Russia’s leading online portal Mail.ru is going to replace its default web search engine and contextual advertising provider Yandex with Google from the beginning of 2010, according to Russian internet industry sources. As a result, Google will not only increase its search market share in Russia by 40% and reach between 33% and 42% of the Russian search market (according to various estimates below) but also boost its contextual advertising revenues in Russia. That will be a big win for Google in Russia, which suffered a drawback last year when its deal to acquire Begun contextual advertising service for $140 million and become a default search engine on Rambler portal did not go through. In 2009, the Russian contextual advertising market shall reach $400 million.
Mail.ru currently holds 10% search market share in Russia, behind Google with 23% and Yandex with 58%, according to LiveInternet.ru. Mail.ru has been steadily increasing its market share over the past few years. Rambler holds less than 4% of the search market in Russia. According to comScore, Yandex held 54.5% of searches in Russia, Google – 34.5%, Mail.ru – 7.4%, and Rambler – 1.9% in August 2009.
Mail.ru uses Yandex as default search engine and contextual ads provider since 2006. Before that, it used Google. The search engine arrangement between Mail.ru and Yandex expires at the end of 2009. That has given Google a chance to offer Mail.ru commercial terms that could have been better than the terms of Yandex.
Mail.ru also has its own search engine GoGo.ru. It was launched in June 2007 but did not get much traction.