The group that oversees Internet domain names said on Wednesday it had postponed a decision to set up a special .xxx domain for sex sites that has drawn opposition from conservative activists.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICANN, was scheduled to hear the proposal on Tuesday but postponed its decision until September 15 after the U.S. Commerce Department asked for more time to hear objections.
In a letter dated August 11, the Commerce Department said it had received nearly 6,000 letters and e-mails from people who are concerned that it would make life easier for the online sex industry.
An internal ICANN group that represents the United States and other governments also asked for more time for public input. The group did not say which governments had objected to the domain.
ICANN announced in June that it would move ahead with plans to evaluate the domain, pitched by ICM Registry Inc., a private company which is proposing to run the domain as a sort of online red-light district that would enable people to easily find porn or filter it out.
".XXX was deferred in response to requests from the applicant ICM, as well as ICANN Government Advisory Committee Chairman's and the US Department of Commerce's request to allow for additional time for comments by interested parties," ICANN said in a statement, reports Reuters.
According to Financial Times, the conservative Christian-led Family Research Council has been urging its supporters to lobby the Commerce Department, opposing .xxx joining other internet suffixes such as .com.
"Pornographers will be given even more opportunities to flood our homes, libraries and society with pornography through the .xxx domain. The .xxx domain will increase, not decrease, porn on the internet," it said.
ICM Registry, which is due to administer the domain, requested in a letter to Icann on Monday that the board defer final approval until September to give ICM time to address concerns of the Commerce Department and Icann's Government Advisory Committee.