If Russians are wary of Cyrillic domains, who’s buying them?

About a year ago, the NY Times ran an article with the headline: Russians Wary of Cyrillic Web Domains.

As someone who has long been bullish on the future of internationalized domain names (IDNs), I caught a fair amount of grief once this story broke.

So when I see this evening that 460,000 Cyrillic domains (.рф) have been registered in the first five days, I feel somewhat vindicated.

Somewhat, because I believe more than half of these registrations are from squatters. Maybe as many as 75%.

Still, even if we assume 350,000 registrations will just sit there awaiting a higher bid, that would leave another 100,000 destined to be put into use sooner than later. And that alone is a respectable number. Keep in mind that there are only 3 million .ru domains — in all — registered.

Could it be that Russians are excited about Cyrillic domains?

President Mednevedev has his domain working: президент.рф.

As does Russia’s largest mobile carrier: МТС.рф.

What do you think?

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

1 thought on “If Russians are wary of Cyrillic domains, who’s buying them?”

  1. Being a Russian translator and localizer, I’ll try to explain.

    No, we Russians are not excited about that. A person who registers интернет.рф (the Russian for ‘Internet’) and dares to promote this domain name will only drive traffic to internet.ru, as users will hardly change their habit of typing URLs in the Latin script.

    I think that 95% of the registrations are made by squatters (most of them will never have a chance of returning their money), and 5% are by large corporations that will never put it to real use but are afraid of some blackmailers who could open a porn site under their trade mark in the .рф domain.

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