As widely reported, ICANN Board members rejected the application for a new .xxx top level domain yesterday. After reading through how the board voted and their meeting commentary, I can safely report that the TLD approval process seems broken.
Was there sufficient interest? One of the key criteria for developing any new top level domain is support from the community. There were more than 70,000 pre-registrants for this TLD. Some board members thought this passed the test, while others disagreed.
Would ICANN be liable? Many board members expressed lingering concerns about new content responsibilities or even regulatory functions for ICANN. Yet it wasn't clear this would ever happen, especially across international borders.
What happened with the voting? The results were split, with nine members against this TLD, five for it, and one abstained. Both before and after voting, there was much hand-wringing about the tortured and lengthy review process over the past few years.
If approved, then our landscape would have shifted only slightly. We expected adult sites to operate on these .xxx domains, as well as existing TLDs. Existing filtering efforts would still need to be supported by the search engines, too.
However, we have put this new TLD and any changes to rest for now.