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A safer web, thanks to new porn search engine?

  • ICM Registry

  • Search.xxx, a new porn-only search engine, looks and works like Google for sexual material.

The naughty bits of the web have a Google they can call their own.

The creators of the new “.xxx” top-level domain launched a search engine specifically for adult content, arguing that it will make it easier for randy websurfers to find what they crave -- and keep that content away from unsuspecting eyes and children.

“It’s a win-win situation for everyone,” Stuart Lawely, whose company ICM Registry launched Search.xxx on Thursday, told FoxNews.com. “It’s a safer environment for those who want adult content. And for the people who hate it, they won’t stumble upon it anymore.”

“It’s more of a responsible behavior,” he said.

Search.xxx is a bare-bones search portal that combs through over 20 million pages within .xxx, one of a nearly infinite number of new top-level domains poised to sit alongside the more common .com and .edu. Proposals for nearly 2,000 such TLDs, part of the largest expansion of website addresses since .com debuted in 1984, were announced on June 13, 2012. 

ICM boasts that the creation of the .xxx TLD allows for safe and effective searching, creating a siloed storehouse for users of its content as sites like Google and Bing de-rank adult content to filter it out of regular searches.

'It's a win-win situation for everyone.'

- Stuart Lawely, head of ICM Registry

“Our approach has always been for the [adult entertainment] industry to self-regulate,” Lawley told FoxNews.com. His company also plans to release a PayPal-like portal in the next year. “The industry has had mixed feelings over the .xxx domain. But ultimately, we expect a great migration once they see the benefits.”

Mixed indeed. 

Vivid Entertainment, one of the biggest brands in the adult entertainment industry, told FoxNews.com it agrees with advocacy group Free Speech Coalition: The .xxx TLD will open the floodgates for government regulation on an industry that prides itself on free speech and expression, they believe.

Thanks but no thanks, in other words.

"The [adult] industry, as a whole, has not taken to the .xxx domain," said Diane Duke, Executive Director for the Free Speech Coalition. "And a search engine won't change that."

While keeping adult content, and searches for it, to one far-flung corner of the web, some feel that it may not be enough to prevent graphic material from getting into the hands of children.

“I'm a fan of the .xxx domain. It lets adults do what they want, but at the same time helps to keep children away from questionable content,” said Parry Aftab, an attorney and Internet safety expert behind wiredsafety.com. She feels the site doesn't do enough to restrict access to its content. 

“There’s not enough being put in place to keep children off the site,” she said.

When users land on the main page for search.xxx they are directed to verify that they are at least 18 years of age by clicking on a button. That's a start, but hardly enough to block underage users, Aftab told FoxNews.com.

“Any kid who wants to search for porn can still do so. It can take three seconds to find it in Google, unless the parental controls are turned on,” she added.

Although search.xxx lacks parental controls or safe filters, ICM says the existence of the .xxx TLD makes it easier for parents and employers to set up filters for porn, rather than entering a string of specific, naughty web addresses and words.

"The use of a .xxx TLD is a signal that the site contains adult content and increases the likelihood that our algorithms filter this site when Strict SafeSearch is being used," a spokeswoman from Google told FoxNews.com.

ICM first proposed .xxx in 2005 as a top-level domain to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in 2005, as a compromise between those who wish to provide adult material online and those opposed to it.

Detractors have said that objectionable material would still be commonplace -- and without a requirement forcing adult content sites to switch over to .xxx, it could become more common.