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Russians flee from IDN during first junk drop

Russia’s internationalized ccTLD, .РФ, lost 18% of its registered domains under management after its first launch anniversary, according to the registry.

Coordination Center for ccTLD said that the registry peaked at 954,012 names on December 28, but DUM had dropped to 779,264 by February 15, a 174,748 domain decline.

While the Center spun this as lower than expected – some experts had apparently predicted 25% to 30% of the early-adopter names would expire – it’s still relatively high.

Telnic deleted about 15% of its names during .tel’s first junk drop, the most recent in the gTLD space, for example.

The Russian registry has also made an eye-opening set of stats related to .РФ available on a new web site.

It reveals that just 33% of .РФ domains resolve to a web site (any web site, presumably including parking) while 29% do not even have name servers.

Will a Russian domain sell for more than Sex.com?

Kevin Murphy, November 25, 2010, Domain Sales

The scandal-hit Russian domain name market may yet produce some of the most expensive domain name sales of all time. Premium .рф generics are already attracting eight-figure bids.

Bids of $10 million have apparently been placed on at least two domains, квартиры.рф and бетон.рф (apartments.rf and concrete.rf), in the controversial quasi-landrush auction managed by RU-Center, the largest Russian registrar.

IDNblog.com is reporting the apartments.rf asking price, and a reader was kind enough to send me a screenshot of the concrete.rf auction.

If these bids are for real, and these auctions were to close, they would immediately occupy the number two and three slots on the league table of all-time biggest-ticket domain sales

Before sex.com sold for $13 million, DNJournal’s top twenty list had fund.com in the top spot, at $9,999,950, followed by porn.com at $9,500,000 and diamond.com at $7,500,000.

The RU-Center auctions may not close, however.

As I reported yesterday, the registrar and five others are being investigated on antitrust grounds by Russian competition authorities, after allegedly registering tens of thousands of domains to themselves.

The auctions are currently frozen and the .рф registry, Coordination Center for ccTLD, has made noises about applying “sanctions” to the registrars that could include de-accreditation.

RU-Center, which confusingly does business at nic.ru, has defended its position in at least two articles here and here (in Russian, naturally).

As far as I can tell, none of these auctions will close until the registrar and the registry resolve their differences and/or the Russian government probe concludes.

However, it’s pretty obvious that the demand for Cyrillic generic IDNs is enormous in Russia, and could easily challenge .com on the big-sale league tables.