Porn domain not that sexy: no rush to have .xxx

While their is a huge hype surrounding .xxx domains and companies rushing to buy them to protect their brand, it seems that registration data disagree with this.  My analysis of the 50000 most popular websites in the world shows that only 24% of them actually registered their .xxx domain.

Since .xxx domain extension has been approved, the press keeps writing about companies rushing to buy them to protect their brand. For example back in July 2011, the telegraph had an article reporting that around 900 000 companies have expressed interest in buying .xxx domains. More recently the rumor had that the Vatican has lost their bid on the vatican.xxx domain,  whereas is was simply on the protected list (See this article for more details). Curious to see if the number of  .xxx registrations was on part with the hype, I wrote a small script to analyze how many of the 50 000 most popular websites (Alexa Ranking) did in fact register their .xxx domain.

Methodology

To test if a site has registered their .xxx counterpart, my script perform a whois query and record the answer: If the whois query return NOT FOUND, the domain is assumed free, otherwise the registrar info was recorded and stored to generate the following charts. The crawl was performed on the 26Th December (20 days after .xxx domains became available to the general public)

How popular are .xxx domains ?

The first question, I wanted to answer was how many of the 50000 most popular websites  on the planet did in fact registered their .xxx domain counterpart. The graph below show the cumulative percentage of the websites that did, in fact registered their .xxx domains.

As visible on the chart, if almost all  the top 100 sites (except weibo)  did registered their .xxx domains, the percentage quickly drop below 50% and then stabilize around 20%.

When .xxx domains were registered ?

The second interesting question is when did the companies ordered their .xxx domains ? Did they take advantage of the “sunset period#” to register them early or did they wait the last minute ? Well as visible on the chart below, only 65% of them, did actually  take the time to register them before they the 6th December (Regardless of their real date, every .xxx pre-order are marked as been issued on Dec-1st on the whois data)

One piece of data missing here is how many of the 1595 domains registered on the 6th December are from the same owner than the real websites. I haven’t found a good way to automate this process, so if you have any idea on how to do it , I will be glad to do it. I might end-up using Mechanical Turk even-though it seems overkill.

How made a ton of cash selling .xxx domains ?

Last but not least who did profit the most of selling .xxx domain at 99$ a piece ? The ICM registry that officially operates the .xxx domain registration is the biggest winner with 72% of the sales, as visible on the graph below (careful the graph is in logarithmic scale). Every other domain got at most 3% of the sales. Note that this graph only display data for 8135 domains as the whois information did not return parsable data for the others.

Thanks for reading this post. If you like it please sharing it with the world, it makes me happy :) You can follow me on Twitter @elie or on Google+

About: Elie Bursztein
I lead Google's anti-abuse research and invent new ways to protect our users against cyber-criminal activities and Internet threats. I recently redesigned Google's CAPTCHA to make it easier, and made Chrome safer and faster by implementing better cryptography. I was born in Paris, France, wear berets, and now live with my wife in Mountain View, California.
About me
Lead Google's anti-abuse research. Develop new ways to protect users and disrupt bad guys. Make Chrome safer and faster. Help keeping G+ and Gmail clean. Wear berets. Do magic tricks.
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