Quite often I get a question what TLD is preferable for the Russian market – .RU or .РФ, to which I always reply dot RU, of course. РФ domains, despite a good take off, when they were introduced back in 2010, never managed to become a good alternative to .RU. A lot of individuals and companies purchased domains when they become available, but very few made good use of them.
As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, there are very few actual sites on .РФ domains as they did not prove to be useful neither for Yandex SEO nor for businesses. According to statdom.ru (which is the absolute best resource for any kind of information about Russian domain names, by the way), only around 30% of all .RF domains are used for actual sites, and the rest are parked, redirected or return an error.
What’s interesting is that when it comes to .RU domains, 56% of them are in use and only 9,4% are parked. The numbers speak for themselves.
Another interesting fact is that a lot of owners skip renewing their .РФ. On January 1st there were 938 121, but on January 15 the number shrank to 911 922. This means that about 27 000 .РФ domains got canceled in the first 2 weeks of 2012! The cancellation rate had been increasing throughout last year, and according to some analysts (in Russian), if it continues this way, the number of registered .RF domains will shrink by 250 000 by the end of March.