Someone Has Purchased Vatican.xxx, And It Isn’t The Vatican (Update: Possibly Not)

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Update: Many .xxx domains resolve to the same reserved page, including techcrunch.xxx. It may be that the Vatican spokesman was confused, or their IT department was, and that they have mistaken the ‘reserved from registration’ page as an indication of ownership by a third party. But the spokesman may also know of attempts to purchase or control the domain that have been rebuffed. For now, take this story with a grain of salt.

Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican’s spokesman, said today that an unknown party had purchased Vatican.xxx. This mystery person has not stepped forward, and the site itself is a placeholder stating simply that it has been “reserved from registration.”

It’s a warning to all those companies and institutions that may have opted not to purchase this domain variation, and although it’s not the only time this will happen, it might be the funniest.

The top-level domain .xxx began registration way back in September, when prospective porn peddlers and those interested in simply controlling their brands were allowed to start purchasing domains.

There is no information on the purchaser, and the whois info simply points to the ICM Registry, which is holding the domain (potentially until 2021). It may be that some pious soul saw that it was available and purchased it for permanent inactivity or eventual forwarding to the Vatican’s actual site. Or it could be an opportunistic pornographer or domain squatter who snapped it up for nefarious purposes. The Vatican denies purchasing the site (of course, they deny a lot of things), so after a certain period it would be up for grabs.

Naturally, any party could also purchase vatican-sluts.xxx or buy-pills-vatican.xxx or a hundred others, so it’s not like they, or Disney, or IBM, could ever totally protect themselves. But the .xxx variant of your main site still seems a smart thing to reserve.

Let it stand as a cautionary tale either way. The moral of this parable is to listen to your IT department.