The Internet’s about to blow: Pornographic websites can put bids in today for the newly approved .xxx domain.

ICM Registry, .xxx’s operator, has opened bidding for the controversial top-level domain on its website. Porn websites—as well as companies seeking to protect their brands from this controversial address—have 52 days to apply for a .xxx suffix.

Following the so-called sunrise period, adult companies can scoop up remaining available addresses in November. General availability for .xxx will begin in December.

.xxx is an alternative to other top-level domains like .com or .net, which form the ending of email and website addresses and are crucial to the operation of Internet services.

Celebrities like Angelina Jolie won’t have to worry about their name being attached to an .xxx address. ICM has banned applicants from registering famous names.

The .xxx address has been embroiled in controversy for over a decade. ICM registered it in 2000, and again in 2004, but finally won approval from the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) last year.

Domain registrars like GoDaddy are charging upwards of $100 per year for a .xxx domain.

Stuart Lawley, ICM’s owner, called the address a “win, win, win” as consumers can clearly identify what websites are pornographic and make it easier for people (and minors) to avoid such material.

Free Speech Coalition, an adult-entertainment trade association, is staunchly opposed to the domain. The organization blasted ICANN’s approval and called it “unwelcome, unwanted and unnecessary.” They said it will do nothing in preventing kids from accessing porn and adult entertainment companies do an ample job themselves in protecting minors.

Paul Choi sarcastically tweeted, “now i won't stumble onto oneleggedmidgetcoeds.com thinking it's a dwarf-amputee outreach site for college kids.”

But in fact, nothing’s stopping porn sites from continuing to register .com domains. The existence of .xxx just gives them an alternative if the .com version of their name is taken.

Photo by hansol