Protection services available for top-level adult domains

ICM Registry, operator of sponsored top-level domains (sTLDs) such as .XXX, .PORN, .ADULT and .SEX, has launched a blocking service allowing trademark holders to protect their brands from top-level adult domains.

AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ ensure trademarks cannot be registered under the four adult-related sTLDs. A service was previously available for the .XXX sTLD, but that service will cease to operate in 2021 and will be replaced by AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ which offers extended protection.

Introduced in 2011, the .XXX protection service was a success with brand owners signing-up to avoid any association with adult content. Such blocking services typically provide protection at a lower cost compared to defensive registrations.

AdultBlock and AdultBlock+ automatically blocks any brand owner’s trademarks that are subscribed to the protection service. The + version offers protection against look-alike variations that are confusingly similar to brand names and also covers uppercase and lowercase variants.

The new service includes premium names and can be transferred to different registrars. It is offered for 1, 3, 5, or 10 years at a time. Brand owners have to be registered with the Trademark Clearinghouse (TMCH) or protected by the current .XXX service.

Under such blocking services, trademark owners do not purchase the rights to use the domain names and cannot be used or activated on the internet. However, blocking prevents others from registering the domain names and using it for purposes that could have a negative impact on a brand.


Sannah Westerland is the Chief Marketing Officer at Dotkeeper (Part of the AWA Group). If you have any questions on the new protection services or how they can fit into an effective domain and branding strategy, please reach out to her using the contact information below.

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