting in Brussels.
Stuart Lawley, ICM's chief executive, said he is looking forward to seeing proposals in the next 14 days.