25 November, 2010

RU-CENTER ordered to halt auctions

Reprinted from the Moscow News:  

Cyrillic web domains are set to be frozen amid concerns that many of the .рф sites sold this month have been bought by profiteers.  The initial sale of the first public Russian-language domains was hailed as a huge success, with organisers saying demand had far outstripped expectations.  But yesterday tech group RU-CENTER was ordered to halt auctions after a rash of cases over illegal cyber-squatting and attempts to inflate prices for popular domain names, RIA Novosti reported.  The domains will be frozen, preventing the buyers from creating their own sites or selling them on at a profit.

No halt
RU-CENTER said there are no plans to stop sales, with spokesman Andrei Vorobyov saying: “We do not believe we have violated the law or the rules of the co-ordinating centre.”  But at the end of last week the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) launched legal action against six registrars from the agency, claiming they had broken competition laws.  The auctions were set-up with a condition that successful bidders could not transfer the site for at least 12 months, in a bid to prevent so-called cyber-squatting. 

Rapid purchases
RU-CENTRE got into trouble after the first Cyrillic domains went on sale on Nov. 11.  On its own it bought 38 per cent of the names, and through partner companies the group acquired 48 per cent of the .рф hosts.  And Vedomosti reported that the FAS is unhappy with the deals RU-CENTER has brokered with its partners and is following complaints from both users and rival registrars.

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