Russia Wins First Non-Latin Domain Extension .RF (.РФ)
After several months of speculation, ICANN have awarded Russia the first non-latin domain extension; .РФ (.RF). This will be available from next July according to Kommersant, the Russian newspaper
The .РФ zone domains are expected to cover roughly 20 percent of current .RU, forecasted Dmitry Ufaev, the managing partner at RBC Hosting Center. Some 1.75 million domains have been registered in .RU, i.e. around 350,000 new web sites will probably appear during two years in .РФ zone.
Is this a good thing? Well there has been an unusually strong push for a “Russian” domain extension in Russia recently. Even Dmitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation threw his weight behind the campaign.
As Yakov Sadchikov, over at Quinture points out, Yandex have also just replaced their old logo with an entirely Cyrillic version. Although Yakov suggests this reflects their increasing popularity across Russia, there does seem to be a degree of pro-Russian feelings sweeping Russia. Whether it’s the football, the war in Georgia or the rising affluence, it’s acceptable to be proud of your country and culture again.
Of course, having Cyrillic domains will also let more Russians access Runet. Similarly to the ever insightful Profy though, I worry about duplicate websites and branding confusion. Having three domains for Russia (.RU, .SU & .РФ), plus the usual gTLD options is certainly going to complicate campaigns for Russian marketers.