Domain aftermarket Afternic has decided to stop selling “vice” domains.
In a bold and industry-leading move, domain name aftermarket Afternic has decided to stop brokering adult, gambling, violence, and other vice domains.
This is just the latest in series of actions that have limited the value of adult and gambling domains. Most major advertising feeds don’t support these industries, and last month internet gambling took a hit in the United States with the arrest of a key player in a prominent British gambling site. (See Gambling Domains Out-of-favor.)
Afternic’s decision seems to be a rapid departure from past actions, including offering a large portfolio of gambling domains on behalf of one its clients.
The company says the goal is to make Afternic and the domain industry more inviting to small businesses and others that might be offended by some of the domains listed on its exchange. Afternic wants to further legitimize the industry. In an email to customers, Afternic president Roger Collins wrote:
We hope that they, and others, will understand that we have no interest in censorship and that we fully support First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and expression. And, there is certainly no lack of other Internet sites where such names are welcomed.
The Internet, much like the early days of television, is still a new frontier. We believe it is up to the industry leaders-and we include Afternic here-to step up and determine what constitutes professional standards and practices. We take this action in the interest of socially responsible corporate behavior and hope that it leads to further healthy industry dialog and discussion on the topic.
Other major sites, including Sedo and DNForum, still allow the sale of gambling and adult domains. It will be interesting to see if other companies follow Afternic’s lead, and if domain aftermarkets also start to pull clear trademark and typo domains from their listings.