The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) has backed down on proposals to create a specific .xxx pornography domain.
In a terse statement on the organisation's website Icann said that the decision had been put to a vote and had failed by nine votes to five.
Icann chairman Vint Cerf voted against it, as did vice chairman Alejandro Pisanty and president Paul Twomey.
"The application has received much public comment and detailed discussion by the Icann board," said the organisation in a statement.
"Icann's board voted 9 to 5 against the proposed agreement. Additional details regarding the vote will be provided later this week."
The decision on the .xxx domain has been a rocky one, with frequent delays in the decision making process. In particular American politicians and EU commissioner Viviane Reding lobbied for the domain to be dropped.
"You cannot help feeling that this is down to pressure from the US," said Jonathan Robinson, chief operating officer at domain name registrar NetNames.
"We can't pretend that adult content isn't on the internet. If you're going to separate it at all you would think that .xxx would be a logical choice. Unless I'm missing something obvious I can't see anything wrong with it."
Robinson added that Icann might be suffering from "suffix fatigue" after the successful launch of the .eu top level domain.
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