An online red-light district soon could flourish under a new .xxx internet address that backers say could help computers filter porn sites, reports the Associated Press. The company that wants to run .xxx has tried and failed three times before to win permission from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, to set up a top-level domain name dedicated to pornography. ICM Registry LLC chief executive Stuart Lawley says the agency was under pressure from Christian groups and governments unhappy with the spread of online pornography to reject his bid since he first tried to register the domain in 2000. Under criticism from an outside panel, the agency’s board acknowledged June 25 that it had not treated the application fairly, saying it would now move swiftly to carry out standard checks on Lawley’s company. Lawley says he thinks the new address could easily attract at least 500,000 sites.

He expects to make $30 million a year in revenue by selling each .xxx site for $60—and pledges to donate $10 from each sale to child protection initiatives via a nonprofit he has set up. He also says he will make it easy for web blocking software to filter out “.xxx” sites by requiring them to carry a machine-readable metatag marking them clearly as porn. Skeptics, however, note that porn sites would likely keep existing “.com” storefronts to allow their businesses to be found more easily. There is no requirement for porn sites to use .xxx…

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staff and wire services reports