.XXX registry ups ante in online porn monopoly fight
Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
ICM Registry files counterclaims against online adult entertainment giant.
Is it possible to have a monopoly on online porn?
That’s part of the argument in a legal fight between porn giant Manwin and .xxx registry ICM registry.
Last week ICM Registry filed counterclaims (pdf) against Manwin in response to Manwin’s antitrust lawsuit over .xxx. It’s seeking treble damages on at least $40 million in damages.
ICM claims that Manwin grew to dominance with its free “tube” sites that popped up after YouTube in the middle of last decade. The company says that Manwin acquired many of these tube sites in an attempt to control the flow of traffic to adult sites.
ICM’s counterclaims allege that the approval of .xxx threatened Manwin’s dominance as it could lead to the more tube sites. With the .xxx TLD these sites might show up higher in search results for adult terms.
Whether or not having .xxx helps in search rankings may be debatable, but ICM claims that Manwin’s managing director shared this concern with ICM Registry consultants.
ICM alleges that Manwin tried to buy in to .xxx but was rebuffed. It alleges that Manwin then sought to stifle .xxx’s success with anti-competitive behaviors such as
- Requiring some webmasters that want promotion on its tube sites to boycott .xxx
- Pulled down content from its tube sites that was from .xxx sites
- Convenced adult entertainment events not to do business with ICM
- Coerced .xxx spokesmodels to end relationships with ICM
One interesting thing about the legal fight over .xxx is that it’s brought Manwin out of the shadows. The company’s web site describes it as an “information technology firm”, and used to have little mention of porn.