Internet specialists gathered in Colombia Thursday called for the creation of an ".xxx" domain for pornographic websites, saying it would make it easier to police them.
"Since we cannot fight the pornographic industry on the Internet, a thousand-headed monster... we are demanding that they be socially responsible and adopt a code of ethics," said Carmen Sanchez, from the non-government group, Internet Commitment for Social Responsibility (ICSR), based in Spain.
The group, which works to ensure the quality of web content, hopes that the California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will approve the creation of the domain name Friday during its convention in the Colombian city of Cartagena.
"We should have a sort of red zone on the web where, under the name '.xxx.' we can clearly identify pages we do not want children to see and block them," Sanchez said.
ICM Registry, a company sponsored by the International Foundation for Online Responsibility (IFFOR), owns the domain name and has been trying to get the green light from ICANN since 2004.
Should ICANN finalize a deal reached earlier this year to launch the domain name, ICM Registry would sell .xxx addresses for 60 dollars each to an estimated 500,000 adult entertainment providers starting next year.
"An exclusive domain for adult entertainment has the advantage of allowing for greater control over their content and, in addition, for each web page added to the domain we will donate 10 dollars to finance initiatives to protect children, ICM Registry chief Stuart Lawley told the conference.
If approved, the .xxx would join other so-called Top-Level Domains, or TLDs, including .com, .edu, .mil, .gov and a host of country code TLDs.
Sanchez said the process had been held up by conservative and religious groups in the United States, who feared that creating the domain name would further normalize the industry.
But ICANN, a private non-profit tasked by the US government with managing the domain name system, has remained neutral in the debate.
"Opening up the name space to new generic top level domains is intended to promote competition, innovation and consumer choice in a safe and stable manner," ICANN head Rod Beckstrom told the conference this week.
Global Internet pornography generates around 3,000 dollars a second and the keyword "sex" appears in a fourth of all online searches, according to the ICSR.