Sites by Jina

Which Top-Level Domain is Best for Sex Workers?

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A client asked which type of domain she should buy, and I didn’t have a concise answer. I could only explain her options and the pros and cons of each. I was once again reminded that the world at large isn’t kind to sex workers. Even as a developer specializing all things web, I do not know what is the best option for FSSW. However, let me explain some things to consider when you decide on your website domain.

Is .com safe for sex workers?

We all know that .com is THE domain. However, the .com top-level domain is controlled by Verisign, a USA-based company. Therefore, all .com domains are under the effects of SESTA/FOSTA. It is unlikely that you will be affected, but it is a possibility. I personally use .com myself; it is a calculated risk I decided to take. But for many concerned sex workers, it may not be the ideal option.

What about .ch or .nl?

Due to SESTA/FOSTA concerns, many sex workers opt for top level domains like .ch or .nl instead. But we need to consider that .ch (Switzerland) and .nl (Netherlands) are country code top-level domains. These countries have less strict laws against sex work and better privacy, that is why sex workers choose these domains. However, search engines tend to localize based on the country code domains, so unless you are based in Switzerland or Netherlands, this might put you in a disadvantage.

What about country code domains of my own location?

It would certainly be better for search engine optimization, but the legal ramifications of this vary by jurisdiction. Again, it is improbable that you will be affected by this even if you live in a country where sex work is illegal. But a domain is important, so one should consider all possibilities before making a final decision.

Is there an alternative?

I scoured the generic top-level domain list to find something for us, but unfortunately, most big domain registrars are USA-based. It was difficult to find a generic top-level domain registered by a company that isn’t USA-based, let alone one appropriate for sex workers. I managed to find out that .love is registered by a firm based in Canada, where selling sex technically isn’t illegal (although it has a Nordic model type approach which criminalizes sex work indirectly) but that’s the best that I could find.

Also consider where you buy your domain from.

Some domain sellers will have policies against “morally objectionable” uses of domain registered with them that allows them to terminate service at their discretion. It might be worth reading through the policies.

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