Search.xxx Porn Search Engine Launches
In case anyone has any difficulty finding porn on the Internet, there's now a search engine exclusively for smut.
Search.xxx, which bills itself as "The Search Engine For Porn," searches for sites with the suffix .xxx, which, as one may have posited, are adult-themed.
ICM Registry, a Florida-based company that oversees all .xxx domains, launched the site on Thursday.
Aside from searching exclusively for porn, Search.xxx differs from other search engines like Googleand Bing by allowing users to filter results by sexual orientation. Queries in Search.xxx aren't recorded in users' Google search history, so worries about potentially embarrassing previously-searched terms showing up at inopportune times are alleviated.
"It's the same dirty porn that you'd get in [sites ending with] .com, but in a safe, more controlled environment," Stuart Lawley, the CEO of ICM Registry, told The Huffington Post in an interview.
The company argued that its search engine returns better results because it knows that users are already looking for porn, rather than, for example, information about a sexual position.
As of Thursday afternoon, Lawley said the site had 100,000 unique visitors and 500,000 search queries.
There's no direct revenue model with Search.xxx. Rather, the goal is to drive traffic to the search engine so more porn providers purchase .xxx domain names, which is how his company makes money.
"Our long-term game plan is to increase that market share," Lawley said. "The more customers we get searching Search.xxx, the more providers we will have registering."
Lawley said that most .xxx domain names, available from retailers like Go Daddy and Domain.com, are sold for about $75. The company reserved about 1,000 high-value addresses to sell for substantially more. Gay.xxx, for example, fetched $500,000, while Fetish.xxx sold for $300,000. (Read More:Are .XXX Domains the Next Porn Battleground?)
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, Lawley's company could make $200 million per year off the domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, the organization responsible for approving domain suffixes, approved the .xxx designation for ICM Registry last year.
Until this year, only a handful of what are called top-level domains, like .com, .net and .edu, existed.
The Associated Press reported in June that large companies including Amazon.com, L'Oreal, Microsoft and Google, have submitted proposals to ICANN for their own suffixes.
About 13 percent of Internet searches were for "erotic content" in the year that ended July 2010, Forbes reported last year. About 4 percent of the 1 million websites with the highest traffic were devoted to the subject.