In order to prevent UT’s slogan from becoming associated with a pornographic site, UT has purchased the www.HookEmHorns.xxx, www.TexasSports.xxx and www.TexasBoxOffice.xxx internet domain names.
The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers made the domain .xxx a top generic domain, along with domains such as .com, .net and .org. The organization gave a seven week gap, from September to October 2011, for non-pornographic organizations and institutions to purchase an .xxx domain, according to an article published in the Inside HigherEd blog.
Some universities used this time period to purchase and remove web addresses from the market that are strongly associated with them to avoid copyright confusions, according to the blog post. UT purchased the domain in November.
Advertising professor Neal Burns said slogans would have been trademarked in the past, but now as the world moves forward into the digital era, the next logical step is to purchase the internet domains.
“Taking the domain away from the market means protecting the integrity of a major brand,” Burns said.
Thomas Cole Moore, the co-director of the Student Association of the School of Information, said the administration preemptively purchasing domain names that could be used as pornographic websites associated with UT is in the best interest of the students, alumni, faculty and school as a whole.
He said the University should purchase more domain names related to well-known campus and football slogans in order to prevent them from being used wrongly.
Brandon Wiley, president of the ACTLab Student Media Services, said purchasing domain names will not always prevent the school’s name from being abused.
“There is no way that all of the domains related to the University can be protected,” Wiley said. “There is an endless number of domain possibilities out there, but this is not something that can harm the University seriously.”
Former UT government major Jonathan Horak disagrees that the school’s online reputation is free from abuse. Horak said owning a domain is a matter of branding, and domains should belong to their rightful owners.
“It was a smart marketing call to purchase the .xxx domain,” Horak said. “The University should do all they can to reduce the possibility of someone using the domain wrongly.”