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According to the press reports, the Florida-based company that bought the .xxx domain last year and reaped millions in registration fees from companies, universities, organizations, and individuals seeking to protect their trademarks and names from being associated with pornography (with no intent of ever using the sites) has applied to own three more—sex, .porn, and .adult. It’s all made possible by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its plans to open the Domain Name System (DNS) to all who want to own their very own top level domain (TLD)—the string of letters to the right of the last dot in an Internet address, e.g. .com, .org, and .net—and compete with the 22 existing TLDs and country codes. ICANN opened the floodgates for applications in January, and was scheduled to close the first round on April 12 (more on that later). According to its website, as of March 25, four days before the close of the system to new applicants, 839 entities had registered as users of the ICANN application system. Since each applicant is entitled to apply for as many as 50 TLDs, that means there could, in theory, be more than 41,950 new TLDs. Certainly, that’s not going to happen. But given the number of applicants and the likelihood that many have applied for multiple TLDs, the number of new TLDs will easily be in the thousands. Furthermore, ICANN has announced that if the number of applications greatly exceeds 500, it will create batches of applications and review them batch by batch, meaning that certain applicants may have to wait many months before their applications even get looked at. ICANN’s system for deciding which applications will be viewed first is akin to trying to get concert tickets online: Users will have to click a button as close as possible to a set date and time in order to be in a priority batch. Now back to the April 12 closing date for the first round of applications. In a cryptic but very revealing statement, ICANN posted the following on its site on April 12:

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