Technology experts are warning companies with websites to protect their domain names from being hijacked by pornography businesses when the website suffix .xxx becomes available starting next year.

There will be a variety of domain name extensions starting then, following a decision last June by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to allow website suffixes using almost any word in any language.

Initially, ICANN refused to allow the .xxx suffix, but later changed its mind.

The problem is that a pornography business could pay to use the name of any company, and add the domain-name extension .xxx, unless the company has paid to have that extension blocked.

"Some people have been describing it as 'pornmageddon' from the perspective of trademark protection and brand protection," said David Fewer, director of an internet public policy clinic in Ottawa.

Fewer said businesses can pay a fee to have their websites blocked from having the .xxx suffix.

He said large companies have already done this, but smaller firms may not be aware of the potential problem.

"The mom and pop shops don't have trademark lawyers. They’re relying on their local reputation and the distinctiveness of their name to protect them. But these companies have to be vigilant to a certain extent," Fewer said.

Ottawa intellectual property lawyer Wing Yan said he has started to warn his clients to block the .xxx suffix from their websites.

"This is really the internet age, and doing damage control is much, much harder than doing prevention, because it’s really a Wild West out there," Wing said.

Companies with websites have until Oct. 28 to block a porn site from acquiring their name as a dot triple-x name.