An interesting thing has happened to the Internet. It’s adding porn. Yes, in case you didn’t know it, porn has not existed on the Internet until someone decided there was a need for it. Up until now, anyone involved with porn has been required to keep in off line, but some kid with a dream (supposedly a wet one) came up with this pie in the sky idea of creating a web domain so that all of the poor porn purveyors could one day experience pornography on the Internet. So, the government decided to invent XXX as a domain suffix (affix?) that now leads people directly to whatever their heart’s desire, as sick as that might be.
Okay, all sarcasm aside, porn has been on the web as long as the web has existed. You might even say that it led the growth, so to speak, of the Internet. But for the longest time, pornography has been integrated with non-porn sites so that quite often you ended up on a porn site instead of the one you were trying to get to. At least that’s the excuse I’ve been using, but that’s probably another issue. Anyway, the government decided some time ago that if they could create an area of the web where porn could be “controlled”, then everything would be great. So the idea of a XXX suffix was designed. And of course, because porn makes a lot of money, they decided they would charge $100-200 for the usage of the XXX domain.
Here’s the problem with their plan. No one wants it. And I mean “NO ONE.” The pornographers don’t like being separated from the rest of the web because they realize that most legitimate Internet providers will be cajoled into just blocking any XXX area. I’m sure someone will say “it’s for the children”, but whatever the reason, someone is going to make sure that people are unable to access this area of the web. The people who don’t like porn don’t like it either because they think that all of the bad people will suddenly come to the web (like they weren’t on it before). And I’m sure they’re convinced that because “of the children” they’ll need to somehow shut down this cesspool of depravity.
And no one else will like it either because it will mean more crap on the web that they don’t want to deal with. You’ll probably have all sorts of privacy issues and scams and whatnot because of this. What will end up happening is that the porn people will continue creating and making porn on the regular sites, and XXX will be relegated to a few choice names that most people won’t pay attention to. The government will probably step in and surreptitiously design some kind of monitoring system so that they can see who accesses pornography on the web (which they’ll argue is for good reasons, but will eventually be used to shame, humiliate and then blackmail people), so that the only people who use XXX will be those who are clueless at the problems they’re causing by accessing porn the “right way” instead of the logical way.
In the end, the whole project will be abandoned, much like the old newsgroups were destroyed when they were spammed to death by, well, porn. What started out as a great idea always ended up being destroyed by someone trying to make a quick buck, doing whatever he can do to scam you before you figure out what’s happening to you. The only victims will be the ones who went into it innocently because they felt it was the proper way to do things. The bad people, the criminals, and those smart enough to realize the value of anonymity, will continue to do things the way they have always done it. In secret and not where government and censors can find them.
(Update: Turns out I was incorrect on the price of the domain registration. According to Daily Tech, it is $200-300, not $100-200 as I thought).