Cyrillic Domain Names and Weaknesses of Legislation

.RF domain namesOn November 25 of 2009 Reg.RU has opened up registration of Russia’s new top level domain names – the .РФ (.RF) TLD. The peculiarity of this TLD is that the entire domain name is typed in Cyrillic (no mixes with Latin letters allowed), which has been introduced to simplify the browsing experience of the Russian-speaking Internet users.

The process is now in its priority registration phase (which will last through May 25, 2010) when only governmental agencies and verified trademark holders can register the .РФ (.RF) domains. As public registration opens up in March 25, 2010 owners of new domains will be able to auction them. The initial phase of the public domain registration will follow a Dutch type auction model with prices starting as high as 10 million Russian Rubles a domain (which currently converts into some $333,333.00 USD). Only in July 2010 the .РФ domains will be start being offered at the standard 600 Russian Rubles ($20.00 USD) domain registration fee.

You can read more about it here and here, but my today’s post is not intended to be of informational nature only. I’d like to point out an interesting observation that got mentioned on the main Russian TV channel today. Apparently, there is a company in Moscow (by the name of Cetis) that has worked out its way around the above quoted priority registration rule.  What they have done was quick registration of new trademarks based on most popular domain words, and upon registering the new “brands”, they’ve received approvals to register respective domain names. At the time of this writing, they have already snatched:

  • банк.рф (bank.rf)
  • кредит.рф (credit.rf)
  • ипотека.рф (mortgage.rf)
  • секс.рф (sex.rf)
  • кино.рф (cinima.rf)
  • знакомства.рф (dating.rf)
  • стриптиз.рф (striptease.rf)
  • недвижимость.рф (realestate.rf)

What’s interesting is that mortgage.rf, for example, is a brand/domain for paints, while sex.rf is currently being represented as a handbags and accessories brand. Even though in a TV interview, one of the higher managers of Cetis said that they do not intend to re-sell these domains, the intent of the above move is more than obvious.

It is hard to forecast how much such domains will be worth (as there’s no history of prior sale of Cyrillic domains), but no one doubts that the above-quoted names will be in high demand., for example, was sold in 2008 for $250,000.00 becoming “the largest sale of a .ru domain to date” [source].

2 thoughts on “Cyrillic Domain Names and Weaknesses of Legislation”

  1. I once started teaching myself Cyrillic and was actually picking it up pretty good.

    I didn’t have anyone to work with me, though, so I stopped.

    It’s very beautiful as well as the pronunciation of the Russian language.

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