The deal that Mail.ru was going to replace its default search engine Yandex is now confirmed. Mail.ru has announced that Google will power web search and search ads on Russia’s leading online portal Mail.ru from January 2010. In spite of the fact that Google will be used on Mail.ru as “white label” (i.e., without mentioning Google brand), Google will immediately reach about 40 percent share of the Russian search market and significantly increase its contextual advertising revenues in Russia. The Russian contextual advertising market is estimated at $400 million in 2009.
Update: The agreement between Google and Mail.ru is made for one year. Mail.ru will receive 60 percent share of revenues from ad clicks (which is higher than Mail.ru currently receives from Yandex), reported Vedomosti.ru.
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. Google powered search on Mail.ru in 2003 – 2005.
Mail.ru also has its own search engine GoGo.ru that it will continue developing.