Visionaries at Penn State snatched up four .xxx domain names for the school this September, according to The Daily Collegian. New .xxx URLs go on sale to the public next week, but trademark owners like PSU got a chance to lock down their porn names early so as to prevent any scuzzing up of their brands. Wouldn't want any brand scuzzing at Penn State, after all.

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The school bought four .xxx domains: The Pennsylvania State University, Penn State, PSU, and Nittany Lions. Each cost $200. The reason for the high price is that the purchase prevents anyone else from registering a domain name that combines the school's trademarked terms with other words. The Daily Collegian gives the example of nittanyliongirls.xxx as a forbidden combinatorial name. But surely some creative Eastern European sleaze merchants will find workarounds: statecollegeshowers.xxx, happyvalley.xxx, etc.

The media have gone batty over this and seem to want to imply that the purchase is a preventative move in the midst of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. But it's really pro forma under the circumstances. Colleges everywhere are buying .xxx names. We live in the porn era. And the branding era. And the era when porn is used for branding and a certain school that hides behind bullshit laws buys porn domain names not because it's trying to protect itself during a child rape investigation but because it's simply what's done these days. Huzzah.