BY STEPHANIE COSBY, News Editor

The University of Michigan and Central Michigan University were among several colleges that purchased many XXX domain names this past week. The purchases are a proactive approach to prevent the university brand from being associated with adult websites.

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers opened the XXX market to universities and other groups before opening it to the general public. U-M purchased 21 website names, including MichiganDifference.xxx, mgoblue.xxx, and umonline.xxx.

“This is viewed as a rational and practical step to protecting our image,” said U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

According to the Detroit Free Press, “experts say universities need to be particularly concerned because of the adult entertainment industry’s long history of producing material with college themes.”

Penn State, Purdue, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana, and Grand Valley also purchased XXX names. Michigan State University declined to buy any because they feel there are too many. Instead, they will monitor the web and “pursue anyone who uses its trademarks or images on a non-university-approved site,” says the Free Press.

Such a practice is somewhat common in the business world. Roughly 50 of the nearly 470 domain names owned by U-M were acquired to protect against infringement or unwanted association.