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Number of domain names in Russian segment of Internet can reach 1 mln by end of 2012

November 14, 2011, 20:33 UTC+3

Open registration in the “.RF” segment began a year ago

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MOSCOW, November 14 (Itar-Tass) —— The number of “.RF” domain names in the Cyrillic segment of the Internet will increase by about 12 percent next year, National Domain Coordination Centre Council Chairperson Marina Nikerova said.

“We have a moderate forecast for next year and expect a growth of about 12 percent,” she told Itar-Tass on Monday, November 14.

She believes that the growth rate will be similar for the “older” “.RU” segment.

If the forecast proves correct, the number of domain names in the “.RF” segment will increase to about a million by the end of next year.

Renewal of registered names “proceeds at the pace and in the amount planned” of about 65 percent of the total number of domain names, she said.

Open registration in the “.RF” segment began a year ago. Since then more than 907,000 domain names have been registered.

According to National Domain Coordination Centre Director Andrei Kolesnikov, nearly 926,000 domain names have been registered in the “.RF” segment to up date.

“Registration dynamics are quite impressive: 14,000-16,000 a month,” he said.

More than a third of the registered domain names are used quite actively” the majority of them host real websites, and about 9.6 percent are used for redirecting to existing websites in the “.RU” zone.

“I hope that the use of domain names will increase next year and those that were registered in store will also start to be used,” Kolesenikov said.

Despite positive dynamics, Alexei Korolyuk, Director-General of the REG.RU registrar, believes that the “young” “.RF” zone will not become the main part of the Russian segment of the Internet for at least five more years.

In his opinion, “.RF” and “.RU” zones will develop in parallel.

Hosting Community Group of Companies managing partner Alexander Panov believes that it takes three years to make a comprehensive evaluation.

Registration of public domain names in the “.RF” zone started on November 11, 2010. In the first week, more than 500,000 domain names were registered. Up to date, their number has exceeded 750,000.

The Coordination Centre for TLD .RU set up a crisis hotline for persons experiencing problems with registration of “.RF” domain names in order to help the users whose domain names purchased at auctions were suspended.

In late November 2010, the Coordination Centre had to suspend all domain names of Russia's biggest registrar Ru-Centre, which had been put up for auctioning. The company says there are 24,000 such domain names.

The Coordination Centre said such auctions ran counter to the rule, according to which a domain name goes to the one was the first to apply for it.

“No operations can be made with these domain names, they cannot be delegated or altered until their real owner is identified,” Kolesnikov said.

His measures were supported by the Ministry of Mass Communications.

Ru-Centre said the sanctions were unlawful and planned to challenge them in court. Although domain names were suspended, the company sent letters to their owners, in which it had placed all responsibility for the situation on the Coordination Centre.

“In order to cope with the tide of appeals, we had to set up a hotline,” the Coordination Centre said. Persons who have been affected by this situation are advised to send letters to or leave a message at the website.

“The Coordination Centre will help clarify the situation,” its management said.

The Federal Antimonopoly Service began an investigation.

The registrars of domains in the “.RF” zone accused by the Federal Antimonopoly Service of collusion can lose accreditation and the domain names they registered can be annulled, Kolesnikov said.

On November 19, 2010, the FAS started proceedings against six registrars, including Ru-Centre, charging them with coordinated activities.

According to Kolesnikov, they are suspected of having purchased quotas for domain registration from other registrars. For example, RU-Centre registered more than 70,000 domain names "all by itself" on the first day of public registration and another 40,000 names under purchased quotas.

“Registration in its own name does not run counter to the rules, but Ru-Centre registered domain names in its own name on a priority basis and only then did it register other domain names,” Kolesnikov said.

In addition, some registrars held internal auctions for the most attractive domain names, which runs counter to the “first application” rule. The registrars say they did so in order to protect “nice names” from cyber squatters, but their arguments do not stand up to criticism.

As an example, Kolesnikov named the “prostitutki.RF” domain name that was auctioned for 190,000 U.S. dollars. “What public benefits are we talking about in this case?” he asked.

Problems related to the registration of domain names in the first Cyrillic zone also drew the attention of the expert group under the interagency working group for combating economic crimes, which includes officials from the Prosecutor General's Office, the presidential administration, the Department for Overseeing the Enforcement of Economic Legislation, the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Ministry of Mass Communications, the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), the Federal Tax Service, and the Federal Service for Financial Monitoring.


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