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Russian firm fined millions over domain land-grab

Kevin Murphy, July 4, 2011, 20:42:32 (UTC), Domain Registrars

RU-Center, Russia’s largest domain name registrar, will have to repay 240 million rubles ($8.6 million) for grabbing thousands of domain names and auctioning them during the .РФ landrush.

The company could also be fined up to 75% of its 2009 revenues for breaking competition law, according to a statement from the country’s Federal Antimonopoly Service.

When .РФ was launched by the .ru registry launched last November, it offered domain names on a first-come first-served basis, without the premium landrush period offered by other TLDs.

RU-Center took this opportunity to register 60,000 domains in its own name and sell them off to the highest bidder, essentially bringing the landrush to the registrar level.

Some ccTLD Coordination Center council members, responsible for setting the launch policies, had ownership interests in RU-Center either directly or through family members, according to FAS.

The registrar is currently being acquired by a company called RBC.

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Comments (1)

  1. Domainatrix says:

    I’d like to clarify: RU-Center could be fined up to 3% of its revenues, not 75%. According to Russian antimonopoly law, the companies that have acted in collusion and have their revenues primarily coming from the same market sector (hence the 75%), could be fined for up to 3% of their revenues. This is because there initially were other registrars involved in the case, but later they were relieved of any charges.

    Nevertheless, this is still one of the biggest fines to be paid due to antimonopoly law violation, and definitely the biggest one in Russia’s domaining history.

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