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Local Universities Purchase ‘.XXX’ Web Addresses, But Not For Dealing Porn

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By Pat Loeb

The new “.xxx” Internet domain is creating a headache for the Philadelphia area’s higher education community.

The domain, as you might guess, was created for adults-only content, but universities are buying up their own names in the domain to prevent any improper associations.

The “.xxx” domain names went on sale in December, but it appears that some of the biggest customers are not pornographers. They’re upstanding community members who are worried that a trickster might hijack their good name and use it for porn.

“The unpredictability is just too much for some brand owners to be able to sleep at night,” says Jeremiah Johnston of web site broker Sedo, who calls it defensive registration.

“It isn’t always anticipating your legitimate users but also anticipating those that are gonna try to poke fun at your expense,” he adds.  “In other words, if I were Penn State, I’d make sure I got pennstate.xxx.”

So Penn State, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple, Ursinus, Widener, and a host of schools have bought their own names with the .xxx extension, not intending ever to use them.

Widener spokesman Dan Hanson says the university bought several variants of its name, though he admits that spoofs — say, “openwidener.xxx” — could still cause problems.

“There are so many different opportunities to look at, it’s impossible to purchase every combination that you could think of,” Hanson says.  But he thinks Widener has covered its assets — that is, its good name.

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