Feminist Porn Awards, dot-XXX and DaneJones postmortem

by Violet Blue on May 7, 2012

A friend (she’s a mainstream porn performer) asked me what the Feminist Porn Awards / dot-XXX issue was all about.

This is how I explained it.

Dot-XXX is a story I have been covering and working to expose for years in my mainstream media work. I’m sure you can imagine my surprise when I found small, indie and queer-positive sex toy store Good For Her and their yearly event the Feminist Porn Awards wrapped up in the middle of this ever-expanding ICANN scandal.

The Feminist Porn Awards gave an award this year to a website that is a front to drive traffic and search engine reputation rank to one of dot-XXX’s pet domains.

Lewis Thomas – the man behind FPA-awarded DaneJones – (Thomas is his porn ‘nym) is a garden variety pornographer from the UK that occasionally makes porn under a female name when it profits him to have a female directed product (all of which is mostly shot in the Czech Republic).

Somehow he was in the handpicked, exclusive pool of people that got to obtain dot-XXX URLs that were never made available to the public. This means he has direct ties to dot-XXX’s owners ICM Registry. Thomas, a minor player in adult, circumvented big businesses and top adult players that wanted to be in the “Founders” pool of prime domain name buyers.

The domains he got are now the top trafficked dot-XXX sites. The problem is, numbers were just released showing that the traffic for dot-XXX sites is really really bad. No one is going to them. This makes ICM registry look bad and hurts non-defensive sales of .XXX sites – and doesn’t look good for ICM’s bids to get dot-adult, dot-sex and other sex related gTLD’s they’re now trying to get from ICANN.

They’ve done everything they can think of to drive traffic to Mr. Thomas’ sites, castingdotxxx and orgasmsdotxxx. As you may know, aside from SEO and various other tactics, if you want to get traffic and Google juice you need to have your site linked to from as many other sites as possible with a high reputation “score” from Google (algorithm-wise, the linking sites should be within your topic/genre). No one knows these DaneJones dudes, and the dot-XXX extension is brand new, so both the website and TLD (extension) are “starting from zero.” In racing terms, they’re handicapped.

This is where the FPAs come in.

What better way can you think of to get a porn site linked to from the most reputable blogs, news sites, individuals and businesses in the sex space?

Win an FPA award.

Everyone links to the winners, no one questions the decisions, everyone just blindly links.

I don’t know how DaneJones ended up on the FPA radar, and I really don’t understand why they picked them for an award. There are many other sites like DaneJones, and DaneJones looks fishy to even me as a drive-by. A far better pick would have been BobbiStarr.com, but that’s just my personal opinion.

Finding out that DaneJones appears to be expressly created to push traffic to orgasmsdotxxx made it look even shadier.

I tried to contact FPA/GFH last week when I was working on my CBSi article, and they ignored me. The day *after* I published my post and article, they @ replied me on Twitter and acted like they’d never heard from me – when I had honestly tried more than one way to reach out to them.

So I’m angry at the dot-XXX sleazebags for using the feminist porn communities (and wider ones it touches) to further their business agenda. I’m also really mad that they succeeded, and that they did so very easily. For some reason, the FPA’s were a pushover.

Maybe GFH/the FPA’s don’t know what they’ve done. Yet – they posted a response to my post to them over the weekend. They defended endorsing the dot-XXX front site saying,

Danejones.com won because we thought it was an excellent example of high production quality, natural bodies, easy to navigate website, female pleasure, and lots of content.

Indeed. Wait, huh?

Anyway, they’re standing behind their decision. It’s their system, their game and their rules. But I would think DaneJones would be more worthy for an AVN than an FPA, for DaneJones are the opposite of feminist porn and above-average women-centric porn. Except AVN *wouldn’t* give them an award knowing it was essentially the same as endorsing dot-XXX.

As for GFH/FPA, I feel sad about the whole situation. The awards have been important, really important – but this has been handled really carelessly so I feel like I need to be careful around their endorsements now. And they mismanaged their communication with me so badly. If they wanted to respond to my queries and reaching out to them, they would have – instead they chose to ignore, then dismiss me, then insist I re-reach out to them, all on Twitter. Unnecessary.

So this is their problem to fix (or not), and it is not mine to fix.

I’ll keep working on watching those dot-XXX scammers. I’m an outsider to the institutions mentioned here anyway. I was just alarmed to see dot-XXX get close to my world and the people I care about.

Keep calm and carry onward.

Violet Blue

The London Times named Violet Blue "One of the 40 bloggers who really count" and Self Magazine named TinyNibbles one of the “Best Sex Resources for Women.” Blue is an autodidact and pundit on sex and technology, hacking and security, porn for women, privacy and bleeding-edge tech culture. She is a journalist for ZDNet, CBS News, CNET; she's an educator, speaker, crisis counselor, volunteer NGO trainer, and the author and editor of over 40 award-winning books.

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{ 4 comments }

1 Iamcuriousblue May 26, 2012 at 10:50 pm

Hmmm…. Say what you will about jumping on the .XXX bandwagon, but DaneJones and Lesbea.com are some of the best new sites out there, easily rivaling or surpassing anything from X-Art, Joymii, or like “erotic hardcore” sites. Their content speaks for itself.

And, really, blaming them for pushing .XXX? Looking at the date on the masthead of the post, I’d say you’re a bit behind how these sites have been progressing. They started out in late 2011 pushing their main sites as Orgasms.xxx and Kiss.xxx, but quickly demoted them to mirror sites for DaneJones.com and Lesbea.com, respectively. By May 2012, they had abandoned promotion of the .XXX versions of their sites entirely, even though they still exist. This is as good of an indicator as any as to the lack of viability of .XXX.

Also, where did you get the impression that “Dane Jones” is supposed to be a female name?

2 Maggie May 18, 2012 at 9:32 am

Given that as a freshmen webmaster with a few dozen pieces of content who got an honorable mention for a website 100% scraped together by me an my partner with one year under our belt, I would have to say that I personally believe it has less to do with the FPA’s taking a bribe or knowingly boosting a vanity domain and more to do with how many submissions there are.

The FPA’s don’t go through porn on the web and pick their favorites, you have to submit an entry for a website or a film. Then they judge based on how it looks. Chances are, the FPA’s did not research the domain and saw something that looked neat, clean, and accessible. Maybe what you revealed more than anything is that feminist porn makers should write the submission deadline on their calendars so they don’t miss it.

3 Totally NOT Dane Jones May 9, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I think you are grossly over-estimating the FPA ‘s as a promotional tool and traffic generating source. I work in the industry. I am opposed to .XXX, but this is a stretch. Dane Jones content sells. Months ago, a bunch of us in the office had a conversation about the quality of their content. These things might have more to do with the award than a conspiracy theory about a small studio, a boutique award ceremony and ICANN.

4 criolle johnny May 8, 2012 at 5:03 am

I have NOT been keeping up with the dot-XXX mess. This entire story left me scratching my head and muttering a few words I’d rather not repeat … For those of your readers who might be rowing the same boat, could you please post a side bar/permanent link that briefs and updates on the story?

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