Bebo and MySpace may be the tsars in the U.K. and U.S. market, respectively, but the Russian social-networking space grab is just underway. Since early 2007, the Russian copycats of Facebook, Classmates, and LinkedIn has taken over the market by storm.
The market leader Vkontakte.ru (whose user interface below will look very familiar to users of Facebook) has jumped to 2 million registered users in less than a year since launch. It became the 2nd most visited website in Russia generating 130 million page views per day. Vkontakte.ru, which has yet to release its API, currently does not allow its users embedding external widgets.
The number 2 social-networking site Odnoklassniki.ru (whose name means ‘classmates’ in Russian) recently raised several million dollars and now has more than 1 million registered users. The leading sites are signing up thousands of new customers every day thanks to a ‘bring in a friend and get a prize’ promotion and search keyword acquisition across Russian websites.
The distant number 3 in terms of regular usage is MoiKrug, a social network for professionals similar to LinkedIn. It was ‘acq-hired’ by the leading Russian portal and search engine company Yandex for $1.3 million last March and recently passed 1 million registered users.
MySpace is rumored to launch a Russian-language version shortly but it is going to be a tough challenge for the largest global social-networking site.
See below the Alexa statistics for the leading Russian social-networking site Vkontakte.ru.