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ccTLD .РФ popular in Russian regions

On July 28, the session “ccTLD .РФ: Easy to remember, difficult to forget” was held as part of the RIF.Online forum, where the participants shared “life hacks” for selecting the right web address for a future website and using it effectively. One of the highlights of the discussion was the use of Cyrillic domain names. The experts shared their practical experience and spoke about the marketing advantages of IDN and EAI.

The session was moderated by Andrei Vorobyev, Director of the Coordination Center for TLD .RU/.РФ, and Maria Kolesnikova, Chief Analyst at the center.

Opening the discussion, Andrei Vorobyev noted that ccTLD .РФ enjoys high demand in the regions today. “In most Russian regions, we see many billboards and advertising posters with an .РФ web addresses. And this is the best answer to skeptics and critics who did not believe ccTLD .РФ would be a success 10 years ago. Today .РФ has about 750,000 registered domain names; it is the largest Cyrillic domain in the world. The share of registered domain names that are being actually used is growing from year to year, and this is also an indicator of high demand. Yet, there are problems that hinder .РФ development – primarily universal acceptance – and we are addressing them,” Andrei Vorobyev said.

Maria Kolesnikova added that experts around the world are concerned about universal acceptance, and the Coordination Center is vigorously working on removing any technical issues in supporting IDN and EAI and is helping those involved with its expertise and involvement. She also spoke about the use of the Cyrillic alphabet in domain names and presented the existing software and services that support the operation of Cyrillic email.

“As far as the end users are concerned, we need to ensure that the technical infrastructure of the internet can provide the appropriate level of service,” Maria Kolesnikova noted. The participating experts – heads and analysts of major Russian accredited registrars – talked about ways to choose and register domain names, what to look for when registering, why it is better to use a Cyrillic domain name.

Sergei Gorbunov from RU-CENTER gave some tips on choosing a good domain name for a website and how to use it effectively in the future. “The obvious thing is to pick names that are easy to type in the browser line. Customers will often make mistakes, competitors will register similar names. If you have a domain name you want, don’t hesitate to register it. Some people have delayed domain registration and the name they wanted was taken; everything had to be redone. Register a domain for a company, for a web design studio or an employee, because this way the domain is not actually yours. This can lead to major disputes and litigation after. And don't forget about renewing your domain name,” Sergei Gorbunov advised the audience.

Igor Feoktistov from REG.RU dispelled popular myths about Cyrillic domains and explained how registering an .РФ domain can quickly test the viability of a new business. “It's very easy to remember a Cyrillic dot-brand. They are easy to use in video ads as well as audio ads. Cyrillic domain names should be used in conjunction with landing pages to test hypotheses. Try using names that match keywords. In addition, Cyrillic domains are used as a call to action and a lead magnet,” Igor Feoktistov noted.

Andrei Savelyev from ДОМЕНЫ.РФ explained when it is time to register a domain for your project and how best to do it. “I highly recommend choosing a domain at the very first stage of starting a business. There are 52 accredited registrars, all of them listed on the Coordination Center website. My recommendation is to register all possible domain names. At least all possible names in the .RU and .РФ zones,” Andrei Savelyev shared.

Guzel Sharafutdinova from Nethouse talked about promoting Cyrillic domains using examples from her company's clients. “As many as 73.7% still use romanized domains out of habit. But 11.1% of all websites have .РФ domain names. We recommend using the .RU and .РФ domains at the same time. At present, 9.2% of websites use both. There is a myth that it can be difficult to access a Cyrillic site from abroad. But if you are planning to develop your business in the international arena, you can always register your websites in two domains, .RU and .РФ,” Sharafutdinova said.

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